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Press Release

Press Release

Three World Premieres By San Francisco Ballet School Students Maya Wheeler, MJ Edwards, And Pemberley Olson To Be Featured At School’s Spring Festival, May 22–24

Programming also includes Jiří Kylián’s Sarabande and Falling Angels, Marc Brew’s quicksilver, a new ballet by Karen Gabay, Amor Fati by
Davide Occhipinti, as well as works by SF Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson

Performances and annual fundraising dinner benefit scholarships and financial aid offered by the School, totaling more than $1.5 million annually

SAN FRANCISCO, April 30, 2019—San Francisco Ballet School (SF Ballet School) Director Patrick Armand and Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson present SF Ballet School’s annual Spring Festival (formerly Student Showcase) on May 22–24 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) theater. For the first time in the event’s history, the SF Ballet School Spring Festival will introduce works by 2018-19 Choreographic Fellows Maya Wheeler, MJ Edwards, and Pemberley Olson, in addition to a program of works by Jiři Kylián, Marc Brew, Davide Occhipinti, Karen Gabay, and SF Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. Spring Festival includes three evenings of varying programs that highlight the talent in the School—the official school of SF Ballet and America’s oldest professional training academy—from young students beginning their training to advanced students on the verge of professional dance careers. Proceeds from the performances and the annual fundraising dinner on May 22 benefit scholarship and financial aid programs for the School, which award more than $1.5 million annually.

“It is a great privilege and a wonderful opportunity for the San Francisco Ballet School students to perform excerpts from Sarabande and Falling Angels by Jiří Kylián, one of the greatest choreographers of today,” Armand says. “Poetry in motion is the way I describe it myself, and I hope audiences will be transported by the raw strength and musicality of this great artist.” Spring Festival’s May 22–24 programming also includes Marc Brew’s quicksilver, which premiered earlier this season during a Student Matinee performance, danced by SF Ballet School Trainees. Brew, whose work with AXIS Dance Company celebrates the movement of both disabled and non-disabled dancers, emphasized the significance of sharing his process of dancemaking with students: “This may be the first time they’ve worked with a disabled choreographer…. I really want them to explore a new range of possibilities of movement and how they can use their bodies and use their facility,” he said in SF Ballet’s video interview while rehearsing the work’s premiere. Programming for the event also includes SF Ballet corps de ballet dancer Davide Occhipinti’s Amor Fati, SF Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s Ballet d’Isoline and Concerto Grosso, and demonstrations choreographed by SF Ballet School Faculty Member Karen Gabay.

Created to give voice to student dancers of all backgrounds as dancemakers, the newly rebranded Choreographic Fellowship Program supports at least one SF Ballet School student through the cycle of creating a new piece, which is workshopped throughout the season with the School leadership, faculty, and their peers. Spring Festival’s programming includes three new works by this year’s Choreographic Fellows Maya Wheeler, MJ Edwards, and Pemberley Olson, including Wheeler’s Don’t leave me and Olson’s Forever With Me on Thursday, May 23, and Edwards’ Constant Search, on Friday, May 24. In addition to the Spring Festival performance of their work, Fellows receive additional support from the Company throughout the year including a scholarship to the School; assistance with clearing music licensing; access to SF Ballet operations and production staff to gain insights into contracts and union agreements, music and production elements, creatives, and Company scheduling; a cash award; and a video of the performance for their portfolio.

Each evening’s performance is preceded by free demonstrations at the Howard Street theater entrance of YBCA by SF Ballet’s Dance for Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease; Pre-Ballet students; and Level 1 and Community Scholarship boys (an extension of SF Ballet’s Dance in Schools & Communities program) on May 22, 23, and 24, respectively. Each evening’s intermission includes interviews with SF Ballet School Faculty members, the Choreographic Fellows, and additional guest artists. YBCA’s lobby will be fitted with educational pop-ups, offering guests the opportunity to learn more about the School’s history, tutus, pointe shoes, and more. Full details are included below.

Following the opening night performance on May 22, the SF Ballet Auxiliary hosts the SF Ballet School 2019 Spring Festival Dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. The dinner benefits scholarship and financial aid programs for the School, which award more than $1.5 million to students each year. Individual tickets to the dinner, which include admission to the opening night Spring Festival performance, are $500 for Patron tickets, $700 for Benefactor tickets, and $1,000 for Grand Benefactor tickets. Tickets for children ages 12 and under are $200 each.

The Spring Festival Event Chair is Catherine Bergstrom, and the Honorary Chair and School Committee Co-Chair is SF Ballet Trustee Sunnie Evers, who has dedicated more than 25 years of service to the School.

Calendar information:

San Francisco Ballet School
2019 Spring Festival
May 22, 2019, 6pm
May 23–24, 2019, 7:30pm

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts theater
700 Howard Street
Individual performance tickets start at $29.
To order, visit sfballet.org/springfestival or call Ticket Services at 415.865.2000.

San Francisco Ballet School 2019 Spring Festival Dinner
Fundraiser benefiting San Francisco Ballet School, hosted by the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary
Wednesday, May 22, 6pm performance, followed by dinner
Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco
757 Market Street
Tickets are $500-1,000, including performance admission.
Tickets for children ages 12 and under are $200 each.

Schedule of events: Wednesday, May 22

5:15 pm: Dance for Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease demonstration

6:00 pm: ‘ON STAGE’ performance

Student Demonstration (J. Strauss/Gabay)

quicksilver (Arnalds/Brew)

Falling Angels (Reich/Kylián)

Sarabande (J.S. Bach, arr. Heuff/Kylián)

Ballet d’Isoline (Messager/Tomasson)

Intermission interview features Patrick Armand (Director, SF Ballet School) and Andi Yannone (Director of Education and Training, SF Ballet) with Tina LeBlanc (Faculty, SF Ballet School and former SF Ballet Principal Dancer)

7:30 pm: SF Ballet School 2019 Spring Festival Dinner at Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco

Schedule of events: Thursday, May 23

6:45 pm: Pre-Ballet class demonstration

7:30 pm: ‘ON STAGE’ performance

Student Demonstration (J. Strauss/Gabay)

quicksilver (Arnalds/Brew)

Falling Angels (Reich/Kylián)

Sarabande (J.S. Bach, arr. Heuff/Kylián)

Don’t leave me (Simone/Wheeler*)

Forever With Me (O’Halloran/Olson*)

Amor Fati (Mozart, Occhipinti)

Ballet d’Isoline (Messager/Tomasson)

Intermission interview features Pascal Molat (Trainee Program Assistant, SF Ballet School) with Fiona Lummis, Kylián répétiteur

 

Schedule of events: Friday, May 24

6:45 pm: Level 1 and Community Scholarship Boys class demonstration

7:30 pm: ‘ON STAGE’ performance

Student Demonstration (J. Strauss/Gabay)

quicksilver (Arnalds/Brew)

Concerto Grosso (Geminiani after Corelli/Tomasson)

Constant Search (Richter/Edwards*)

Falling Angels (Reich/Kylián)

Sarabande (J.S. Bach, arr. Heuff/Kylián)

Ballet d’Isoline (Messager/Tomasson)

Intermission interview features Dana Genshaft (Faculty, SF Ballet School) with Choreographic Fellows MJ Edwards, Pemberley Olson, and Maya Wheeler

*indicates SF Ballet School Choreographic Fellow

Photo: SF Ballet School Students perform a demonstration during the 2018 Student Showcase (© Alexander Reneff-Olson)

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