Episodes
Published 05/04/18
Join Dance Educator Mary Wood as she discusses the intricacies of the makeup and costumes in Liam Scarlett’s Frankenstein with the SF Ballet production staff and Principal Dancer Vitor Luiz.
Published 03/12/18
Was Serenade really Balanchine’s first piece in America? And if not, how did that myth come to be? SF Ballet Visiting Scholar James Steichen presents on Balanchine’s early work and the pieces that preceded Serenade, adding a new dimension to our understanding of one of Balanchine’s most famous ballets.
Published 02/16/18
Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson comments on the upcoming 85th Repertory Season, starting with an introduction to the Company’s new dancers. He describes what he looks for when hiring dancers and when promoting dancers from within the ranks. He offers an overview of the repertory, looking especially at the Robbins Centennial commemoration and his selection from Robbins' wide variety of works. Finally, he shares his passion for the Unbound: Festival of New Works, as...
Published 01/29/18
Ballet Master Betsy Erickson and Principal Dancers Sarah Van Patten and Tiit Helmets speak with dance educator Mary Wood on preparing to dance Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella©. What makes this ballet as thrilling for the artists to dance as it is for the audience to watch? 
Published 05/03/17
Dance Educator Mary Wood and Rubén Martín Cintas, former principal dancer who is currently ballet school faculty and pas de deux teacher, discuss the art of pas de deux. San Francisco Ballet School Trainees demonstrate the intricacies of partnering. 
Published 04/05/17
Contemporary music offers choreographers the chance to explore new sonic worlds and take audiences into new states of artistic consciousness. Musicologist Jim Stelchen and Music Director and Principal Conductor Martin West discuss the strategies that the conductor and musicians use to prepare music that many in the audience—and on stage—are hearing for the first time. 
Published 03/15/17
Thomas F. DeFrantz, dance researcher and Chair of African American Studies at Duke University, offers a history of the African-American presence in American ballet. Focusing on the historical moments that predicted a growing presence, DeFrantz considers how African-American audiences, dancemakers, and performing artists have shifted and revised ballet's possibilities as an art form. 
Published 03/08/17
Litquake, the Bay Area's literary festival and San Francisco Ballet co-present Frankenstein at the Ballet: Mary Shelley and Her "Hideous Progeny." Professor Ellen Peel from the Comparative and World Literature Department at SF State reflects on the origin of Frankenstein. Shelley was often asked, 'how I, then a young girl, came to think of...so very hideous an idea,' Peel will address that question by looking at cultural and scientific forces in her day, and by considering Shelly's early...
Published 02/22/17
How do production elements contribute to the overall look and feel of ballets? Dance Educator Mary Wood in conversation with Ballet Master Anita Paciotti, Production Director and Lighting Designer Christopher Dennis discuss Yuri Possokov's world premiere Optimistic Tragedy.
Published 02/01/17
In the five years since Jennifer Homans predicted ballet’s eminent demise in her history "Apollo’s Angels", we have seen the rise of a new crop of choreographers—all of them young, and many of them American. Chief among these artists is Justin Peck, a dancer with New York City Ballet and now its resident choreographer. Dance critic Claudia La Rocco shares her thoughts on Peck and his colleagues.
Published 01/25/17
Patrick Armand, Associate Director of the SF Ballet School, begins by describing the rigorous curriculum in the School, which is designed to prepare students for professional careers. A former gold medal winner of the Prix de Lausanne, he discusses the nature of that competition his continuing association with the organization. Both he and Ballet Master, Betsy Erickson, speak about the challenges of producing a production as demanding as Onegin, and they emphasize the rewards of performing...
Published 05/04/16
Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas joins the SF Ballet rep this season. Carrie Gaiser Casey, SF Ballet resident scholar, places this work in the arc of Ratmansky’s career and discusses the choreographic features of this ballet.
Published 04/06/16
Video Designer Kate Duhamel joins Ballet Master Anita Paciotti in a discussion of Swimmer, created by choreographer in residence, Yuri Possokhov for the 2015 season. Kate provides background to illustrate her career, and she explains the process while using clips from the creation of Swimmer to illustrate the collaboration between Possokhov and his design team. Anita describes Yuri’s work-style in the studio, and offers insights into some of the problem solving required in developing such a...
Published 03/16/16
San Francisco Ballet Company and School share the same building, just across the street from the Opera House. There, our students train in the same studios as our professional dancers, and they have the wonderful opportunity to see the professional dancers whom they aspire to become one day. As many ballets in our repertory include roles for children, the conversation revolves around preparing children for roles in Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Swimmer, and Coppélia.
Published 03/09/16
Rubén Martin Cintas, former Principal Dancer now Principal Character Dancer and SF Ballet School faculty member, joined by Soloist Sasha De Sola, each speak about the importance of a classical foundation which prepares a dancer’s body to perform all styles. They elaborate on how performing the classic ballets, such as Swan Lake, both trains and maintains the dancers’ technique and strength. During a slide review of first the early history and then the current production, Rubén and Sasha...
Published 02/24/16
Principal Dancer Sofiane Sylve, who has a working relationship with choreographer William Forsythe going back to her earliest days as a performer at the Dutch National Ballet, speaks eloquently about the challenges and pleasures of interpreting his movement. Katita Waldo performed many of his pieces prior to her role as Ballet Master, and she discusses his musicality in using both classical and contemporary works. They each emphasize their appreciation for the collaborative nature of...
Published 02/03/16
Principal Dancer, Lorena Feijoo, and Ballet Master, Felipe Diaz, discuss the experience of creating the new work by choreographer, Liam Scarlett, Fearful Symmetries. Felipe speaks of how his role as Ballet Master is informed by his experience as a performer. Lorena describes the excitement she feels as she interprets Scarlett’s creativity. Each speak eloquently about how skillfully the choreography is supported by the powerful music by John Adams.
Published 01/27/16
In collaboration with Helgi Tomasson, Martino Pistone choreographed the exciting sword-fighting scenes in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet. Join Dance Educator Mary Wood to learn how the artists of SF Ballet learn and execute these thrilling scenes, as Pistone and dancers demonstrate sections of the fight choreography.
Published 05/06/15
Dance Educator Mary Wood interviews Resident Choreographer Yuri Possokhov and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra Member and Composer Shinji Eshima about the making of Possokhov’s new ballet Swimmer.
Published 04/15/15
Stanford dance historian Janice Ross—author of Like a Bomb Going Off, a new book focusing on Soviet ballet during the Stalinist era—explores the fascinating and dangerous intersections between politics and ballet in Soviet Russia.
Published 04/08/15