Aszure Barton // © Graeme Mitchell

New Rarely Seen Works to be Staged By SF Ballet Next Season

San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) has announced its 2024 season filled with premieres, company firsts, and works rarely seen in the United States. Curated by Tamara Rojo, the first woman to lead the trailblazing company and San Francisco Ballet’s first new Artistic Director in nearly four decades, the season centers cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaborations, celebrates the artists and histories of San Francisco, and spotlights women’s voices on stage and off. Moreover, it furthers SF Ballet’s longstanding mission to balance innovation in choreography with a deeply held dedication to the classics.

Programs include a cutting-edge commission led by the composer Floating Points; world premiere commissions from female choreographers Aszure Barton and Arielle Smith, who, along with Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, will reimagine the myths of Pandora, Carmen, and Frida Kahlo; and two classic British ballets rarely seen by American audiences.

Programs in the 2024 Repertory Season, taking place at the War Memorial Opera House from January 25–May 5, include:

  • A world premiere SF Ballet commission for orchestra and electronics led by music producer/DJ and composer Floating Points and renowned choreographer Aszure Barton, who will reimagine Pandora’s Box through an immersive sensory experience melding dance, electronic music, and design, brought to life by a global collective of artists;
  • A double bill of Latina chorographers, featuring a world premiere retelling of Carmen from Olivier-award winning choreographer and rising star Arielle Smith, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Broken Wings, a vibrant and colorful exploration of Frida Kahlo’s life;
  • Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth and Frederick Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand, two iconic works from the British canon that are rarely performed in the U.S.;
  • Three selections from 2023’s critically acclaimed next@90 festival: Yuri Possokhov’s Violin Concerto, Nicolas Blanc’s Gateway to the Sun, and Danielle Rowe’s MADCAP;
  • Swan Lake, the striking classical ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score;
  • Balanchine’s whimsical A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will triumphantly return to the stage—now featuring Christian LaCroix’s design, never-before-seen in the U.S.—after becoming the first major production in the country to shut down in March 2020;
  • The beloved family holiday favorite Nutcracker, set in San Francisco and honoring the company’s legacy as the first to present a full-length production; and
  • Special encore performances, including the return of Swan Lake with featured guest artists.

“The warm welcome I’ve received from the San Francisco community has been truly inspiring. For my first season as Artistic Director, I am inviting a cross-cultural group of exceptional artists to bring their creativity and visions to my new home city,” said Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of San Francisco Ballet. “From engaging with technology in new and intriguing ways to offering exciting interpretations of two Latina heroines to the creation of new, contemporary scores, this season we will showcase the broad talents of our world-renowned company while expanding what the War Memorial Opera House, its audiences, and ballet itself can look like.”

The repertory season will be presented in the recently renovated War Memorial Opera House. SF Ballet performs with the Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Ballet Orchestra throughout the season, under the direction of Music Director Martin West.

As part of its work to engage with global perspectives, San Francisco Ballet will invite international guest artists Julio Bocca, Ed Watson, Sandy Jennings, and Patrick Armand to teach and work with the company during intensive residencies throughout the season.

In 2024, the company will also launch a new professional development initiative, the SF Ballet ChoreoLab Series, which will open and nurture a dialogue around making work, between visiting artists and emerging choreographers in the company and School. To inaugurate the series, SF Ballet will welcome three world-renowned female choreographers presenting work this season—Aszure Barton, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Arielle Smith—to lead sessions that offer insight into their creative process in an informal, intimate setting. SF Ballet will also partner with San Francisco-based contemporary dance company ODC to include associated artists in ChoreoLab sessions.