San Francisco Ballet School’s Festival Update

SF Ballet School Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson and Director Patrick Armand are pleased to present the virtual SF Ballet School Virtual Festival on Thursday, June 17, 2021, beginning at 6 pm PDT with dinner at a virtual table followed by a 7 pm PDT program.

The festival program features three newly captured performances by SF Ballet School Trainees, including world premieres by SF Ballet School Faculty members Dana Genshaft and Viktor Plotnikov and the SF Ballet School Premiere of the pas de quatre from Sir Frederick Ashton’s Swan Lake, as well as recorded class observations and a review of the 2020–2021 School Year.

“The Virtual Festival celebrates the resilience of our students and faculty throughout this most challenging year,” says Armand, who recently welcomed intermediate level students back to the studios for in-person classes after a year of distanced learning. “I’ve been heartened by the students’ commitment to their artistry and craft, and their dedication to excellence despite the circumstances. The success of the Spring Festival’s performance program is thanks to the tremendous effort put forth by the students, their parents, and our fine faculty. It will be a pleasure to share the culmination of these year-long efforts with our dedicated supporters, both local and abroad.” Carrie Kaufman chairs the event. Kaufman is a member of the SF Ballet Auxiliary and parent of an SF Ballet School student.

SF Ballet School Director Patrick Armand
observes rehearsal of the Virtual Festival
// © Erik Tomasson

In addition to the pas de quatre from Ashton’s Swan Lake, the festival’s programming includes world premieres by SF Ballet School Faculty members Dana Genshaft and Viktor Plotnikov created for SF Ballet School Trainees. Plotnikov, who joined SF Ballet School’s Faculty for the 2020–2021 School Year, has created Graces, a piece for three couples set to the fourth movement of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 that includes “difficult lifts and exciting tilts and weight bearings,” he says. “The piece evolves slowly, and the characters describe grace. The Trainees are fun, open-minded, driven, and eager-to-dance upcoming professionals, and it’s been a pleasure to create this work on them.” Genshaft’s new piece for seven dancers, Future Papers, is set to the music of San Francisco-based composer Kamran Adib. “This piece is inspired, quite simply, by the idea of returning to the theater,” she says. “After so much has been put into question this year, I wanted to embrace the feeling of connectivity and joy of dancing together. Rather than make a piece that is ‘happy,’ I wanted to make a piece that fights through the heaviness of the moment and arrives in a hopeful place together—from our Zoom bubbles, back to a shared space on stage.”  All performances featured in the Virtual Festival program were captured under strict safety protocols in compliance with the San Francisco Department of Public Health guidelines, which protect artists, production crews, and the greater public.

Tickets to the Virtual Festival begin at $500 for adults, extending to $25,000 for a private, virtual table of 10. Each ticket includes a private virtual table, meet-and-greets with SF Ballet School students and SF Ballet company members who are SF Ballet School alumni, and gourmet, home-delivered dinners from McCalls Catering, Ernest Vineyards wines, and gifts. Event tickets may be purchased online or by calling 415-865-6639 or emailing; RSVPs must be placed by June 2. Proceeds from the Virtual Festival will support the over $1 million in scholarships and financial aid the School distributes each year to talented and deserving students. With nearly 70% of SF Ballet Company members having received training at SF Ballet School, this fundraising event will help ensure the future of ballet in San Francisco and across the globe. Returning sponsors are KPMG and Dodge & Cox.

The complete Virtual Festival program will stream for free on SF Ballet @ Home from June 18 to June 24. Patrons who attended the June 17 Virtual Festival will receive an access link to the stream via email on June 18. Those who did not attend the June 17 event must sign up to access the free stream via SF Ballet @ Home. Access to the stream is valid for a consecutive 72-hour period during the run of the program, which expires on June 24 at 9 pm PDT. Access is free due to the generosity of Executive Producer level donors Dr. Sunnie Evers, Shelby and Frederick Gans, the Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, David and Kelsey Lamond, Alison and Michael Mauzé, and Catherine and Mark Slavonia; a $29 donation is suggested. Questions about the free stream may be directed to Ticket Services at 415-865-2000, Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.