Tamara Rojo. Credit: © San Francisco Ballet, photo by Lindsey Rallo.

SF Ballet Receives Historic “Gift”

San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) recently announced a historic $60 million gift—the largest single gift ever given to the company, and what SF Ballet believes to be one of the largest gifts given to an American ballet company—to ensure the organization’s capacity to create new works and acquire masterpieces, and to bolster its vision of revolutionizing ballet.In her inaugural season, Artistic Director Tamara Rojo has already pursued a program with world premiere commissions Mere Mortals and Carmen, company firsts, and works rarely seen in the United States.

Through this generous gift from an anonymous donor, the company will be able to continue prioritizing the development and acquisition of new work, foster the talents of emerging and established choreographers with a variety of viewpoints, and strengthen the financial health of the company for seasons to come.“We are thrilled by this exceptional generosity and such a tremendous commitment to our company, our artists, and our vision to take artistic risks,” said Rojo. “I came to San Francisco with the goal of introducing new audiences to the ballet, expanding the repertoire, and helping move forward our collective vision of what ballet can be. This gift allows us to invest in innovative works like Mere Mortals, to work with a wide range of talented collaborators, and to change the way ballet is made. I am excited for the company to reach new heights in the coming seasons.” Of the unprecedented gift, $50 million will go to SF Ballet’s endowment to support the creation and acquisition of new works on an annual basis and in perpetuity, and $10 million will help to secure the financial underpinning of Rojo’s initial seasons.

“With the help of this revolutionary gift, we will be able to continue serving our local community as well as dance-lovers around the world by expanding our company’s repertoire and ensuring that new work development is an annual priority,” said Alison Mauzé, Board Chair. “San Francisco Ballet is deeply committed to contributing to and advocating for the cultural richness of the Bay Area through the creation and presentation of new and contemporary choreography on our stages while also maintaining a strong dedication to the classics.”

 “This gift gives us the invaluable ability to take artistic risks, to allow artists to explore the full breadth of their creativity, and to expand and diversify our repertoire, inviting new generations of artists into the fold and providing the best artistic opportunities for our exceptional company,” said Arturo Jacobus, Interim Executive Director. “As an innovator in dance focused on shaping the future of ballet, it’s equally important to ensure that we have the financial stability necessary to operate a world-renowned ballet company at the pinnacle of excellence. The generosity of our donors is instrumental in supporting the company, and it is our hope that this exemplary gift will serve as a model for continued, thoughtful investment in SF Ballet for years to come.”

This support of new work for SF Ballet follows the recent launch of Creation House, a new multifaceted initiative offering SF Ballet company members, SF Ballet School students, and guest artists an expansive portfolio of career-enhancing creative opportunities with a focus on choreography and new work development. The initiative’s four strands—Choreographic Residencies, the Choreographic Exchange and Physical Play workshops, ChoreoLabs, and the SF Ballet School Choreographic Program—provide space and time for creative exploration and mentorship within the company, expanding upon SF Ballet’s longstanding commitment to fostering innovation and new works, nurturing rising choreographic talent, and celebrating collaboration within the artistic communities of San Francisco and beyond.