This winter, from December 8–27, San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) returns to the stage with thirty-three performances of Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker, a Bay Area tradition of the past eighteen years.
This year’s performances feature the complete roster of 110 SF Ballet School children dancing across the casts—returning to pre-pandemic levels—as bugs, soldiers, mice, and partygoers, returning in full following last year’s condensed number of 64 children. “This is a most joyous return to the stage for our students, many of whom have missed their favorite holiday tradition over the past three years,” says SF Ballet School Director Patrick Armand. “Nutcracker offers an invaluable opportunity to prepare a dancer for their career, to instill professional values and rigor in a supportive and fun environment—we are thrilled to be back.”
Nutcracker also offers audiences the chance to see dancers new to SF Ballet’s roster of 83 artists, including Principal Dancers Nikisha Fogo and Isaac Hernández, and Soloist Katherine Barkman dance in lead roles such as the Sugarplum Fairy, The Nutcracker Prince, and King and Queen of the Snow. Set in San Francisco in 1915 during the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, Tomasson’s Nutcracker features designs by Tony Award–winners Michael Yeargan (scenic) and Martin Pakledinaz (costume), lighting designs by James F. Ingalls, and projection design by Wendall K. Harrington, and an iconic blizzard of 150 pounds of snow billowing from the fly space. In 1944, SF Ballet became the first ballet company in the United States to perform a complete version of Nutcracker, establishing a holiday tradition that resonates today.
On Sunday, December 18, returning for the first time since 2019, SF Ballet will open its studios for three in-person Nutcracker-themed workshops for audiences of all ages and experience levels. Originally created in partnership with Autism Fun Bay Area and College of Adaptive Arts, SF Ballet’s Nutcracker Sensory-Friendly Dance Workshop offers guests of all abilities the chance to interact with Nutcracker’s story, choreography, music, and costumes up close. For children ages 3–6 and their families, SF Ballet will also offer two Nutcracker Let’s Dance Family Workshops that explore ballet through hands-on, interactive activities and storytelling. The workshops will be held on December 18;