L to R: Costumes from Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena, Helgi Tomasson’s Haffner Symphony, Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa’s Guernica, and Edwaard Liang’s Symphonic Dances are on display in ‘SF Ballet at 90’ // Photographs courtesy SFO Museum

SFO Museum Creates Compelling Costume Exhibit for SF Ballet

SFO Museum at the San Francisco International Airport recently unveiled San Francisco Ballet at 90, a new exhibition located in the International Terminal featuring costumes from the past 30 years of SF Ballet’s 90-year history. SF Ballet, the oldest professional ballet company in the United States, has balanced the commissioning of new works with classics of ballet repertory since its founding in 1933.

On view until January 7, 2024, San Francisco Ballet at 90 features 18 unique costumes, particularly highlighting the new works festivals commissioned by previous artistic director Helgi Tomasson: UNited We Dance Festival (1995); Discovery Program (2000); 75th Anniversary New Works Festival (2008); and Unbound: A Festival of New Works (2018). These festivals have introduced emerging and established choreographers to San Francisco and have made SF Ballet one of the premiere centers for new ballet choreography in the United States and around the globe. Highlights from the exhibition include:

  • A hand-painted dress by Sandra Woodall for Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena (1995), which weaves African rhythms with Bach compositions and classical ballet with African dance movements.
  • Futuristic costumes designed by Marco Morante for Arthur Pita’s Björk Ballet (2018), which is set to Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk’s alternative pop music.
  • A black-and-white halter leotard with leather corset and horned headpiece designed by Mark Zappone for Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Guernica(2018).
  • A striking Art Deco sheath dress and coat designed by Emma Kingsbury for Danielle Rowe’s Wooden Dimes, a 1920s Art Deco dance film from 2021.
  • A teal “pancake” tutu in rich shades of blue designed by Holly Hynes for Jorma Elo’s Double Evil(2008).

A pink and gray unitard with pink tutu and cap with pom-pom by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung for Christopher Wheeldon’s 2022 Finale Finale, the choreographer’s tribute to departing artistic director Helgi Tomasson.