BRAVO: Keeping Us on Our Toes

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BRAVO, the SF Ballet Resource and Volunteer Organization, is one group that works year-round to support SF Ballet and keep us on our toes. Comprised of more than 300 ballet enthusiasts, this dedicated group of volunteers work 10,000+ hours per year on a number of activities such as assisting backstage at Nutcracker, providing administrative support on various projects for both the Company and SF Ballet School, and staffing special events such as the Opening Night Gala, Student Showcase, and more. The dedication of BRAVO’s members has made the group a national model for volunteer associations.

Meet three BRAVO members who have leveraged their wide range of passions and expertise to support SF Ballet:

Name: Anna Sheu

Occupation: Data Analyst/Modeler/Consultant

When did you start attending SF Ballet performances and how did you first get involved with BRAVO? My first SF Ballet show was Nutcracker in third grade! However, I joined BRAVO in 2014 because I was looking for an organization that would combine philanthropy and volunteer work with my hobby, ballet.

Why is it important to you to volunteer for SF Ballet? Ballet has always been a passion and important part of my life; I’m so grateful that I’m able to contribute to a group that allows me to be involved with ballet in a different way. On a larger scale, I think dance (and civic arts in general) are such an important cultural element that sometimes can be overlooked in favor of other more trendy initiatives. Hopefully all of us volunteers can bring more attention to all of the city’s excellent arts offerings, including the Ballet!   Read More »

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SF Ballet School’s Popular Adult Ballet Classes Expanded

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Last year, SF Ballet School launched a variety of new School programs in keeping with the Company’s mission to share the joy of dance with the widest possible audience. The programs—including a Boys & Girls Clubs Summer Dance Camp partnership, Master Class Series, as well as an updated adult ballet class program—locally exposed more adults and children than ever, to the art form. In particular, the adult ballet class program has proved immensely popular, with each of last year’s 80+ classes nearly sold-out.

Jeffrey Lyons teaching adult ballet students. (Photo: Chris Hardy)

Jeffrey Lyons teaching adult ballet students. (Photo: Chris Hardy)

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Tips for Aspiring Ballet Dancers

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Cynthia Harvey leads San Francisco Ballet School students in class. (© Erik Tomasson)

Cynthia Harvey leads San Francisco Ballet School students in class.
(© Erik Tomasson)

Last month, Summer Session Guest Faculty Member Cynthia Harvey gave us a glimpse of her life as a ballet instructor, following a long career performing with American Ballet Theatre. Originally from the Bay Area, Harvey was also the first American to join The Royal Ballet as a principal dancer. Below, Harvey offers her top tips for aspiring students:

1. In class, do what’s asked of you.

Don’t alter the steps to show off your best party trick. While we’re at it, showing off is not attractive at all. Contrived, forced, or artificial movements do not present the real you. Choreographers and directors are more interested in malleable dancers who they can mold to their style. Physicality is important, but not at the expense of what’s taught.

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Faculty Spotlight: Parrish Maynard

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SF Ballet School faculty member, Parrish Maynard, trained at SF Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre School. Mr. Maynard danced with companies including American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, and as a principal dancer at SF Ballet. In addition to being a recipient of the Princess Grace Award and the Presidential Scholar Award, he was a silver medalist in the International Ballet Competition. In 2005 Mr. Maynard joined the faculty of SF Ballet School.
Parrish Maynard and students in class during San Francisco Ballet School's Summer Session. (© Erik Tomasson)

Parrish Maynard and students in class during San Francisco Ballet School’s Summer Session. (© Erik Tomasson)

You’ve been a teacher at SF Ballet School for about 10 years now. How has your teaching changed in those 10 years?

When I first started teaching, I mostly did master classes. I was “giving a class”—a one-time class to a diverse group of students whom I didn’t have responsibility for after the class ended. When I became part of the SF Ballet School faculty, I had the responsibility of developing young dancers—moving them through the year and building upon their accomplishments. With the boys I teach in the School during the year-round program, I’m taking them on a journey, from beginning to end. I want them all to have the understanding of what I’m teaching them and what I’m expecting. I set a goal for each class of students to graduate them to the next level, using the curriculum outlined for the next steps.

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