Choreograph Your Own Season: YY’s Choice

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Need some help “choreographing” your season? Not sure which programs you want to see? We asked four ballet experts to curate their own “CYO Dream Season” at SF Ballet. In this featured blog post, Principal Dancer Yuan Yuan Tan weighs in on the highlights of our 2015 Repertory Season!

SF Ballet Principal Dancer Yuan Yuan Tan says, “RAkU was created on me, so it is very dear to my heart. I grew as an artist while making and performing it. I have also danced multiple roles in Serenade—the music is so beautiful, the movements are graceful, but it is very technically demanding.” About Giselle, she says, “You have to be an artist and an actress to dance the role of Giselle.” Likewise, Giselle requires athleticism: “Helgi’s version [of Giselle] is wonderful but very demanding; there is an extra pas de deux [near the end of] Act I which requires a lot of physical strength.”

Tan says Scarlett’s Hummingbird and Balanchine’s Dances at a Gathering (Program 4) are also very challenging works: “I dance for 16 minutes nonstop in Hummingbird, and Robbins’ choreography is really difficult, but the music is just amazing, and I love that Helgi performed this work as a dancer.”

Yuan Yuan says, “Romeo & Juliet is a ‘must have’ in a ballerina’s repertoire. My favorite section is the balcony scene, the costumes and the movement are so beautiful. I always look forward to dancing this role.”

Yuan Yuan Tan in Tomasson's Romeo & Juliet. (© Erik Tomasson)

Yuan Yuan Tan in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet.
(© Erik Tomasson)

Subscribe today!! SF Ballet’s “Choreograph Your Own” season packages are our most flexible subscription offering. Simply select three or more programs at dates and times that work for you, and save up to 15% off single ticket prices. Plus enjoy a host of benefits, including:

  • FREE advance ticket exchanges within program
  • Our exclusive Season Guide
  • A subscription to Backstage, our magazine for our subscribers
  • 15% discount at The Shop at SF Ballet
  • Access to payment plans
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New Company Members & Promotions

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Here’s an article from Backstage, our exclusive magazine for SF Ballet subscribers and donors. Each issue of Backstage features interviews with our dancers and choreographers, colorful photo spreads, features about special events, and news about what’s happening in the dance community around the world. The only way to receive Backstage is to become a part of the SF Ballet subscriber or donor family. Subscribe today!

Each season SF Ballet audiences look forward to seeing new dancers on the Opera House stage, and also to learn which dancers have been promoted up through the ranks of the Company. For aspiring young dancers, the invitation to join America’s first professional ballet company—or being selected by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson for a promotion— marks a defining moment in their lives. Join us as we celebrate a major turning point in the careers of these extraordinary artists.

Principal Dancers

Luke Ingham, originally from South Australia, has been promoted from the rank of soloist to principal dancer. Since joining SF Ballet as a soloist in 2012, Ingham has caught the attention of audiences and critics alike. Last season DanceTabs called Ingham’s performance in Robbins’ Glass Pieces “glorious.” Prior to joining SF Ballet, he performed with The Australian Ballet and Houston Ballet. He received his training at The Australian Ballet School.

Carlos Quenedit, from Havana, Cuba has been promoted from the rank of soloist to principal dancer. He joined the Company as a soloist in 2012. Prior to SF Ballet, Quenedit was with a number of companies including Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Miami City Ballet, and The Joffrey Ballet. About their performance in Paris, in Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, CriticalDance.org said, “Maria Kochetkova and Carlos Quenedit gave a vibrant performance, both dancing with lots of passion and drama.”

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Fall for Dance

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I’m really honored and excited to be a part of the Fall For Dance Festival in NYC at New York City Center October 8 and 9, just a few short days away! There I’ll be performing in Hans van Manen’s Variations for Two Couples along with Sofiane Sylve, Carlos Quenedit, and Luke Ingham – an incredible cast to dance with. I’m also thrilled that my family and friends will have the chance to see me on stage, which is a rare opportunity for them! Despite my short stay, I’m looking forward to being on the East Coast again – I was born there and miss the seasons.  (I really hope the leaves have changed!)

The past month been a whirlwind for me – in addition to rehearsing for the festival and our upcoming season here in San Francisco, last week I participated in World Ballet Day. It was such a pleasure to share this experience for the first time with my fellow dancers here at SFB, and we loved opening our doors to audiences around the world alongside the other companies!

When the other dancers and I return to San Francisco after the Fall for Dance Festival, we’ll all have one week off to rest and rejuvenate for more rehearsals and preparation for Nutcracker, which is quickly followed by our 2015 Season.  I look forward to performing in many ballets this 2014/2015 season, and I’m so grateful to have been selected as the first Diane B. Wilsey Principal Dancer.

Vanessa Zahorian in Tomasson's Giselle. (© Erik Tomasson)

Vanessa Zahorian in Tomasson’s Giselle.
(© Erik Tomasson)

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SF Ballet: What to Watch for on World Ballet Day Live

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Starting at 11am on Wednesday, October 1, our four-hour World Ballet Day live-stream  begins as any other day at SF Ballet does: with full Company class, today taught by Ballet Master Felipe Diaz. After class, the Company will rehearse several sections of Tomasson and Possokhov’s Don Quixote: Principal Dancer Maria Kochetkova will rehearse the role of Kitri, alongside Principal Dancer Sofiane Sylve as the Driad Queen from Act II. Additionally, Principal Dancers Vanessa Zahorian and Carlos Quenedit will dance the “gypsy pas de deux” from Act II, while Principal Dancers Frances Chung and Davit Karapetyan will rehearse the wedding pas de deux from Act III.

SF Ballet Resident Choreographer Yuri Possokov will then lead a rehearsal of his own ballet, RAkU, featuring Principal Dancers Yuan Yuan Tan, Carlos Quenedit, and Pascal Molat. Shinji Eshima—a member of the SF Ballet Orchestra and the composer of RAkU—will speak with Possokhov about their creative process. RAkU returns to SF Ballet in Program 1.

Helgi Tomasson will then rehearse his ballet Concerto Grosso.

Next, ballet repetiteur Stefanie Ardnt will rehearse William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, featuring Principal Dancers Gennadi Nedvigin and Jaime Garcia Castilla, and Soloists Dores Andre, Clara Blanco, Sasha De Sola, and Carlo DiLanno.

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