Dancing Romeo & Juliet


We sat down with a few of the principal dancers performing in this year’s production of Romeo & Juliet to get their point-of-view on this classic ballet.


Yuan Yuan Tan

TAN Yuan Yuan (CH)-1

When did you first see Romeo & Juliet? What did you think?
“I first saw Romeo & Juliet on TV, it was of the Royal Ballet with Natalia Makarova was dancing Juliet. The amazing music and emotional story has stayed with me ever since.”

When did you first dance Juliet? How has the role changed for you since the first time?
“I danced my first Juliet here in San Francisco, and have danced it a number of times since, including a very memorable partnership with Yuri Possokhov for his farewell performance. I also had the pleasure of dancing alongside Roberto Bolle at a gala in Shanghai earlier this year. I feel that my character gets stronger and more developed every year I dance Juliet. I have matured quite a bit since my first year dancing the role, and find that I am able to make my character more convincing to myself. The artistic value becomes greater with age and experience.”

Can you describe your experience dancing opposite your partner, Vito Mazzeo*?
“Working on Romeo & Juliet is very unique. I really find my emotional connection with my partner onstage. We can really let go, be in the moment, and experience the characters and chemistry on a deeper level. There is so much two artists can achieve together onstage. When dancing with role with Vito, we are able to discover new emotions onstage together.”

*guest artist

What is your favorite part of the ballet?
“The balcony pas de deux, ballroom scene, and death scene are all very memorable scenes, especially because the music is just so amazing. I look forward to dancing these sections the most.” Read More »

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Share Your Epic Love Story & Win a Night Out


To celebrate the highly anticipated return of SF Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet, we will send one lucky fan and a guest to the War Memorial Opera House on a romantic date night for two. We want you to get inspired by Romeo & Juliet‘s captivating tale and share a great love story of your own. To enter into this contest, post your story on social media with the hashtag #MyEpicLoveStory by Thursday, April 30, 2015. One fan will win a romantic evening for two on May 9, 2015 at 8pm, complete with pre-performance dinner at Café at the Opera*, Dress Circle Premium seats to Romeo & Juliet, and 2 Look Books signed by dancers of the Company. (See details below for official entry rules.)

*Winner will receive a $100 gift card from Patina Restaurant Group, to be used for food and beverages at the War Memorial Opera House.


How to Enter

1.  Write a description and share a photo that best represents your own epic love story. You can be as broad or as detailed as you like and your love story can encompass a wide range of themes. Who’s to say they haven’t fallen in love with a pet, a stranger, or city?

2. Choose a social media platform (Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook) and share your story and photo (or series of stories and photos!). Be sure to post your entry by noon on May 1, 2015. Read More »

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Spotlight: The List Insider Event


Last week, three members of The List, our young audience rush ticket program, won the chance to attend the opening night of Program 7, including an exclusive invite to the cast party after the show with Company dancers, artists, and production team. SF Ballet super-fan and member of The List, Hassan Makki, shared his experience with us:

Last week, I responded to an Insider Event email for The List and was chosen to attend the world premiere of Yuri Possokhov’s Swimmer, as well as the cast party that followed. Sitting at the performance, I couldn’t help but be proud of how the company is one that takes dance, and performance arts (but not itself) so seriously! A combination that makes for evenings that are both high art and great fun.

Program 7 opened with a black and gold Caprice from SF Ballet Artistic Director, Helgi Tomasson. The ballet is full of lyrical lifts (that’s a thing right?), melodic romantic music, and subtle but ever-renewing formations that kept the eye riveted. Next was Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, followed by the world premiere of Possokhov’s Swimmer. Swimmer had a hint of the Mad Men opening credits, some fun energy where the dancing feels like there’s a party on stage not just a performance, and a lot of Taras Domitro’s virtuosity (who I’d love to see more of).

The program highlighted the strengths not just of SF Ballet but exemplifies some of the values of the city of San Francisco in general: great talent, courage to try new things, and careful execution!
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Romeo & Juliet Through The Years


The story of Romeo & Juliet, the tragic and enduring love story created by William Shakespeare, has been a favorite of audiences and Artistic Directors at San Francisco Ballet for the past 75 years. Our first production, which premiered in the 1938, was created by Artistic Director William Christensen (he also performed the lead role). In the 1970s Michael Smuin, who was the Artistic Director at the time, revived the classic with his own production, which was honored with an appearance on the PBS series “Great Performances: Dance in America.” Smuin’s production, which continued to be performed throughout the late 80s, was replaced by our current Artistic Director, Helgi Tomasson’s production which premiered in 1994. Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet, which will appear May 1-10, 2015, has become one of the most widely toured and acclaimed full-length ballets in our Company’s history.

Scroll down for a glimpse of how San Francisco Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet has evolved and captured the hearts of audiences for the past seventy-five years.

1930s& 1940s

Willam Christensen as Romeo in his "Romeo and Juliet" (Photo courtesy of MPDSF)

Willam Christensen as Romeo in his own production of Romeo & Juliet (Photo courtesy of MPDSF)

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