SF Ballet moves on from 2020, announces 2021 season

Dores André, Joseph Walsh, Hurry Up We're Dreaming, M83, SF Ballet, San Francisco Ballet

Dores André and Joseph Walsh in Peck’s ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,’ Courtesy: Erik Tomasson.

The San Francisco Ballet has announced its programming for its 2021 season, which the nonprofit organization hopes to begin in mid-January and run through June 27. the theme for the season is “Leap of Hope;” an acknowledgement that much remains uncertain in a time of pandemic.

For instance, not all of the performances may take place at the company’s home, the War Memorial Opera House. SF Ballet is exploring online performances as well, but remains optimistic that it will present the season in full, in one way or another.

“While it is a season requiring resiliency as we navigate our path forward, it is also a season of innovation and tradition that showcases the continued diversity, artistry and excellence of our company,” Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson said in a written statement. “I look forward to reconnecting with our audiences and community as we enter a new era.”

The seven-program season features four world premieres and one West Coast premiere over the first three programs between Jan. 19 and Feb. 22, followed by Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” from March 5 to 14 and “Jewels” from March 25 to 31. It will conclude with Tomasson’s “Swan Lake” from May 28 to June 6 and “Romeo & Juliet” from June 18 to 27.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” returns after being curtailed last season after the very first performance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissions include new works by Bay Area choreographer Danielle Rowe, San Francisco Ballet soloist Myles Thatcher and Mark Morris, as well as two new works previously scheduled for the 2020 season: “Mrs. Robinson” by Cathy Marston and American Ballet Theatre co-commission “The Seasons,” by Alexei Ratmansky. The season also features the return of Dwight Rhoden’s “LET’S BEGIN AT THE END,” originally created for the Unbound festival in 2018, as well as Yuri Possokhov’s “Swimmer,” Tomasson’s “7 for Eight” and David Dawson’s “Anima Animus,” among others.

SF Ballet Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale said performances will return once the safety of dancers, the audience and others can be guaranteed. The company will adhere to all state and local health protocols.

“With the immediate future of live performance and large gatherings still unclear, we want to be realistic and prudent,” she said.

SF Ballet also announced that it is planning a new works festival for 2023, when the company will mark its 90th anniversary, and addressed other events, such as its annual presentation of “Nutcracker” and its opening night gala. The company will need further instructions from San Francisco city leaders before deciding how to proceed. “Nutcracker” is typically staged in December.

Series subscribers in the 2020 season can renew their subscription packages now. The ballet is offering three-, five- and seven-program packages for the 2021 season, ranging from $69 to $2,275. Packages will go on sale in the fall. Individual tickets will starting at $29 and will also be available sometime in the fall. Earlier this week, both the SF Symphony and SF Opera canceled all performances through the end of the year.

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