San Francisco Ballet Announces New 2013 Dancer Roster

It’s official; the new San Francisco Ballet 2012-2013 dancer roster has been announced and there are some incoming surprises, as well as some sad news of outgoing favorites. Now that Odette’s lips can officially sink some ships, here’s that all-important link to the new roster that every SFBalletomane (a term Odette coined that has since gone viral with other members of the press and ballet forums, thanks to her many loyal readers) has been looking for:

San Francisco Ballet’s 2012-2013 Dancer Roster 

(Make sure you click into each category^in the gray box to the right, when you get there, for Principals, Soloists, and Corps de Ballet)

With respect to those who want this info the second it becomes official, Odette is now clicking the ‘publish’ button…but will be back in a matter of minutes with her annual Translation of the roster, which she knows many of you look forward to-the blow-by-blow of who’s gone, where they went, promotions, and who’s new. She will also bring you interviews with some of the departing dancers like former SFB Soloist Pauli Magierek and former Corps de Ballet Dancers Matthew Stewart and Daniel Baker.

See you momentarily!


Odette, in her haste to get you the news as it happens, just made a complete oversight of SFB’s official Press Release sitting in her inbox and SFB has given us many details about the new dancers and promotions here.


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San Francisco Ballet Announces Ballet Bliss for Stern Grove 2012 Program, July 29 at 2 p.m.

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Note: This post has been updated on 7/20/12. However, above^ slideshow preview and associated photos below reflect previously announced programming, which has since been changed. This post is still very worthwhile for the video clips of last season’s Stern Grove performances (including Sofiane Sylve’s Isadora Duncan Dance Award winning Symphony in C!), but go here for the newly announced Casting, programming changes, and a brand new slideshow and video clip (sneak peek!) of Myles Thatcher’s Spinae!

San Francisco Ballet’s free annual summer performance, in the idyllic Stern Grove, is an eagerly anticipated occasion for SFBalletomanes. It’s like a tall, cool, and refreshing thirst-quencher in the middle of SFB’s long dry ‘off-season’, its only performance in SF from early May till the distant Nutcracker run.

Sarah Van Patten & Pierre-Francois Vilanoba in Wheeldon’s ‘Within the Golden Hour’ (© Erik Tomasson)

 This year, SFB’s 2012 Stern Grove line-up offers a sampling of some of our favorite company’s finest ballets-and, unsurprisingly, gives the troupe a bit of dress rehearsal for its upcoming London Tour, as well as encoring some recent repertoire hits. Add a dash of ‘Scotch’, a spellbinding new ballet by SFB Corps de Ballet dancer Myles Thatcher (Spinae premiered on the SFB School Trainees & Apprentices earlier this year), and a sprightly ‘Solo’ (albeit for 3 men) and SFB’s Stern Grove program is a mouth-watering menu of flavors to satiate any dance lover’s palate:

Courtney Elizabeth in Balanchine’s ‘Scotch Symphony’ (© Erik Tomasson)

San Francisco Ballet at Stern Grove 2012

Sunday, July 29 at 2 p.m.
Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and
Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco

Balanchine’s Scotch Symphony


Thatcher’s Spinae


van Manen’s SOLO


Wheeldon’s Number Nine* 

*to have its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells, during the Company’s upcoming London Tour, Sept. 19-23, 2012  

(click link above for Sadler’s Wells’ ^ London programming)

Garen Scribner in van Manen’s ‘Solo’ at SF Ballet Gala 2012 (© Erik Tomasson)

For those of you who haven’t yet experienced a live outdoor performance with some of this planet’s most talented dancers, accompanied by the award-winning San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, amidst dragonflies, in a sylvan grove of redwoods, let Odette explain:  

This is not ‘Ballet Light’. This is ‘Ballet Bliss’. How many of us will never forget last year’s dreamy pas de deux of Sofiane Sylve’s Izzie Award winning Symphony in C performance, with her elegant partner Vito Mazzeo, an adagio every bit as beautiful as anything we have seen on the War Memorial Opera House stage?

Like I said, Ballet Bliss.

Sofiane Sylve and Vito Mazzeo in Balanchine’s Symphony In C (© Erik Tomasson)

(Ballet Bliss)


Tiit Helimets & Yuan Yuan Tan in Tomasson’s ‘7 for Eight’ (© Erik Tomasson)

(Ballet Bliss


Yuan Yuan Tan & Davit Karapetyan in Balanchine’s ‘Scotch Symphony’ (© Erik Tomasson)

(*Ballet Bliss*)


SFB’s 2011 Stern Grove performance featured SFB Corps de Ballet Dancer Myles Thatcher’s Timepiece (with SFB’s Trainees, Apprentices, & company dancers), Tomasson’s 7 for Eight (complete), and Balanchine’s Symphony in C


Myles Thatcher’s Timepiece at Stern Grove 2011


A fan’s 12:40 video clip of SFB’s Symphony in C, with Sofiane Sylve’s Isadora Duncan Dance Award winning performance of the 3rd Movement at 8:01 (a little annoying when he carries her off frame, as the fan didn’t know who to focus on, but there’s plenty to drool over, especially after 11:00)


Words to the wise: Come very early (9:00 will already display a sea of blankets) for the best seating oopportunities, wear warm layers to strip off and carry you from the morning fog to the noonday sun, bring a waterproof tarp to sit on (the grass is wet in the morning), bring sunscreen and your favorite summer picnic fare. Sun hats and sunglasses are a must-and maybe a good juicy summer read and your ipod, if you’re there long before the orchestra starts warming up.


Another fan’s 9:55 clip of SFB’s 2011 Stern Grove performance of Tomasson’s 7 for Eight, beginning with Joan Boada’s’s solo to the end of the ballet


Balanchine’s Symphony in C from on high at SFB’s 2011 Stern Grove performance


  SFB’s 2010 Stern Grove performance featuring Tomasson’s Prism, the daredevil dancing of Vitor Luiz & Lorena Feijoo in Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote pas de deux (it’s ok to scream at 1:07-everyone there did!), Wheeldon’s iconic and lyrical After the Rain interpreted by the incomparable Yuan Yuan Tan & Damian Smith (1:44), and Morris’ bright green and amusing Sandpaper Ballet 


For the rest of Stern Grove’s 2012 *Free* Summer Concert Series, go here.


See You at the Ballet!


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San Francisco Ballet Fans: RAkU Composer Shinji Eshima and Principal Dancer Pascal Molat to Participate in San Francisco Zen Center’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, ‘A Concert for Peace’, June 4, 2012

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(Enjoy the slideshow above.)

If this sound byte is hauntingly familiar to you, causes your tear ducts to go into overdrive, and you are not of the Buddhist faith, one can safely assume you prescribe to my religion: you are a SFBalletomane. This centuries old Buddhist chant, the ‘Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo’, roughly translating to “We are here to listen to your suffering and we chant for your well being”, happens to also be an excerpt from Shinji Eshima’s powerful RAkU score-the chanting in the audio clip above provided by monks from the San Francisco Zen Center and accompanied by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, conducted by SF Ballet Music Director and Principal Conductor, Martin West. 

Pascal Molat in Possokhov’s RAkU composed by Shinji Eshima; Photo © Erik Tomasson

Shinji Eshima, RAkU’s composer, commissioned by San Francisco Ballet’s Choreographer in Residence, Yuri Possokhov, is a grandson of one of the first female Buddhist monks in the U.S, so it isn’t any wonder that his luscious RAkU score is empowered by the chanting of the San Francisco Zen Center’s monks, who also chanted live from the orchestra pit of the War Memorial Opera House during the 2011 and 2012 performances of his ground-breaking ballet music. 

Composer Shinji Eshima from SFZC’s blog

The Eshima/SF Zen Center bond strengthens tomorrow night when Mr. Eshima will be contributing his considerable talent to the San Francisco Zen Center’s 50th Anniversary event: ‘A Concert for Peace’, an evening of music, dance, and poetry. In addition to mezzo soprano Sally Munro premiering a new piece of Eshima’s, the event will also feature a new Peace Bell created by famed sculptor Al Farrow from bullets and artillery and “played” in a dance performance by none other than Pascal Molat, San Francisco Ballet’s Principal Dancer who danced the role of the ‘Monk’ in RAkU. There also will be Butoh by Judith Kajiwara, and a story dance by Brenda Wong Aoki and her Emmy-award winning husband Mark Izu. Chihiro Fukuda will play the great Bach Chaccone and the concert will conclude with Jose Granero playing the sublime Mozart Clarinet Quintet.

San Francisco Zen Center Monks with composer Shinji Eshima at San Francisco Ballet’s ‘RAkU’ in 2011

Oh…and there will be chanting by the monks of the SF Zen Center.

 For tickets, full programming, and other deets to this event, go here 

All proceeds will benefit the SF Zen Center and her sister temple in Japan, Shinryu-in Temple, damaged by the big tsunami/earthquake.

One of the San Francisco Zen Center’s students, Tova Green, first met Shinji Eshima when she was asked to chant at the San Francisco Ballet’s performances of RAkU and here is her interview with the expressive composer.


SF Ballet in Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU, featuring Yuan Yuan Tan & Damian Smith; music by Shinji Eshima


  San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer Yuan Yuan Tan on Eshima/Possokhov’s RAkU. Note that Pascal Molat dances the role of the monk beginning at the :40 marker. 


A conversation with RAkU composer Shinji Eshima, double-bassist of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra for 29 years, on his collaboration with choreographer Yuri Possokhov, courtesy of San Francisco Ballet.

For Odette’s 2011 review and slideshow of the Yuri Possokhov ballet RakU, featuring Shinji Eshima’s score of the same name, go here.

This is a terrific opportunity to enjoy ‘top drawer’ artists of multiple genres, while feeling good about donating to a worthy cause.

Hope to see you there! 

(And for those of you not following me on FaceBook or Twitter, you’re missing all the latest ‘Dancer Doings’! Check the right hand side bar for the latest>>>>>>>>)


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