San Francisco Ballet Announces 2017-18 Season including Unbound: A Festival of 12 New Works by 12 Notable Choreographers

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The world-class San Francisco Ballet announces its 2017-18 Season and an unprecedented new works festival entitled Unbound: A Festival of New Works of twelve new works by twelve of some of the most compelling choreographers working today. In addition, the Company will offer a series of ancillary festival activities including behind-the-scenes, live-stream programs; a dance film series; and symposia examining the issues critical to ballet in the 21st century.

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This season, I'm especially excited about Unbound, a festival of twelve world premieres by some of the most innovative and forward-thinking choreographers working today.

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has announced its 2017-18 Season program and schedule. This summer, SF Ballet will return to Festival Napa Valley for one performance only on Friday, July 21, 2017, accompanied by members of the SF Ballet Orchestra. In addition, this October, the Company will once again participate in World Ballet Day LIVE, a day-long streaming event (details to be announced).

The 2017-18 Season will continue with Nutcracker, which runs December 13-30, 2017 for a total of 30 performances. Following the Opening Night Gala on Thursday, January 18, 2018, the Repertory Season will consist of ten programs, from January 23 to May 6. The 2018 Repertory Season will culminate with a previously announced festival entitled Unbound: A Festival of New Works, conceived and planned by SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson.

The festival will take place from April 20-May 6, 2018 and will showcase 12 new works by 12 renowned choreographers. Unbound will be comprised of four programs of three ballets each, for a total of 17 performances, which will take the place of Programs 7 and 8 on the Ballet’s 2018 Repertory Season. As part of the festival, SF Ballet will participate in a host of new initiatives designed to showcase the organization’s commitment to moving the art form forward (see the festival section of this announcement for details).

“This season, I’m especially excited about Unbound, a festival of twelve world premieres by some of the most innovative and forward-thinking choreographers working today,” said SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. “This unique festival will offer a glimpse at the future of our art form and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Program 1 opens Tuesday, January 23 with the revival of Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty. Set to a score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, SF Ballet’s production, includes scenic and lighting design by Jens-Jacob Worsaae, with lighting design by Craig Miller. The production, last performed in full by the Company during its 2007 Repertory Season, was called “dazzling” by The New York Times upon its premiere.

Program 2, entitled Bright Fast Cool Blue, opens on Tuesday, February 13 and includes George Balanchine’s Serenade, Benjamin Millepied’s The Chairman Dances, and the SF Ballet premiere of Justin Peck’s Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes.

Program 3, entitled Distinctly SF Ballet, opens on Thursday, February 15 and features Tomasson’s On a Theme of Paganini, Val Caniparoli’s Ibsen’s House, and a work to be determined.

Program 4 opens on Tuesday, March 6 with the encore of Liam Scarlett’s full-length production of Frankenstein. A co-production between SF Ballet and The Royal Ballet, Frankenstein premiered in London in 2016 and was called “lavish” by The New York Times.

The 2017 San Francisco Ballet premiere of Frankenstein was made possible by Lead Sponsors Bently Foundation and The Hellman Family; Costume Sponsor E. L. Wiegand Foundation; and Sponsors Ms. Laura Clifford, Stephanie and James Marver, and an anonymous donor.

Program 5 opens Tuesday, March 20 and is a tribute to legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein and choreographer Jerome Robbins. This program, entitled Robbins: Ballet & Broadway, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of both Bernstein and Robbins and includes four of Robbins’ works: Opus 19/The Dreamer, The Cage, Other Dances, and Fancy Free.

Program 6 opens Tuesday, April 3 with the presentation of guest company The National Ballet of Canada. Canada’s premier dance company will perform John Neumeier’s full-length Nijinsky, hailed as “dynamic, rich and gripping theater” by The Washington Post.

Unbound: A Festival of New Works
SF Ballet has long been known for breaking boundaries in dance. This season, the Company presents Unbound: A Festival of New Works that includes 12 world premieres by 12 international artists including: David Dawson, Alonzo King, Edwaard Liang, Annabelle Ochoa Lopez, Cathy Marston, Trey McIntyre, Justin Peck, Arthur Pita, Dwight Rhoden, Myles Thatcher, Stanton Welch, and Christopher Wheeldon.

The festival will take place from Friday, April 20 to Sunday, May 6, 2018 over four programs of three works each, for a total of 17 performances. The festival schedule is as follows:

Unbound A: April 20, 8pm; April 22, 2pm; April 28, 8pm; May 3, 7:30pm; May 6, 2pm
Unbound B: April 21, 8pm; April 25, 7:30pm; April 29, 2pm; May 4, 8pm
Unbound C: April 24, 7:30pm; April 27, 8pm; May 2, 7:30pm; May 5, 2pm
Unbound D: April 26, 7:30pm; April 28, 2pm; May 1, 7:30pm; May 5, 8pm

Beyond the stage, SF Ballet will host a number of ancillary activities around the festival, with specific dates to be determined. These initiatives include:

•A Series of Live-stream Programs: In the summer and fall of 2017, SF Ballet will take audiences into the Ballet’s studios for a series of behind-the-scenes, live-stream programs that will highlight work by the festival choreographers. These programs will offer viewers an opportunity to meet the choreographers, experience the new works’ development process, and watch a rehearsal excerpt of each new ballet.
•A Dance Film Series: SF Ballet will commission a series of dance films inspired by festival works. The dance films will become the centerpiece of community pop-up events that will introduce audiences to the festival.
•Symposia: SF Ballet will host symposia of artists, academics, and critics who will examine issues critical to ballet in the 21st century.
•Unbound Opening Event: For the opening night celebration of Unbound, SF Ballet will host a one-time-only event featuring: a performance of festival new works, dance films, educational pop-ups, interactive installations, and a dance party.

For more information, visit sfballet.org/unbound.

Unbound Sponsors
San Francisco Ballet gratefully acknowledges the following for their leadership support of Unbound: A Festival of New Works: David and Kelsey Lamond, Mr. and Mrs. John S. Osterweis, Yurie and Carl Pascarella, Denise Littlefield Sobel, Ms. Susan A. Van Wagner, and Miles Archer Woodlief.

Single Tickets
Individual tickets for SF Ballet’s 2018 Repertory Season, starting at $28, will be available online at sfballet.org or by calling 415.865.2000, beginning November 15, 2017.

San Francisco Ballet
San Francisco Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world. For more information, visit sfballet.org.

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Kyra Jablonsky
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