San Francisco Ballet
San Francisco Ballet, the oldest professional ballet company in America, has emerged as a world-class arts organization since it was founded as the San Francisco Opera Ballet in 1933. Initially, its primary purpose was to train dancers to appear in lavish, full-length opera productions. In 1942, the Company became a totally separate entity from the opera and was renamed San Francisco Ballet.
In 1972, after performing in various San Francisco theaters, the Company settled permanently in the War Memorial Opera House for its annual residency. In 1981, Smuin’s The Tempest—the first ballet ever broadcast live from the War Memorial Opera House—was nominated for three Emmy Awards (Willa Kim received the award for Outstanding Costume Design).
The San Francisco Ballet has also enjoyed frequent overseas tours, including engagements at prestigious venues such as the famed Opéra de Paris-Palais Garnier in Paris (1994, 2001); London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre (1999, 2004) and the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden (2002); Athens’ Megaron Theatre (2002); the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles (2003); and the Edinburgh International Festival at the Edinburgh Playhouse (1997, 2003).
The San Francisco Ballet continues to enrich and expand its repertory and presents approximately 100 performances annually. The Company’s vast repertory includes works by Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, August Bournonville, Christopher Bruce, Val Caniparoli, Lew Christensen, Nacho Duato, Flemming Flindt, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, Jirí Kylián, Lar Lubovitch, Wayne McGregor, Agnes de Mille, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Hans van Manen, Peter Martins, Mark Morris, Rudolf Nureyev, Marius Petipa, Roland Petit, Jerome Robbins, Paul Taylor, Antony Tudor, and Christopher Wheeldon.