Haute Event: The San Francisco Ballet Celebrates 78 Years

The San Francisco Ballet has announced the program and casting for it’s 78th repertory season opening night gala. Held on Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. at the War Memorial Opera House, they presented nine classical and contemporary works.

Prior to the gala, five black-tie fundraising dinners were held at City Hall. All proceeds from the dinners benefit San Francisco’s Ballet’s annual fund. At all five dinners, which had the theme of La Belle Epoque, guests were served food catered by Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, and delicious wine, provided by William Hill Estate Winery. The dinner décor for the evening was created by J. Riccardo Benavides of Ideas.

The City Hall was transformed into an outdoor oasis complete with urns of luscious plants, flowers, and topiaries. While dining in a Versailles-inspired garden, you couldn’t miss the exquisite beauty of the flowing ivy and extravagant centerpieces.

Guests were then treated to William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude; created in 1996 for Ballet Frankfurt, and which hasn’t been performed since 2006. This evening also featured a world premiere of Val Caniparoli’s Double Stop, which is set to the music of Philip Glass. Sarah Van Petten and Tiit Helimets performed the pas de deux both gracefully and elegantly. Dana Genshaft, Courtney Elizabeth, Garen Scribner, and Hansuke Yamamoto performed the Russian Divertissement from Act III of Tomasson’s Swan Lake. Called “striking” by the San Fransisco Chronicle, this was last performed by the company during the 2010 Repertory Season. An excerpt from Renato Zanella’s Alles Walzer also graced the stage since The San Francisco’s Ballet’s 75th anniversary gala in 2008.

The post performance party was held in City Hall from 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. The party, which was decorated in a Moulin Rouge theme, included live entertainment by MVP and DJ Soloman. Refreshments, dancing, and desserts were overflowing with abundance.

The San Francisco Ballet, one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of prestige. Winning awards such as the prestigious Laurence Oliver Award for outstanding achievement in dance in 2005, as well as being the first non-European company elected “Company of the Year: by Dance Europe Magazine’s annual reader’s poll. This Gala helped mark 78 grand years of artistic leadership and dedication.