Three World Premieres for the 2021 Season of the San Francisco Ballet

The 2021 Season of the San Francisco Ballet includes three world premiere works on film by Danielle Rowe and Myles Thatcher, as well as Mrs. Robinson by Cathy Marston, which was originally programmed for the 2020 Season. Myles Thatcher’s premiere appears on Program 2 (February 11– March 3) and is set to Steve Reich’s Variations for Vibes, Pianos, and Strings. The ballet will be filmed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the War Memorial Opera House with direction by Ezra Hurwitz, costume design by Susan Roemer, and lighting design by Jim French.  About the changing landscape of dance, Thatcher says, “As a choreographer, I’m constantly evaluating how we can do better to invite more people, voices, and communities into the world of ballet. There’s no doubt that these unprecedented times are pushing artists to conceive, create, and connect with our audiences in a way we’ve never had to before. We may not be able to access the physical spaces that hold our art form, but we are discovering that these might not need to be the only spaces we inhabit. This is what intrigues me the most: the opportunity to invite people into our world in a new way and, perhaps, reach those who might not have been able to access these physical spaces, to begin with.” 

Danielle Rowe’s Wooden Dimes appears in Program 3 (March 4–24). Set in the roaring 1920s, Wooden Dimes will be a highly stylized film that follows a couple who develop a simple love that becomes jeopardized as one of them soars to stardom. “There are many parallels between building a piece for the stage and creating a film,” says Rowe. “What I love about film is that we can amplify and finesse in ways that we can’t on stage, directing the audience’s eye in a much more specific way, enriching an already established atmosphere, providing varying perspectives—the possibilities are vast. I welcome the opportunity to explore this beautiful medium and to pivot my first main stage piece for the San Francisco Ballet into a dance film.” Wooden Dimes includes an original composition by James M. Stephenson, costume design by Emma Kingsbury, lighting design by Jim French, and film direction by Rowe, with a director of photography to be announced.  

In addition, Cathy Marston’s Mrs. Robinson premieres after its postponed debut in the 2020 Season. Mrs. Robinson will premiere on Program 5 (April 22–May 12) in a multi-camera capture filmed on stage at the War Memorial Opera House with a promotional short film captured at the iconic San Francisco Fairmont Hotel’s Tony Bennett Suite. “Back in March 2020, I landed at the San Francisco airport; it was with quiet excitement about the fortnight ahead that I thought about the final touches I would soon add to my ballet, Mrs. Robinson. Little did I know that only a few days later I’d be heading back home to Europe, for what has now become months of uncertainty as the world faces the challenge of the pandemic,” says Marston, whose ballet is inspired by the story of The Graduate from the perspective of her titular character. “Throughout the period of lockdown, the dancers and I have kept in touch. Ultimately, this period of enforced separation—from those we love and what we love—will make our art even brighter, deeper, and stronger when we return.”