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The SF Ballet is Back, and It’s Glorious  

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All Images: San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Nutcracker // © Erik Tomasson.  Ballerinas: Carmela Mayo, Leili Rackow, Pemberley Ann Olson,
 Thamires Chuvas.

There was a strong tingle of anticipation in the War Memorial Opera House on opening night. After two years without the pitter patter of ballerinas, without twirling tutus, and rippling Russian violins, The San Francisco Ballet was back performing live, and the excitement was palpable.

San Francisco Ballet San Francisco Ballet School Students.

The Nutcracker is not just special because of its iconic music and holiday tradition, it’s special because it uses every dancer in the company, including the ballet school.  There are parts for every age group young and old, and for every difficulty level in the production. So every year, everyone gets involved.  It’s a tradition that literally brings generations together during the holidays both on stage and in the audience.

When I was young I would go to see my sisters perform the nutcracker, now that I’m old, my friend’s daughters dawn the gowns and toe point to the same tunes.

Tiit Helimets

So after such a long hiatus from live performances, I was excited to see San Franciscans back at the ballet, and this production of The Nutcracker really is fantastic.  The orchestra played so passionately it was like we were being reintroduced to Tchaikovsky’s romantic, surreal, and beautiful score for the first time since childhood.

Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Ballerinas shown; Blake Johnsto,n Ludmila Bizalion, Maggie Weirich.

The set designs by Michael Yeargan were massive and magical, when the Christmas tree rose out of the stage and towered over us, my date and I both got goosebumps, and when the lights went down low and the mouse king appeared, we gripped our armrests and sat transfixed.

The costume designs by Martin Pakledinaz this year are fantastic.

When the toy soldiers and mouse army began to fight, and the Russian score quickened like a Bolshevik stampede, I felt like a little kid again, it seemed as if I really was watching a child’s dream.

Later, when the snow began to fall from the ceiling, well, it felt like it was really snowing on stage.

There are few sights in the world more beautiful than world-class ballerinas in their frilly whites, gliding through the snow, to harmonious woodwinds and audible gasps from a live audience.

Photo by Tyla Steinbach, SF Ballet School students, SF Ballet, Hansuke Yamamoto. @SFBallet

The San Francisco Ballet is back, it’s glorious, and we are all better for it.


Tickets start at just $19. The Nutcracker runs DECEMBER 10–30, 2021.

Tickets & Schedule Here.


All Images: San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson’s Nutcracker // © Erik Tomasson

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

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