10 Facts To Impress Your Date to Swan Lake (Even if it’s Your Mom) 

Updated: Apr 30, 2022 11:11
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San Francisco Ballet backstage during a performance of Tomasson’s Swan Lake // © Erik Tomasson

We at BAS are giving away multiple pairs of tickets (excellent seats too) for BAS Readers to see the SF Ballet production of Swan Lake!  Why? Because you’re young, broke, beautiful and we could all use more arts and culture in our lives! Whether you’re into Olympic level athletes moving their stunning physiques in incredibly impressive ways, or you’re simply into bird-watching, there is something for you here.

If you don’t know what to expect, think Natalie Portman in Black Swan with tons of drama, stunning dancing, and gorgeous music in Helgi Tomasson’s 2009 production of Swan Lake, making it one of SF Ballet’s most popular productions of all time. 

You can watch Swan Lake’s trailer here.

Enter to win tix to Swan Lake right here



  1. There will be Swan corps of 30 dancers! These dancers have to move and “breathe” as one in a marathon of ballet where the dancers have to remain in sync from start to finish!
  2. In 1940, San Francisco Ballet became the first American company to stage a complete production of the iconic ballet.
  3. The plot is of the young Princess Odette taking a walk alone by a lake when an evil sorcerer transforms her into a swan. It’s a tragic love story, with a Tchaikovsky score, swans, swans and more swans — that is guaranteed to pull at your heart strings. The dual role of Odette (innocent and sweet, the white swan) and Odile (malevolent, manipulative) is typically performed by one dancer. Some avant garde productions use two dancers for the two swans.
  4. Swan Lake has inspired many cultural spin-offs, from Black Swan with Natalie Portman (as an aside, her husband, Benjamin Millepied, is a choreographer with whom we work occasionally) to the 2003 film Barbie of Swan Lake.
  5. Here are two behind-the-scenes videos where you can learn more about the costumes, headpieces, and makeup: one and two.
  6. The score by Tchaikovsky is iconic, and the Grammy Award-winning SF Ballet Orchestra will perform live at each show! The score includes three violin solos, all “treasures of the violin repertoire,” per SF Ballet Orchestra Concertmaster Cordula Merks.
  7. The most iconic moment—the solo that everyone associates with Swan Lake—is performed by the oboe, and appears first at the end of the first act, when Siegfried first pursues the swan. This production marks the close of Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s 37 seasons with SF Ballet. Tomasson, who joined in 1985, created this current version in 2009. His first Swan Lake debuted in 1988.
  8. Swan Lake premiered at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, nearly 122 years ago. One could not predict that it would remain in the repertoire of most prominent ballet companies around the globe to this day!
  9. The run time is 2 hours and 41 minutes with two intermissions. No matter where you sit in the Opera House, there’s a bar nearby, and you can even order ahead and have your drink waiting for you at intermission like a baller. See your options!
  10. The final show date at the SF Ballet is Mother’s Day May 8th 2022, making it a perfect Mother’s Day surprise matinee at 2pm! 

Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets in Tomasson’s Swan Lake // © Erik Tomasson



Friday, April 29, 2022 at 8:00 pm

Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 8:00 pm

Sunday, May 1, 2022 at 2:00 pm

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 7:30 pm

Friday, May 6, 2022 at 8:00 pm

Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 2:00 pm

Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 8:00 pm

Sunday, May 8, 2022 at 2:00 pm 


SF Ballet requires all patrons to wear a face mask to enter the venue. SF Ballet will also require up-to-date vaccination, including booster shots for those eligible, for all attendees 12 and older. Patrons may view SF Ballet’s up-to-date safety policies on the website. 


San Francisco Ballet is one of the world’s leading ballet companies. As a commissioner, collaborator, and presenter, SF Ballet performs locally, nationally, and internationally with the top choreographers, artists, and dancers while proudly celebrating its trailblazing role in dance. Since its founding in 1933 and as the oldest professional ballet company in the United States, the organization has been an innovator in dance and an originator of well-loved cultural traditions, from staging the first American production of Swan Lake to being the first company in the United States to present an annual holiday Nutcracker. In the progressive, innovative spirit of San Francisco, its aim is to share the beauty of classical and contemporary ballet, the joyful, transformative experience of live dance performance by artists working at the highest caliber, and to provide exceptional training opportunities for the next generation of professional dancers in its School. 

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A. Rose

A. Rose

A Rose is a San Francisco native Renaissance Woman: a licensed clinical Hypnotherapist, Private Investigator, Existential humourist, Refined Hustler, and lover of the weird and the wonderful that makes up the San Francisco Bay Area.