San Francisco Ballet Pirouettes into 2021 with First Ever Virtual Season and Benefit

San Francisco Ballet jeted into its 88th year and first-ever digital season with its virtual benefit, Leap Into the New Year, on January 14. The sold-out event raised 750,000 to support the ballet company’s artistic initiatives, including new works, accessible digital content, scholarships and financial aid programs for San Francisco Ballet School students, as well as community education programs for youth, families, and seniors.

Helgi Tomasson
Helgi Tomasson // © Erik Tomasson

The evening was hosted by SF Ballet soloist Madison Keesler and featured performances curated by Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. The starring role was a local debut of two of the company’s new principal dancers, Nikisha FogoandJulian MacKay performing the Act III pas de deux from Don Quixote. Event goers also enjoyed an excerpt from a new work by Tomasson created on members of SF Ballet’s corps de ballet, a newly produced prelude to Mrs. Robinson by Cathy Marston featuring principal dancers Sarah Van Patten and Joseph Walsh, plus excerpts from the digital season’s additional world premieres—Wooden Dimes by Danielle Rowe, and a new work by Myles Thatcher.

SF Ballet Orchestra

The event was full-scale with delivered meals, caviar and gifts provided by McCalls Catering & Events and wine provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards. All VIP table guests enjoyed a private, virtual meet-and-greet with a company dancer during the event, and access to a virtual social wall where they shared photography and messages with other benefit-goers. Sunnie Evers, Robert Shaw, Kelly Tweeddale, Carl and Yurie Pascarella and Mimi Haas all attended.

Top event sponsors included Osterweis Capital Management, Frederick and Shelby Gans, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Linnea and George Roberts and Denise Littlefield Sobel.

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Donna Berry Glass

Donna Berry Glass is a freelance writer in Marin County who writes mostly about family and kid-oriented topics. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family exploring the natural beauty of Marin, snuggling with her Cavalier King Charles spaniel while reading a good book or whipping up something delicious in her space-challenged kitchen. Donna is a supporter of the California Academy of Sciences, a world class science museum and research institution, and the Institute on Aging which provides much needed services to seniors and disabled individuals.

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