Walk: 1. Opera House (Ballet) 2. No
Distance: 1. 6.5 miles 2. n/a
Two years away and Ciwt had forgotten the thrill of San Francisco Ballet. The music, the choreography, the sheer athletic ability of the dancers - and how stunningly gorgeous and talented each individual dancer is.
Thanks in so many ways to Iceland native Helgi Tomasson.
The Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer arrived 37 years ago with venerated classical dancing talent and set about turning a respected, regional company into the one of the most renowned and respected companies in the world. Having worked a bit with artists, donors, budgets, egos, Ciwt can only imagine how much vision, determination, fortitude, diplomacy, patience and deep sense of the possibilities of ballet this must have called on.
And then there was the pandemic with Tomasson responding by keeping the artistic team whole and finding ways to safely bring the Company and upper levels of the SF Ballet School back to the studios. On top of that, he worked to innovate and completely reconceive ways to bring dance to audiences when they couldn't come in person. The digital season he 'chorographed' was an enormous and greatly appreciated success and extended Tomasson and SF Ballet's reach throughout the international world of ballet.
Oh, and there are the 50 ballets he has choreographed, the new work and festivals he's commissioned and mounted, the visionary and exacting selection of dancing talent (often against oppostion).
This entire SF Ballet season is a celebration of and tribute to Tommason because he will walk off the Opera House stage as director and principal choreographer sometime this summer. Even as he retires his work will continue through the internationally acclaimed ballet school he developed, and his legacy will continue to attract innovative stagers, experimental as well as classical choreographers, and those gorgeous dancers.