Giselle: Introducing The Latest (Canine) Company Members


Last year there was the Don Quixote donkey. This season, our production of Giselle (January 25 through February 2) features another special appearance by non-human stars: making their SF Ballet stage debut, we welcome dogs Roman and Genesis!

Look out for these three year-old twin Borzois (also known as Russian wolfhounds) being led onstage by a dancer in Act I of Giselle—they accompany the hunting party of noblemen who visit Giselle’s village and spark a tragic chain of events. Bred as hunting or “coursing” dogs, Borzois were popular with the Russian aristocracy for their graceful appearance and speed. We snapped them before rehearsal, meeting co-star Dores André and making the Opera House their home…


Roman meets Dores

Roman meets Dores

Exploring the stage with owner Daniel

Exploring the stage with owner Daniel Alm of Wolfendans Borzoi


Taking a pre-rehearsal break

Taking a pre-rehearsal break with owner #2, Minh

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  1. avatar David
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    If your lucky (or unlucky) you might see a bit of unscripted performance by these dogs, as the crowd saw on Tuesday night!

  2. avatar Poppy
    Posted January 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to these Borzoi I had one of the biggest laughs of the year along with the entire Opera house. Whether it was dominance or sex will never be known. One mounted the other and hanged on for dear life as the ballerina looked stunned and the conductor stopped the orchestra.
    It must have been a full minute before someone dragged the embracing pair off of the stage. There would be more period authenticity if the dogs were handled by a handler, certainly no court member would be in charge of the hunting dogs. Please someone produce the video!

  3. avatar superwomen
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 9:14 am | Permalink


  4. avatar Jane
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Tuesday night, Giselle, Act I. Priceless. Never did I expect to see mating dogs onstage at the SF Ballet. The company handled themselves admirably, staying in character despite the audience’s laughing uproariously. Unforgettable in may ways. If only we still had Herb Caen and his column….

  5. avatar Barbara
    Posted January 30, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I loved seeing the Borzios when they came trotting out on stage. Such a beautiful breed. Their impromptu performance caused my mouth to drop open in disbelief, but I was soon laughing along with the rest of the Opera House. The orchestra members must have been wondering what was going on; most of them can’t see the stage. We all applauded as one of the actors walked the dogs off stage, still in their “embrace.” Having had a hard day, it was great to laugh, and see a beautifully danced “Giselle.”

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