The Life of the Party: Damian Smith and Shannon Marie Rugani host SF Ballet’s LGBT Nite Out starting this Friday


At San Francisco Ballet, we love our hometown and celebrate the beauty and diversity of the City by the Bay. Our city’s LGBT* community is an integral part of our city’s history and culture, and SF Ballet is committed to honoring, respecting, and celebrating (special emphasis on celebrating!) the Bay Area gay community through our annual LGBT Nite Out series, which kicks off this Friday night with Helgi Tomasson’s lavish production of Giselle.

Come join us at Nite Out! Center: San Francisco Ballet in Robbins' Glass Pieces (© Erik Tomasson) Party pics © Carson Lancaster.

Come join us at Nite Out! Center: San Francisco Ballet in Robbins’ Glass Pieces (© Erik Tomasson) Party pics © Carson Lancaster.

For over ten years, Nite Out has offered the LGBT community the unique opportunity to experience world-class performances by SF Ballet, followed by festive post-performance parties in the Dress Circle bar, with complimentary cocktails, light bites, and a live DJ.

Nite Out patrons also enjoy the rare opportunity to meet our dancers in a relaxed, social atmosphere. Longtime Nite Out attendees have forged ongoing friendships with many of our dancers, who enjoy the chance to meet and socialize with our loyal LGBT audience members. Of course, everyone is invited to Nite Out, not just those in the LGBT community—this is San Francisco after all!

This season, two of our Company dancers are serving as official Nite Out hosts: Principal Dancer Damian Smith and Corps de Ballet dancer Shannon Marie Rugani.

Shannon Marie Rugani in Tomasson's Nutcracker. (© Erik Tomasson)

Shannon Marie Rugani in Tomasson’s Nutcracker. (© Erik Tomasson)

Shannon—who many may recognize as our “Nutcracker poster girl”—has been a “regular” on the Nite Out scene for many years, and says, “I am honored to be hosting Nite Out with the one and only Damian Smith. I have always enjoyed Nite Out, because it’s a great way to meet fabulous and interesting people. I am so happy to be able to support the LGBT community. It is one of the few times that the dancers get to interact with the audience. The setting is so glamorous and elegant, and it is one of the rare instances when you can be in the Opera House after hours! Not to mention being surrounded by the city’s most fabulous people!”

Damian Smith in Jenkins' Thread (© Erik Tomasson)

Damian Smith in Jenkins’ Thread (© Erik Tomasson)

As many in our audiences may know, this is Damian’s last season as a dancer with SF Ballet, so we hope you’ll join us at Nite Out, as we celebrate Damian’s thrilling 18-year career with the Company. Damian says, “Being asked to host Nite Out this season was an exciting opportunity, a chance to break down barriers between viewer and performer, allowing each a unique opportunity to share their own perspective and appreciation for dance. I’m curious to hear about our audience’s views and sharing in their experience at SF Ballet.”

We hope you’ll join us for a joyous celebration of our LGBT community starting this Friday night, and also for our upcoming Nite Out events in April and May. Tickets are going fast, and you can save by subscribing now. See you at Nite Out this Friday!

*Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender

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  1. avatar Lewis W. Heniford
    Posted July 31, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    My wife is in hospice and may die anytime. Her family wants to cite in her obituary an address for those who might care to donate to the SF Ballet Nutcracker tickets for LBGT youth to attend.

  2. avatar Open Studio 455
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful inclusion to list SF Ballet’s Children’s Enchantment Fund as a way to memorialize your wife. This is a very considerate and a lovely way to honor her legacy. Please contact Elizabeth Lani ( to discuss details.

    I wanted to clarify, that San Francisco Ballet partners with Community Access Ticket Service, as they are the agency that identifies families with socio-economic needs in order to distribute free tickets to Nutcracker. SF Ballet does not collect information on whether or not the families that participate in CHEF are LGBT. Given that Community Access Ticket Service works with over 400 Bay Area social service agencies to identify families in need, they may have this data, but it is unlikely that we could promise that funds received for CHEF are only serving LGBT youth. We hope you will consider going forward with your plans, but please be aware of how the program works, so that we may best honor your wishes.

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