The Auxiliary Prepares for Student Showcase


San Francisco Ballet School’s Student Showcase, the highly anticipated annual performance given by students, is both a show and a fundraiser. While the evening provides audiences with the rare opportunity to experience a performance by the next generation of ballet professionals, it also helps raise the necessary funds to support important components of the School–from scholarships and student housing–to pointe shoes. 

As co-hosts of the event with the School, the San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary has been hard at work preparing for this year’s performance and dinner which take place on May 25, 26, and 27. We recently sat down with Student Showcase Chair Michelle Gilman Jasen, to see what it takes to put on this extraordinary event.

SF Ballet School in Student Showcase. (© Erik Tomasson)

SF Ballet School in Student Showcase. (© Erik Tomasson)

Why did you join the SF Ballet Auxiliary?  

I am in my third year with the Auxiliary. I joined because I was fortunate enough to have been aligned with the Auxiliary professionally through the Fairmont Hotel and was really impressed with the women and all they do for SF Ballet, as well as for the arts more generally. I wanted to be able to contribute personally, as well as professionally. 

What is your favorite part of being in the Auxiliary?  

I have met an incredible group of women who I find to be really inspiring.

What made you chose to take on the role of event chair for this year’s Invitation to Dance

I was excited by the idea of being able to directly help the students. I am so inspired by their tenacity, dedication, and talent and want to do whatever I can to provide them the opportunity to pursue their passion. I was an athlete growing up and I enjoy watching people strive to be great at something they love so much.

How has being in the Auxiliary and serving in this role contributed to your understanding of ballet?

The best part has been getting to know more about the students, their backgrounds, and their training. It’s been truly inspiring.

The 2016 SF Ballet Auxiliary (© Deborah Taylor Barrera)

The 2016 SF Ballet Auxiliary (© Deborah Taylor Barrera)

What has been the highlight of your planning experience so far?   

The camaraderie among everyone working to make this an incredible event.

What is your biggest goal for the evening?

To assist the students by maximizing the contributions to the SF Ballet School.

Ballet is a creative art form, how do you match that creativity in your fundraising approach? 

One way we’re being creative is to offer a luxury penthouse suite at a hotel in the city, for any contributions of $10K or more during Fund-in-Need (the live auction portion of the event). If contributors choose, they can actually “trade” the penthouse for (10) complimentary room nights that will be given back to SF Ballet, allowing the donor to have the biggest impact possible.

What do you do outside of supporting the Ballet?

I am regional director of sales and marketing for the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts for our West Coast collection of properties. I really enjoy skiing, playing volleyball, supporting UCLA athletics, and keeping up with my sons who are 5 years old and 20 month old. 

Tickets to the SF Ballet School Student Showcase are on sale now!

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