Inside the SF Ballet School Summer Session

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Each summer San Francisco Ballet School hosts an intensive summer session designed for serious ballet students from around the world. This year, more than 1,500 students auditioned, with 300 students hailing from as far as Japan, Brazil, China, and New Zealand, ultimately attending. The summer session is divided into intermediate and advanced programs and is designed to improve skills, build strength, and give students a deeper understanding of ballet as an art form, while exploring the demands of a professional career. Students are exposed to our school’s renowned faculty, as well as guest artists from around the globe. Over 160 students attended summer program 1 for intermediate students, and we welcome nearly 150 students to the 4-week program 2 for advanced students, that started July 11.

We sat down with Zoe Lucich (14) and Jasper Stanford (14) for a peek inside Summer Program 1 for Intermediate students through their eyes.

When did you start dancing?
Zoe:
I got started because my mom (former principal dancer and choreographer Julia Adam) was a professional dancer here at SF Ballet. I grew up in the studio alongside my mom while she was choreographing. I immediately loved it. I danced around at home all the time, but didn’t really start training until I was seven when I was enrolled at Marin Ballet where I was until I joined this school year-round.
Jasper: I go to a small studio in my hometown called the San Ramon Valley Dance Academy. I study multiple styles like ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, tap, and even hip hop.

Julia Adam, holding daughter Zoe Lucich, as she choreographs a work for SF Ballet

Julia Adam, holding daughter Zoe Lucich, as she choreographs her work Night for SF Ballet

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Posted in A Dancer's Life, Becoming a Dancer, SF Ballet School| Comments closed

SF Ballet Takes Iceland

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San Francisco Ballet is no stranger to international tours. From 1957-59, we famously embarked on a series of high profile, US State Department-sponsored tours–traveling to Far East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In the ensuing years, we’ve danced on stages in Shanghai, Beijing, London, Moscow, and New York City, to name just a few locations and in 2014, we enjoyed a four-week run at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. This May, we traveled to the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland, the homeland of  our Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson.

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The Company with Helgi Tomasson at the Harpa Concert Hall (© Erik Tomasson)

When packing for a tour, we have to include everything we needed for the studio and the stage, plus all the other essentials you might require for a trip abroad (like adaptors!). Because we knew it would be wet and cold in Reykjavik for the majority of our engagement, we packed warm hats, jackets, and boots (in addition to our pointe shoes of course)! Hydration is  also key when going on tour and Corps de Ballet dancer Rebecca Rhodes shared, “The long flights are hard on your body, so I try to make sure I pack smartly and bring lots of water and healthy snacks on the plane. The hardest part about going on tour is adjusting to the new time zone while still maintaining the ability to perform at your highest level, so keeping my mind and body strong is key.”

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Iceland Tour Diary: Musings on a Northern Paradise

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DAY 1
After a relatively painless flight (it was only around 7 hours), we arrived in Reykjavik early in the morning. The first thing that struck me about Iceland was the incredibly clean, crisp air. The second thing was the lack of congestion. And on the drive from the airport to the hotel, I marveled at the pristine volcanic landscape.

Once we were situated at our hotel, some of us decided to get a lay of the land by journeying to the top of the Hallgrimskirkja church, which afforded us a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. The multicolored rooftops reminded us of little LEGO buildings all spread out in neat geometric patterns. After that, a group of us decided to book a tour to the famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal hot spring known for its healing mineral properties and relaxing atmosphere. The perfect antidote for an overseas plane trip! Not only was the water pristine and blue, but the surrounding scenery was so beautiful that the time got away from us and we ended up staying in the water for 5 hours! It was quite a day!

Dancers at the Blue Lagoon (Photo Courtesy Rebecca Rhodes)

Dancers at the Blue Lagoon (Photo Courtesy Rebecca Rhodes)

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An Iceland Homecoming

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SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson has spent the majority of his professional life in America as a dancer, choreographer, and artistic director, but his life-long passion for ballet began much earlier–in Iceland.

Helgi Tomasson as a young dancer

Helgi Tomasson as a young dancer

Tomasson was born in the southwestern city of Reykjavík, Iceland’s largest city and capital. He began his training at a small local school and later enrolled at an academy associated with the National Theatre of Iceland, under Erik and Lisa Bidsted. Soon after, he began his professional career with Copehagen’s Pantomime Theatre and two years later was discovered by Jerome Robbins, who arranged a scholarship for him to attend the School of American Ballet.

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