The theme of the San Francisco Ballet’s 2020 Opening Night Gala and performance was “Spellbound” — inspired by the magical, fairy tale-like elements of its 87th season program, which includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Cinderella.
The gala celebrated Helgi Tomasson’s record-breaking 35th year as artistic director and principal choreographer. The company also welcomed new Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale and principal dancer Vitor Luiz made his final appearance.
Event Designer J. Riccardo Benavides, together with Event Chair Patricia Roberts and Décor Chair Heather Cassidy Martin, transformed City Hall into an elegant and mysterious place, combining fantasy and fairytale.
“’Spellbound’ can suggest so many different things,” said Benavides, “but what spoke to us all was a magical evening walking through an enchanted forest, staring up under a blanket of stars.”
One of the city’s most fashionable and extravagant nights of the year, the SF Ballet opening gala kicks off the winter social season with a multi-part event: a cocktail party, dinner, the ballet performance, and a lively after-party.
This year’s theme prompted the ladies to don fairy-tale frocks — voluminous Cinderella gowns, sparkling mermaid silhouettes, and dreamy woodland-inspired dresses.
More than 3,000 guests attended the opening night performance. The program of eight separate pieces included three world premieres by choreographers Val Caniparoli, Yuri Possokhov, and Myles Thatcher, along with the SF Ballet premiere of David Dawson’sSwan Lake pas de deux.
BACKSTAGE WITH THE DANCERS AND THE AFTER-PARTY
Backstage, the dancers greeted fans, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a longtime supporter of the arts who was in from Washington.
The after-party celebration, with live music by Pop Rocks and students from SF Conservatory of Music, tunes by DJ Chris Clouse, a photo booth by MirMir Photo, and an open bar and late-night bites by McCalls Catering, continued until 1 a.m.
Kudos to this year’s chairs for another fabulous evening: Gala Chair Patricia Dale Roberts, Dinner Chair Freddi Wilkinson, Décor Chair Heather Cassady Martin, and ENCORE! (for the younger set) Chair Gary S. Williams, Jr.