SF Ballet is preparing to perform at Stern Grove this Sunday! For me, performing at Stern Grove is valuable in many ways, for both the company and the community. It’s the first performance of the new season for SF Ballet, and it’s free to the public, drawing an enormous crowd which is perhaps the largest audience most dancers ever experience performing for.
Being a free performance, it gives the general SF community the chance to witness world-class ballet at its finest, while giving the company an opportunity to introduce a broader audience. At the same time, it hopefully breaks down the clichés of ballet and its reputation as only for the privileged or older generation.
San Francisco is a community of artistic richness, creativity, and innovation. And when performing in the park on an outdoor stage, with the audience spread out on a sea of picnic blankets, you have a unique sense of closeness to the them which you may not get in a theater, separated by an orchestra pit and dimmed lights.
Each year after performing at Stern Grove, I leave feeling more rewarded than accomplished. More than just hoping for a good show, I’ve had a good time as well. Being out in a familiar environment alerts the senses, not to mention the monstrously beautiful Eucalyptus trees that surround the stage.
This year I am dancing Edwaard Liang’s Distant Cries with Yuan Yuan Tan–one of my favorite pas de deux’s and partners. The ballet is busy with many steps, leaving Yuan Yuan and I less time to think and more time to surrender and allow the dance to guide us through.
I’ve had a terrific summer so far. I was in Istanbul in May visiting my mother-in-law Irene Kaino and had a wonderful time. Not only was the food incredible, but I found the city to be visually stunning and romantic. A mix of old world and new. This summer I also danced in Cabo, Mexico which felt a little surreal: you’d be lying on the beach one minute and the next you’d be in a theater wearing tights getting ready to perform. Not that I’m complaining!
I am looking forward to a fun day in the park with you all.