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Nutcracker Announcement - No Live Performances For 2020

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As a proud ballet volunteer, I received an email with the announcement that there will be no live Nutcracker performances this year.  The reason is the San Francisco War memorial and Performing Arts Center has decided to keep its venues closed for public performances through December 31, 2020.

Link on website:  https://www.sfballet.org/nutcracker-announcement/

Message on website:  

San Francisco Ballet regretfully announces there will be no live performances of Nutcracker this year. The Company's decision comes in the wake of continued restrictions posed by COVID-19 pandemic and closure of the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center to audiences through December 31, 2020. This doesn't mean that Nutcracker won't be part of your holidays—with your help, we can imagine other Nutcracker offerings and activities to keep this tradition alive.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that I look forward to each year," says Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. "Even though we will not be able to experience Nutcracker in person this year due to the health crisis, I know San Francisco Ballet will be a part of the Bay Area’s holiday tradition, maybe digitally or through other creative avenues. Perhaps all of this will make our reunion next year all the more special."

Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale says, “San Francisco Ballet experienced a record number of people—over one and a half million—streaming and accessing content as part of the SF Ballet @ Home platform created shortly after the San Francisco shelter-in-place order closed our performance venue. We are exploring options and working with our artists and our digital archives to see what might be possible. Being able to continue the Nutcracker tradition, especially in a digital environment, would be an apt reflection of our community."

San Francisco Ballet presented America's first complete performance of Nutcracker in 1944. And today, SF Ballet's Nutcracker is enjoyed by over 75,000 people each December. Every dancer in the Company dances in it, along with 160 students from SF Ballet School to perform roles as Clara, Fritz, snowflakes, waltzing flowers, mice, and more. "I know it is a great disappointment for the students not to be able to perform in Nutcracker," says SF Ballet School Director Patrick Armand. “It is such a wonderful opportunity for them to perform on stage with the Company, and something that our School families look forward to as part of the holiday celebration each season. At this time we must put their health and well-being as the first priority, but we will look forward to being back together in our beautiful theater when we can.”

Nutcracker is also a herculean undertaking for San Francisco Ballet’s volunteer groups. In 2018, BRAVO (Ballet Resource and Volunteer Association) volunteers logged 4,200 hours of work on Nutcracker—a record for the group, which boasts over 300 members and dates to 1976. BRAVO typically provides support backstage, in the Ballet Shop, at Family Performances, and much more throughout Nutcracker's run.

We invite the public to participate in a survey to share thoughts and ideas on how we can come together and continue the tradition of Nutcracker in our homes and in our community this year. More information regarding plans for digital offerings of Nutcracker and virtual events in December 2020 will be shared as they become available. We encourage you to visit our sfballet.org, sign-up for E-news, and follow us on social media for the latest news.

Please take the survey.  It doesn't take more than 5 minutes.  On a personal note, I am disappointed as this would be my fifth season as a volunteer.  However, I understand why there will be no performances and hope they will be able to proceed with the season planned for 2021.

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Back when SFB was asking for subscriber input about possible Nutcracker performances (and what that might look like), I pitched them an idea that was remarkably similar to this:

"This December, the MCB takes it to the next level with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker in the Park—a completely outdoor experience at Downtown Doral Park. Thirteen performances are scheduled to take place live before a socially-distanced audience of just over 150 people, who will be seated in pods. Video sequences projected onto giant screens will animate the productions, bringing new life to the time-honored holiday classic and giving Isabel and Ruben Toledo’s innovative costumes and vibrant sets a new stage on which to shine."


I'm glad that someone is giving this approach a try.

Edited by pherank
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E-mail from SFB:

Join us for a candid conversation about race and representation

Ballet Book Club returns with a special edition for the Nutcracker season!

This program for the Nutcracker season features a candid conversation based on Phil Chan’s recent book, Final Bow for Yellowface: Dancing Between Intention and Impact. Our discussion explores his chronicles of navigating questions around race, representation, and inclusion raised by the Chinese variation in Nutcracker.

What’s in store?


  • Sign up and we’ll send you a Zoom link the morning of the event at 10am.
  • In advance, pick up a copy of Final Bow for Yellowface at yellowface.org or on Amazon and give it a read!
  • During the event, we’ll host a moderated discussion and author Phil Chan will join to answer questions and share his thoughts.


It's happening on Tuesday, December 1 from 6:30 to 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 each, or $15 if you're a subscriber or a donor. We'll send you a Zoom link the morning of the event at 10am.


Edited by pherank
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Today's announcement from SFB:

Nutcracker Online Starts Today!


Gatherings at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House aren't possible this year, but that doesn't mean you have to miss SF Ballet's annual Nutcracker festivities. And as a donor at the Contributor Level or above, you save 20% on the regular price when you enter promo code DONOR20.


Available November 27  December 31, SF Ballet's fantastical, digital, and interactive Nutcracker Online is the place to be. We've created a virtual opera house for you and your loved ones toexplore. With convenient round-the-clock access, log in for 48 hours and play games, try our character Instagram filters, and watch SF Ballet's Nutcracker video stream in HD. Watch the trailer

Participate in new activities made with you and your family in mind:
  • Flip through historical highlights from years past
  • Download photobooth pictures to post on Instagram
  • Try out some Nutcracker choreography with help from our behind-the-scenes video
  • Check off items on your gift list with a visit to the SF Ballet online Holiday Shop

Nutcracker Online is available any time of day November 27  December 31. Buy and watch now, or buy now and watch later. New Nutcracker holiday memories are waiting to be made.
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