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San Francisco Ballet launches talent incubator Creation House

Mere Mortals artistic team residency. Photo by Grady Brannan Photography, courtesy of San Francisco Ballet.
Mere Mortals artistic team residency. Photo by Grady Brannan Photography, courtesy of San Francisco Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) has launched Creation House, a new multifaceted initiative offering SF Ballet company members, SF Ballet School students, and guest artists an expansive portfolio of career-enhancing creative opportunities with a focus on choreography and new work development. The initiative’s four strands — Choreographic Residencies, the Choreographic Exchange and Physical Play workshops, ChoreoLabs, and the SF Ballet School Choreographic Program — will provide space and time for creative exploration and mentorship within the company, expanding upon SF Ballet’s longstanding commitment to fostering innovation and new works, nurturing rising choreographic talent, and celebrating collaboration within the artistic communities of San Francisco and beyond.

Devised and directed by Artistic Director Tamara Rojo and Associate Artistic Director Kerry Nicholls, the Creation House program will join a suite of new professional development initiatives that reflect SF Ballet’s expanded dedication to holistically supporting the careers of dancers within the school and the company. These will include opportunities for dancers to participate in a two-year leadership training program, learn additional roles outside of their mainstage casting, and participate in wellness sessions with external health and wellbeing practitioners. SF Ballet’s professional development programs, including Creation House, are designed to invite collaborative partnerships from across the Bay Area and around the globe.

“Through the launch of Creation House, SF Ballet will provide both company members and the renowned international choreographers who visit us the opportunities and resources they need to create bold new work with confidence,” Rojo said. “In my first year as Artistic Director, a core priority has been to expand the resources we offer to our dancers. Taking part in new work development and having access to the choreographic process is invaluable experience for dance artists, and by offering this opportunity to our company members, we will also help SF Ballet identify and invest in the innovative new voices that will further our art form.”

On July 13, Creation House hosted its first Choreographic Exchange session led by Arielle Smith, a visiting choreographer from London who has been commissioned to develop a reimagined Carmen for SF Ballet’s 2024 Season. Smith will lead an informal, intimate and inquiry-based session for SF Ballet dancers with an interest in choreography, offering perspective into the artist’s creative process and her personal journey as a maker. Creation House and other professional development activities will continue to roll out this summer and across the 2024 Season.

The launch of Creation House also marks an expansion of SF Ballet’s engagement with the local dance community, particularly through a new partnership with ODC/Dance. SF Ballet will co-present ODC’s State of Play Festival and invite ODC artists to participate in upcoming Creation House programs.

“SF Ballet’s new professional development efforts are a commitment to a 360-degree wellness approach for our dancers — not just physical wellbeing, but their mental, professional and artistic wellbeing as well,” added Nicholls. “What’s more, this initiative will open up SF Ballet to the vibrant artistic and professional resources that San Francisco holds. We’re excited to invite new community partners into this ongoing process of learning and development and are greatly enthusiastic to see the results it achieves in the broader dance community as well.”

For more information on San Francisco Ballet’s Creation House, visit www.sfballet.org/discover/creation-house.

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