Post image for Virtual Dance: HELGI TOMASSON’S SWAN LAKE (SF Ballet)

by Jim Allen on May 18, 2021

in Dance,Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area,Virtual

San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) is presenting Helgi Tomasson’s Swan Lake from May 20 to June 9, 2021, closing SF Ballet’s 2021 Digital Season. The archival capture from 2016 stars Principal Dancers Yuan Yuan Tan as Odette-Odile and Tiit Helimets as Prince Siegfried. Swan Lake offers standout roles for the corps of 30 swans and Odette-Odile, whose story is introduced in the prologue. In his 2009 production, Tomasson also notably showcases male dancers in the first act, retains Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov’s original second act, and adds a divertissement in the third.

Scene from Tomasson’s Swan Lake // Photo © Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet presented America’s first full-length production of Swan Lake in 1940, and this production of Swan Lake is Tomasson’s second; the ballet is not only a classic of the repertory, but also an integral part of San Francisco Ballet’s history. It was last seen on stage in the 2017 Repertory Season and will return for live performance in 2022, closing Helgi Tomasson’s farewell season. Single tickets to the digital stream of Swan Lake begin at $29. Casting is available at this link.

Exploring Ballet: Swan Lake takes place live and online Tuesday, May 18, 2021 from 6–7:30 pm PDT, featuring former New York Times chief dance critic Alastair Macaulay in presentation about the history and interpretations of Swan Lake. Macaulay’s talk is followed by Principal Dancer Jennifer Stahl and Soloist Julia Rowe sharing what it takes to bring this iconic ballet to life. Exploring Ballet: Swan Lake is available for $30; donors or subscribers can view the program for a reduced rate or for free.

Pointes of View, a lecture series that takes a deeper dive into performance, will be held online Wednesday, May 26 from 2–2:45 pm PDT, featuring a free, pre-recorded discussion with Helgi Tomasson and Principal Dancers Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets about Tomasson’s production of Swan Lake.

Single Swan Lake streams are on sale now and priced at $29 for 72-hour access. The duo package offering Romeo & Juliet and Swan Lake, priced at $48, is available now. Tickets and packages may be purchased online at For more information, call Ticket Services at 415-865-2000, Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Click here to view digital viewing tips.


Swan Lake
Captured on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. 

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson
Black Swan Pas de Deux and Act II Choreography: after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
Scenery and Costume Design: Jonathan Fensom
Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton
Projection Design: Sven Ortel
Hair, Wig and Make-Up Design: Michael Ward
Assistant to the Choreographer: Lola de Avila
Rehearsal Assistants: Anita Paciotti, Betsy Erickson, Ricardo Bustamante, Felipe Diaz

Conductor: Martin West
Violin: Cordula Merks
Cello: Eric Sung

World Premiere: March 4, 1877—Bolshoi Theatre; Moscow, Russia
Choreography by Julius Reisinger

Petipa-Ivanov Production Premiere: February 8, 1895—Mariinsky Theatre; St. Petersburg, Russia

San Francisco Ballet Premiere: September 27, 1940—War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

Choreography by Willam Christensen

Current San Francisco Ballet Production Premiere: February 21, 2009—War Memorial Opera House; San Francisco, California

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