Need something to listen to on your way to the theater? Join Jennie Scholick, PhD as she hosts To the Pointe, for an in-depth but light-hearted exploration of an upcoming performance. Learn what to look for, what’s important, and what you need to know to get the most out of your experience.
To The Pointe: Swan Lake
Swan Lake may be the most iconic ballet in history. But despite its success today, the creation of Swan Lake in 19th-century Russia was far from smooth-sailing. For one, Tchaikovsky bristled at the idea of being labeled a “ballet specialist” like Ludwig Minkus, who would compose bars of music to spec: 8 bars of “happy” music for an entrance, or 16 bars of “dramatic” music for a finale, depending on the choreographer’s needs. Plus, the premiere of the ballet in Moscow was deemed a critical failure. Among all the challenges associated with its debut, how did this ballet find its wings and soar to success?
To The Pointe: Romeo & Juliet
Ah, yes: star-crossed lovers, show-stopping swordsmanship, and a tragic ending for the ages. On the surface, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet seems like a natural and easy fit for the balletic stage. But the conception of this now-classic ballet, which has only been around for about 80 years, came with a host of challenges for its composer, Sergei Prokofiev. In this episode of To The Pointe, learn about the USSR’s influence on the original ballet and how it’s morphed over time, landing at SF Ballet in 1994 when Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson put his own spin on the classic love story.
To The Pointe: Program 05
All You Need to Know About Program 05 Before You Watch
Program 05 includes three ballets made expressly for San Francisco Ballet dancers: Helgi Tomasson’s 7 for Eight, Cathy Marston’s Snowblind, and David Dawson’s Anima Animus. In this episode of To The Pointe, learn about the job of a principal choreographer, hear from Cathy Marston and Principal Dancer Sarah Van Patten in their own words about creating Zeena in Snowblind, and discover more about the gender role play on display in Dawson’s Anima Animus.
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Header Photo: San Francisco Ballet in Marston’s Snowblind // © Erik Tomasson
To The Pointe: Jewels
George Balanchine's Jewels comprises three ballets—Rubies, Emeralds, and Diamonds—that evoke the styles and moods of the United States, France, and Russia, respectively. Get to know a bit about Jewels, its creation in 1967, and what to look for in each ballet before this dazzling classic hits the screen on April 1 during SF Ballet's 2021 Digital Season.
To the Pointe: Program 03
Get a quick overview of the three ballets that make up Program 03: Ratmansky’s Symphony #9, Danielle Rowe’s Wooden Dimes, and Yuri Possokhov’s Swimmer.
To The Pointe: 2021 Digital Season Overview
All You Need to Know About the 2021 Digital Season Before You Watch!
If To The Pointe is like a mini audio program note, this episode is like a mini-mini program note. Get a quick overview of the entire 2021 Season, and hear from choreographer Danielle Rowe and Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson in their own words about their works. Tune in to later episodes for deeper dives into each program!
Check out the 2021 season
Header Image: Sarah Van Patten in Rowe’s Wooden Dimes // © Lindsay Gauthier
Very entertaining and informative
Fix season 1- can’t play
I found this podcast because I wanted to learn more about ballet (coming from very little background knowledge ). I really enjoyed the season 2 episodes , but I wish I could listen to season 1 (it won’t play or download). Please fix this issue!
Terrific introduction to ballets and choreographers.