An Insider’s Guide to Ballet Sun Valley

Thinking of going to San Francisco Ballet’s performances in Sun Valley this summer? Here’s all you need to know to have a wonderful alfresco evening at the ballet.

San Francisco Ballet is bringing two distinct evenings of dance to Sun Valley. The first performance on July 5 is a “gala-style” evening, which means audiences can expect show-stopping dance, with shorter ballets and excerpts from beloved classics. The second performance on July 7 delves a little deeper into recently created choreography, featuring three ballets created for SF Ballet’s Unbound: A Festival of New Works. Think of the first performance as a tasting menu and the second as a three-course meal.

Performances are held at the Sun Valley Pavilion, an outdoor venue surrounded by emerald green lawns with the Rocky Mountains as backdrop. Attending a performance here is a quintessential summer experience—what’s better than a warm night with beautiful ballet and the sounds of an orchestra floating on a summer breeze?

Sun Valley Pavilion // Courtesy of Ballet Sun Valley

Where should you sit? Some people love to be as close to the stage as possible to catch the details of the movement, while others prefer to be further back to see the “bigger picture.” Tickets for the Pavilion’s 1,600 seats are currently available here. You can also purchase $25 lawn tickets (kids under 10 are free!). You can’t see the stage, but you can watch the performance on a giant jumbotron, and you’ll hear the award-winning SF Ballet Orchestra no matter where you sit. 

Lawn seating at the Pavilion // Courtesy of Ballet Sun Valley

Before the show, gather friends, family—and picnic fare. The lawn surrounding the Pavilion is perfect for picnicking, so get there early, spread out a blanket, unpack your favorite gourmet delicacies, and celebrate summer! Don’t feel like shopping? You can also pre-order a picnic and settle in for a wonderful evening outdoors.

Picnicking at Sun Valley Pavilion // Courtesy of Ballet Sun Valley

Ballet Sun Valley extends beyond the performances at the Pavilion. Three days of free classes for a select group of aspiring young dancers in Sun Valley will be taught by SF Ballet Dancers Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets, and Kimberly Marie Olivier; Ballet Master Tina LeBlanc; SF Ballet School Faculty member Dana Genshaft; and choreographer Danielle Rowe.  

Students in Ballet Sun Valley's Education program // Courtesy of Ballet Sun Valley

Want to learn more about dance without donning ballet slippers? The Community Library hosts two free events the morning of July 6. In the Lecture Hall, Helgi Tomasson will share stories from his distinguished career as a dancer and his 34 years as artistic director and principal choreographer of SF Ballet. In the Children’s Library, Principal Dancer Sasha De Sola will read the bilingual children’s book On Tiptoes/De Puntitas, which tells the story of her dance journey and how it helped her overcome shyness.

Insider tip: If you’re coming from out of town and need a place to stay, Ballet Sun Valley has recommendations.

 

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