Recently engaged couple Josh Elkes and Rachel Happ have a unique connection to SF Ballet—their first date was at an SF Ballet performance. They share the surprising ways the Ballet has affected both their personal and professional lives.
What’s an interesting fact about you?
Rachel: People who know me for running my nonprofit are surprised to find out I have a full-time job at Google, and vice versa.
Josh: I was a jazz guitar major in college and sing and write music, which surprises people. I spent several years playing shows around New York City before moving to San Francisco.
Tell us about your first date!
Rachel: Our first date was at the Ballet’s Stern Grove performance. Josh met me there after running the SF Marathon and didn’t even know it was a date. The day concluded with several hours of walking and talking and a romantic sushi dinner in Pacific Heights, and we’ve been together ever since.
And didn’t you meet someone else special through your involvement with SF Ballet?
Rachel: Josh met his current business partner, Eric Doversberger, and our new friend and filmmaker Maria Fortiz-Morse at the pre-Gala cocktail party last year. Eric and Josh started a software company (Harbour) together shortly after meeting at the event. They now work together every day.
Rachel, can you tell us about your nonprofit?
Rachel: The Cashmere Foundation incorporates spa elements into traditional healthcare services to comfort patients who are on the road to recovery. Like SF Ballet, we focus on bringing life-changing, world-class experiences to our audiences. In order to accomplish this goal, a significant amount of focus needs to be placed on design, beauty, and how your work makes your audience feel.
Why do you subscribe?
Josh + Rachel: We subscribe because we believe it’s vital to support talented people. The caliber of talent at SF Ballet is truly astounding.
Do you always attend as a pair?
Josh: Yes! It’s our date night.
Any favorite spots near the Opera House?
Josh: The Riddler, Little Gem, and Salt & Straw. Those cover the essentials: Champagne, gluten-free dinner, and ice cream.
Are there any trends you’ve noticed as an audience member?
Rachel + Josh: We’ve noticed that audiences have become more interested in contemporary pieces, especially since the Unbound premieres. It’s gratifying to see SF Ballet leading the charge into this new era of works, while maintaining the integrity of classic repertoire.
Who is your favorite choreographer, and why?
Rachel + Josh: Justin Peck. He selects such beautiful pieces of music and pairs these compositions with unique, yet natural choreography.
What experiences have given you the most insight into ballet?
Rachel: As donors, we’re invited to attend behind-the-scenes studio rehearsals. They’ve been incredible opportunities to learn more about what goes into making a ballet come together and have given us a whole new level of admiration for the athleticism that is required to be a part of SF Ballet.