For the 25 years I have lived in or near San Francisco, I have been shamefully oblivious of the arts. You will find me on the trails of Mt. Tam and Pt. Reyes a thousand times for every visit to one of the trove of beauties in our city on the bay. I know, I know. It’s bad. So when I was asked to write all the materials for the San Francisco Ballet 2015 Campaign, it began from a place of pure ignorance. (A fertile place for some of my best writing, I have found.)

After many hours of interviews with principal dancers, board members, leadership folks and of course, the remarkable Helgi Tomasson, I found myself a newly ardent member of the devoted people who love this world renowned dance company.

I found out this is an art form that calls us to remember what deep inside we already know: transcendence is possible, and while such feats of grace and power may be within reach of only the very few, they embody for all of us the longed-for possibility of a life of freedom and beauty.

These days, you’ll find me at the Opera House at least a few times every season, clutching a program in a damp hand, jaw slack and  heart full. It’s too good. And the trail can wait. If you haven’t been, go. And either way, write these people a check. We need this kind of beauty in the world.

Excerpted from large-format brochure of 20 plus pages


San Francisco Ballet is an invitation to step away from ordinary time and into the realm of the timeless. The curtain rises, the barrier between audience and stage – between the mundane and the sublime – falls away, and the tumult of everyday life disappears.

It is something we all long for, this experience of being lifted out of our daily cares, and set down in a place where we are one with what is most good and fine about being human.

Ballet calls to us to remember what deep inside us we already know: that boundaries can become passages, that transcendence is possible and although such feats of grace and power may be within reach of only the very few, they embody for every one of us the chance to live in freedom and in beauty.

The shared experience of the audience and the dancers offers us the greatest solace of any art form, which is to pierce our separateness, to show us that in this business of being human, we are not alone. Music, movement, and the body become one. And the power of Helgi Tomasson’s vision to evolve dance as the living thing it surely is continues to propel us ever higher.

You’re holding in your hands invitation to be a part of our story. It’s your story too. Join us.

Call to action

Dear Friend of the San Francisco Ballet,

We believe that in a world moving ever faster, and immersed in the necessary but limiting dimension of the intellect, the arts are an essential reminder of what it truly means to be human. Dance in particular melds the beauty of music, movement, and emotion, giving audiences a refuge from the ordinary and from all that must be accomplished in everyday life.

Ballet reminds us that we are creatures who carry within us not only the ability for extraordinary achievement, but the capacity for transcendence and freedom. We believe these things are relevant not only as a source of delight, but also for the elevation of humanity in order to evolve our insight, our sense of connection, and our capacity for joy.

We need your help to create the financial foundation that enables us to continue this important work. A strong endowment allows us to put our attention to creating art, training students, and taking our place as one of the best ballet companies in the world.

Please join us so that we can continue to provide the vital offering San Francisco Ballet brings to our community, and the world.

In gratitude,

Helgi Tomasson

Artistic Director

Artistic Vision, the Company and the School

In 17th century France, people called the ballet “Le Mervieuilleux”, a phenomena that was seen as marvelous, extraordinary and supernatural, a realm inhabited by sylphide beings who were made of, and borne aloft by, pure air, on a stage and in a sphere where anything could happen.

Helgi Tomasson came to San Francisco in 1985, carrying with him a global vision for the respected regional dance company he came to lead. Today, San Francisco Ballet is one of the world’s greatest ballet companies, uniquely adept at performing both the most challenging contemporary works and an enduringly beloved classical repertory. He also realized the fundamental importance of a world class School to the Ballet. Today, our renowned program attracts the best students in the world, fills our Company with extraordinary dancers, and is a testament to his vision.

San Francisco Ballet is widely considered a company of extraordinary dancers, men and women whose devotion to their art evokes that magical realm of the heavens and embodies the transcendence of the sylphs. The Company is an assemblage of artists chosen for their remarkable abilities rather than their fit to a pre-defined physical template. Our dancers vary widely in ethnicity, body type, height, and background, and yet, in a kind of alchemy, they exhibit a powerful shared essence that sets us apart from many companies and is an apt mirror to our diverse Bay Area community.

Katita Waldo has been with the Company for 27 years. As a child in Spain, she was introduced to dance at the age of 6. The moment she hit the stage would define the trajectory of her life: training at the San Francisco Ballet School as a teenager, moving on to become an iconic principle dancer, a teacher at the School, and then a choreographer’s assistant. She danced for 22 years here before becoming a ballet master, a role she still holds today.

Katita believes the unique culture here allows our dancers to take risks on stage that translate into the astonishing performances our Company is known for. It is her family, her passion, her life.