In the Wings of Wheeldon’s Cinderella

In addition to the fairytale characters, Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella is filled with magical creatures, from Spirits of the Seasons who teach Cinderella to dance, to Tree Gnomes and Fates. Photographer Erik Tomasson captured many of the characters backstage, warming up, rehearsing, or just waiting for their cue—offering a close-up, behind-the-scenes at the quirky beauty of this production of Cinderella

WanTing Zhao and Steven Morse as the Spirits of Summer/Generosity backstage during Wheeldon's Cinderella© // © Erik Tomasson
WanTing Zhao and Steven Morse as the Spirits of Summer/Generosity backstage during Wheeldon’s Cinderella // © Erik Tomasson
Backstage during Wheeldon's Cinderella©. (© Erik Tomasson)
One of the Tree Gnomes waiting backstage during Wheeldon’s Cinderella©.
(© Erik Tomasson)
Backstage during Wheeldon's Cinderella©. (© Erik Tomasson)
Looking through the Queen’s collar and tiara during Wheeldon’s Cinderella©.
(© Erik Tomasson)
Dores André backstage during Wheeldon's Cinderella©. (© Erik Tomasson)
Dores André as the Spanish Princess backstage during Wheeldon’s Cinderella©.
(© Erik Tomasson)
San Francisco Ballet in Wheeldon's Cinderella. (© Erik Tomasson)
San Francisco Ballet in Wheeldon’s Cinderella, from the wings.
(© Erik Tomasson)
Backstage during Wheeldon's Cinderella©. (© Erik Tomasson)
SF Ballet performers waiting to go onstage to try on the golden slipper in Wheeldon’s Cinderella©.
(© Erik Tomasson)
Christopher Wheeldon onstage after a performance of Wheeldon's Cinderella©. (© Erik Tomasson)
Christopher Wheeldon onstage after the premiere of his Cinderella in 2013.
(© Erik Tomasson)


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Header image: WanTing Zhao backstage during Wheeldon’s Cinderella. (© Erik Tomasson)

Cinderella © Christopher Wheeldon

Baby, It’s Cold Inside! Making the Nutcracker Snow Scene

SF Ballet’s Nutcracker is known for the sheer amount of snow that falls during the Snow Scene—the final moments are a legitimate blizzard!

The snowflakes are made out of paper and are created by a giant hole puncher. During the performance, three long, narrow bags of 200 pounds of snow are suspended above the stage, hidden from the audience. Each bag is manipulated by two members of the stage crew who make the snow fall. During intermission, the fallen snow is swept and shoveled into large bins. It is sifted through to remove dirt, hairpins, sequins, and other debris and then reused at the next performance.

At intermission, the question on everyone’s lips seems to be: how do the snowflakes dance in all that snow?

So we asked two dancers, Principal Dancer Jennifer Stahl and Corps de Ballet member Ludmila Bizalion, how they navigate the snow scene. Stahl says that because it can get slippery, the dancers put rosin (a powdered form of tree resin) on their shoes to make them stickier. She also reports “little tricks like aiming towards the zones where less snow is dumped.” Bizalion says she tries to remember to breathe through her nose. It’s hard, she says, but by the end of the run, “we get used to it!”

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Header image: Kimberly Marie Olivier in Tomasson’s Nutcracker

Photoessay: Nutcracker from the Wings

Erik Tomasson has been San Francisco Ballet’s photographer since 2004. Through photographing multiple performances of Nutcracker each year, he has developed a deep familiarity with the production. These images, shot by Tomasson from the wings, offer a rare look behind the scenes of this holiday classic.

Ricardo Bustamante backstage as Drosselmeyer

An SF Ballet Student as Clara onstage during the battle scene

Snowflakes waiting for their entrance

The Snow Queen and King rehearsing a lift before their entrance

Jennifer Stahl waits for her entrance as the Sugar Plum Fairy while butterflies dance

Mother Ginger’s Buffoons’ joyous dance

Sofiane Sylve as the Sugar Plum Fairy during the Waltz of the Flowers

All photographs © Erik Tomasson

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Photoessay: Nutcracker from the Wings

Erik Tomasson has been San Francisco Ballet’s photographer since 2004. Through photographing multiple performances of Nutcracker each year, he has developed a deep familiarity with the production. These images, shot by Tomasson from the wings, offer a rare look behind the scenes of this holiday classic.

Ricardo Bustamante backstage as Drosselmeyer

An SF Ballet Student as Clara onstage during the battle scene

Snowflakes waiting for their entrance

The Snow Queen and King rehearsing a lift before their entrance

Jennifer Stahl waits for her entrance as the Sugar Plum Fairy while butterflies dance

Mother Ginger’s Buffoons’ joyous dance

Sofiane Sylve as the Sugar Plum Fairy during the Waltz of the Flowers

All photographs © Erik Tomasson

 

Purchase your Nutcracker tickets today

 

Baby, It’s Cold Inside! Making the Nutcracker Snow Scene

SF Ballet’s Nutcracker is known for the sheer amount of snow that falls during the Snow Scene—it’s a legitimate blizzard!

The snowflakes are made out of paper and are created by a giant hole puncher. During the performance, three long, narrow bags of 200 pounds of snow are suspended above the stage, hidden from the audience. Each bag is manipulated by two members of the stage crew who make the snow fall. During intermission, the fallen snow is swept and shoveled into large bins. It is sifted through to remove dirt, hairpins, sequins, and other debris and then reused at the next performance.

At intermission, the question on everyone’s lips seems to be: how do the snowflakes dance in all that snow?

So we asked two dancers, Principal Dancer Jennifer Stahl and Corps de Ballet member Ludmila Bizalion, how they navigate the snow scene. Stahl says that because it can get slippery, the dancers put rosin (a powdered form of tree resin) on their shoes to make them stickier. She also reports “little tricks like aiming towards the zones where less snow is dumped.” Bizalion says she tries to remember to breathe through her nose. It’s hard, she says, but by the end of the run, “we get used to it!”

Top photo: Kimberly Marie Olivier in Tomasson’s Nutcracker

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