If you’re wondering what the ballet dancers of San Francisco have been doing over the course of the pandemic, the answer is… Definitely not watching Netflix and lounging on the couch all day like the rest of us.
Smuin Contemporary Ballet, a San Francisco-based touring ballet company, is kicking off the holiday season with an online edition of its popular seasonal program, The Christmas Ballet. On now through Dec. 24, the 25-year-old show will feature classical ballet as well as festive contemporary numbers that incorporate tap, jazz, and swing.
In a press release, Smuin said that its dancers returned to the studio during the fall to rehearse for the show in small “pods” with limited physical contact. Each pod will perform one of three programs, which include live performances of Smuin classics like “Santa Baby,” to premieres of new works by Smuin alumni and Emmy award-winning choreographer Ben Needham-Wood. Each program also features recorded highlights from past Christmas Ballet programs.
Tickets range from $49 to $139 and can be purchased through the company’s website. It’s $49 for a livestream link to one program, $89 for an all-access pass to all 15 performances, and $139 for an all-access pass plus an exclusive gift pack that includes two Smuin face masks. If you’re feeling generous, you can even digitally send tickets as gifts to your friends and family anywhere in the world.
The announcement comes after a rough year for the 26-year-old nonprofit ballet company, which in April was forced to cancel the full spring run of its Dance Series 2 in San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Mountain View, and Carmel. In a normal season, Smuin typically performs more than 60 shows for around 30,000 viewers all over the Bay Area.
In the meantime, they’ve been offering pay-what-you-can online dance classes — which include ballet, pointe, dance-based fitness, hip-hop, tap, and broadway jazz — for dancers of all skill levels, as well as a virtual fall dance series. Virtual showings of the company’s two other programs, Dance Series 1 and Dance Series 2, are forthcoming. If you’d like to support Smuin through their current indefinite theater closure, see their website for more details about donations.