Unbound and Rewritten: San Francisco Ballet’s New Festival of Works

If you hadn’t already noticed, San Francisco Ballet is a force to be reckoned with.

Over the course of the past few years, this company of masterful artists has not only churned out more perfectly executed classical ballets than ever before, but also offered a wildly new, fundamentally different, and inarguably profound collection of original works that break away from the archetype of conventional ballet.

We ourselves were first moved by this in 2016 when “In the Countenance of Kings” utilized the power of Sufjan Stevens’ music, the athletic elegance of Justin Peck’s ballet, and the absolute strength of modernity to create a synergistic magic on stage. (Don’t know what we’re talking about? Watch this and you’ll understand.) In the years since, SF Ballet has only worked harder and pushed boundaries further outside the immediate constraints of classical dance, all the while maintaining the hard-fought legacy of tradition.

This year marks the launch of an entirely new festival, composed of wholly original works choreographed by some of the most innovative, powerful choreographers in the world today. The result? Twelve world premieres spanning the course of four programs, over a period of just seventeen days. Question the reality of this being possible? Welcome to Unbound 2018.

To garner interest and attention for the impending festival, SF Ballet created a collection of short films, one focused on a specific piece in each of the four programs. While the experience of watching a ballet is moving and at times even spiritual, it is extremely difficult to recreate that immediate feeling through film. Often, it seems the passion dies somewhere in the space between. To counteract that effect, each short film takes on full responsibility of not merely being a snippet of the ballet, but rather a film in its own right. And the result? Something fluid, strange at times, but honest and deeply artful from beginning to end.

// Photography by Erik Tomasson


Unbound A

Consists of Alonzo King’s “The Collective Agreement,” Christopher Wheeldon’s “Bound To,” and  Justin Peck’s “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.” Watch “The Collective Agreement” now.

// Program 1 runs April 20-May 6. Tickets available here.

Unbound B

Consists of Myles Thatcher’s “Otherness,”  Cathy Marston’s “Snowblind,” David Dawson’s “Anima Animus.” Watch “Snowblind” now.

// Program 2 runs April 21-May 4/ Tickets available here.


Unbound C

Stanton Welch’s “Bespoke,” Trey McIntyre’s “Your Flesh Shall Be a Great Poem,” and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s “Guernica.” Watch “Guernica” now.

// Program 3 runs April 24-May 5. Tickets available here.


Unbound D

Edwaard Liang’s “The Infinite Ocean,” Dwight Rhoden’s “LET’S BEGIN AT THE END,” and  Arthur Pita’s “Björk Ballet.” Description Watch “LET’S BEGIN AT THE END” now.

// Program 4 runs April 26-May 5. Tickets available here.

Unbound and Rewritten: San Francisco Ballet’s New Festival of Works
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