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San Francisco Ballet's 85th Opening Night Gala

January 31, 2018
Drew Altizer Photography

We are so excited to show you our favorite highlights from San Francisco Ballet's 85th Opening Night Gala! With the theme of "Celestial", it was inevitable that everyone's spirits were radiant even when it was a rainy night. From watching timeless classic ballets to new modern works to extravagant dresses and delicious bites - San Francisco Ballet's Gala had it all! Before the curtain lifted and the performance began we had the chance to talk to some of the guests and hosts that created this celestial celebration.

Creative Director, Riccardo Benavides

Behind every gala, there is a visionary. This year's theme was inspired and brought to life by Creative Director, Riccardo Benavides. "We wanted guests to get a romantic and celestial feeling as soon as you walk in the doors," said Riccardo. Over 1,100 candles illuminated the entrance followed by twinkling lights, colorful projections and exquisite decor. It was truly amazing how the City Hall was transformed into a picturesque and romantic setting with hints of beauty from an evening sky.

Gala Chair, Kathy Huber

Later on, we had the chance to catch up with Gala Chair Kathy Huber about her excitement for this special occasion. Kathy mentioned she was particularly excited about the new VIP lounge they added to the after-party "It's going to be on the fourth floor with special catering, music and decor where the dancers will meet us after the performance," said Kathy. "That's what's so great about the San Francisco Ballet is that get to know the dancers."

Larry Baer, San Francisco Giants' CEO

With over 162 baseball games in a season, Larry Baer, San Francisco Giants' CEO still made it out to support the San Francisco Ballet. "I'm so excited to be here and celebrate the iconic moments," said Larry. After we chatted, we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to get Larry to show off his World Series ring!

Drew Altizer Photography

Fashion Designer, Karen Caldwell and San Francisco Ballet Dinner Chair, Betsy Linder

Not only does the SF Ballet Gala kick off a new season, it is also the perfect event for fashion designers to reveal their latest masterpieces and unique designs. We caught up with Fashion Designer, Karen Caldwell and SF Ballet Dinner Chair, Betsy Linder who made a grand entrance in their couture gowns. Betsy wore Karen's "hand beaded" midnight sky dress with a crescent moon with a starry cape paired with vintage earrings and a matching handbag. If you haven't already, click here to visit Karen's site to see more of her beautiful designs!

Drew Altizer Photography

Fashion Designer, Yuka Uehara

We also spoke with Fashion Designer Yuka Uehara who has a special flair for mixing modern artistry with traditional craftsmanship to create one-of-kind pieces. We even caught Principal Dancer Mathilde Froustey wearing one of her dresses at the after-party that was hand-painted by Yuka herself!

Concertmaster, Cordula Merks

Concertmaster, Cordula Merks made a stunning appearance before she headed into the hall to warm up her violin. "The San Francisco Ballet Orchestra is so excited about tonight's performance!" said Cordula. "It's one of most favorite events of the season." Make sure to listen for Cordula's solo during the season. Did you know she plays on a three-hundred-year-old Stradivarius? (Psssst...! We'll be talking about this more in our next episode!)

Drew Altizer Photography

ENCORE's Gala Chair, Kelcie Lee

Before everyone headed over to the War Memorial Opera Hall, we chatted with ENCORE's Gala Chair Kelcie Lee about what she's most excited for in the upcoming season. "I'm really looking forward to the Unbound Festival!" said Kelcie. "They are going to be bringing in twelve up-and-coming choreographers to reveal twelve new works on our local stage."

Click here to find out more about ENCORE - San Francisco Ballet's young professional group that has over 300 members!

Drew Altizer Photography

Drew Altizer Photography

(c) Erik Tomasson

Drew Altizer Photography

Drew Altizer Photography

Overall, the evening was dazzling! Everyone looked and felt their best and we were beyond impressed with the performance. Some of our favorites of the evening were Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire (featuring Sasha De Sola and Angelo Greco) and the premiere of Pas de Deux from Children of Chaos (featuring Frances Chung and Joseph Walsh). All we can say is WOW! We are so lucky to have some of the world's best dancers right here in San Francisco.

We would like to thank everyone that made this night possible. From the staff (who work many countless hours), the donors, chefs, musicians and dancers. This is definitely a night we'll never forget!

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