Next@90 Curtain Call: A new perspective on the San Francisco Ballet

isaac-hernandez-in-gateway-to-the-sun-by-sf-ballet, Next@90 Curtain Call: A new perspective on the San Francisco Ballet, Culture Currents
Isaac Hernandez in “Gateway to the Sun” – Photo: San Francisco Ballet

by Dr. Tiffany Caesar 

“Next@90 Curtain Call” performance in the beginning of April at the San Francisco Ballet was a phenomenal experience of diverse styles concerning the traditional art form. I was in awe of the fluidity of the dance moves and the beautiful ensembles in an array of hues; and the live orchestra that accompanied each piece made it a wonderful night to remember. 

I highly recommend you check out the San Francisco Ballet, which has different performances appealing to a wide variety of audiences. It is also centrally located near the Civic Center BART, which makes it convenient to get to if you want to avoid the difficulty of finding parking. There are also options for reasonable tickets as low as $30. In addition, after the show you can walk with a San Francisco Ballet attendant for free to the BARTto make sure you are safe. You can check out the San Francisco Ballet website for upcoming shows.

The show consisted of three short dance performances – “Gateway to the Sun,” “Violin Concerto” and “MADCAP.” For more information about each performance, you can visit the “Next@90 Curtain Call” online description. Each story was unique and full of energy, precision and creativity. I thought that I would enjoy the performance MADCAP the most due to its quirkiness, costumes and grotesque – but beautiful – storyline of a clown on a voyage to find himself. It was for me the most untraditional idea of what a ballet should be, which is why I thought I would lean in more. 

However, my heart was captured by the first ensemble, “Gateway to the Sun.” The whole set made me feel as if I was in nature dancing along whimsically with friends to a place of peace. It was a spiritual journey that made me think of love, transformation and courage. In addition, the costumes consisted of an array of fall colors like burgundy, orange, forest green and yellow hues that allowed my eyes to be in trance during the whole set. The choreographers included Nicolas Blanc, Danielle Rowe and Yuri Possokhov. The unity within “Gateway to the Sun” displays each choreographer’s ability to work together to create a masterpiece. 

“Violin Concerto” was also nice as it displayed the historical contribution of Igor Stravinsky concerning his 1931 “Violin Concerto in D.” Igor Stranvinsky was a prominent Russian composer, and the dances highlighted his work with celebration. It was like a dancing archive, and I really enjoyed the inclusion of Igor Stravinsky’s pictures in the composition. The San Francisco Ballet contributed to me having a beautiful night in the Bay.

  If you are worried like I was about the diversity of the San Francisco Ballet dancers, please don’t! Shout out to dancer Jacey Gailliard from Philadelphia whose beautiful kinky coils made a sistah proud in the audience. Their dancers are from different places nationally and internationally including Brazil, Korea, China, Cuba, Italy, Zimbabwe, France and more! Also, local dancers from the Bay Area like Pemberly Ann Olson from San Francisco and Angela Watson from Oakland were featured in the show. 

You might be wondering if this is your sign to go to an upcoming performance – absolutely! I’m looking forward to Swan Lake myself.

Dr. Tiffany Caesar is an Oakland-based writer, scholar and activist. Her work emphasizes cultural heritage and art institutions, Africana women, pan-African political movements, reparations and self-care. She is currently an assistant professor of Africana Studies at San Francisco State University, where she teaches African American History and Black Lives Matter: Race and Social Justice Movements. She calls herself a “Black Woman’s Archivist” due to her research and writing about the lives of Queen Mother Moore, Margaret Walker and Phyllis Ntantala. Dr. Caesar is also the current chair of the Black Student Union/Third World Liberation Front SFSU 1968 Student Strike commemoration efforts at San Francisco State University. She can be reached at