Amy Seiwert Leaves Sacramento Ballet


Financial Impact of COVID-19 Forces Cut

July 30, 2020—Amy Seiwert's Imagery has announced that Amy Seiwert will leave her position as Artistic Director at Sacramento Ballet to focus on her company in San Francisco, dance films, and choreographic commissions. The transition is the result of Sacramento Ballet's Board of Directors vote to terminate Seiwert's contract due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on the company.

Amy Seiwert. Photo: Keith Sutter
Amy Seiwert. Photo: Keith Sutter

"The last two years in Sacramento have been a tremendous gift, and I thank the dancers, collaborators, and designers with whom I have had the opportunity to create," Seiwert said, "Also gratitude to the children and parents involved in my new Nutcracker, it was a tremendous undertaking and could not have happened without the support of such a strong community. While I will miss working at Sacramento Ballet, I look forward to focusing on Imagery and choreographing new works for ballet companies across the country."

Seiwert was the seventh woman to lead a professional ballet company in the U.S., and the fourth to choreograph The Nutcracker for a professional company, which premiered in December 2018. Her appointment as Artistic Director of Sacramento Ballet in 2018 is regarded as a significant event in American dance. While a dancer with Smuin Ballet her choreography was mentored by the late Michael Smuin. She became a Choreographer in Residence at Smuin when she retired from dancing in 2008. Seiwert was named one of "25 to Watch" by Dance Magazine. Her first full evening of choreography was named one of the "Top 10" dance events of 2007 by the SF Chronicle.

Since 2012 Seiwert has made three dance films for Imagery, and has stated she plans to produce four films as part of her SKETCH choreography series to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series, and in response to social distancing of the pandemic. The SKETCH series is intended to provide a safe environment for risk-taking in contemporary ballet choreography. Performances of works-in-progress are held in the intimate environment of small venues with a Q&A session. Imagery will produce four documentary dance films, entitled SKETCH FILMS: Red Thread, featuring world premieres by SKETCH alumni, including Artistic Director Amy Seiwert, Artistic Fellow Ben Needham-Wood, Chicago-based choreographer Stephanie Martinez, and NYC-based choreographer Jennifer Archibald.

Each choreographer will be asked to create a dance film, following social distance protocols, inspired by those who have been impacted by the recent health, economic, and injustice crises. These works will highlight the shared struggles afflicting different communities, while raising awareness and support for mental health care. Red Threads' original scores will be composed by Kishi Bashi and Emily Hope Price. One film each month will be released between September and December 2020. Details regarding the release dates for the film series will be announced by late August.