San Francisco Ballet Announces Premiere of Film Dance of Dreams

08/01/2020

Directed by Benjamin Millepied, Choreography by Justin Peck, Dwight Rhoden, Janie Taylor, and Christopher Wheeldon

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 31, 2020-San Francisco Ballet has announced the premiere of a new dance film directed by Benjamin Millepied and featuring San Francisco Ballet dancers. Titled Dance of Dreams, the film features choreography by Justin Peck, Dwight Rhoden, Janie Taylor, and Christopher Wheeldon. The six-minute film was shot at famous San Francisco locations.

Scene from Dance of Dreams featuring Ellen Rose Hummel and Daniel Deivison-Oliveira. © San Francisco Ballet
Scene from Dance of Dreams featuring Ellen Rose Hummel and Daniel Deivison-Oliveira. © San Francisco Ballet

The film is choreographed for six dancers, including solos for Principal Dancers Joseph Walsh and Frances Chung, choreographed by Peck and Taylor, respectively; pas de deux for Soloists Ellen Rose Hummel and Daniel Deivison-Oliveira, choreographed by Rhoden; and Soloist Madison Keesler and Principal Dancer Benjamin Freemantle, choreographed by Wheeldon. The dancers are featured in classic locations in and around San Francisco, including Joseph Walsh performing at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Golden Gate Bridge, Ellen Rose Hummel and Daniel Deivison-Oliveira set against iconic San Francisco fog, and Frances Chung on the Sausalito shore. Madison Keesler and Benjamin Freemantle close the film in a pas de deux at the Palace of Fine Arts.

The music is Bernard Hermann's "Scène D'Amour" from Alfred Hitchcock's classic San Francisco-based movie Vertigo, played by members of San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. San Francisco Ballet Orchestra Music Director Martin West mixed and mastered the recording, which incorporates more than 150 tracks recorded remotely by more than 60 musicians from the Orchestra. This digital project was an entirely new undertaking for the Company, providing them with new capabilities and new possibilities.

Benjamin Millepied © Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography
Benjamin Millepied © Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Director Benjamin Millepied says, "The connection of this company to the people of San Francisco is so strong. It's a die-hard audience. Dance of Dreams is a moment of dancing, a moment of reconnecting dancers to the city and the thing they love most." Millepied is most known for his choreography, but is also a filmmaker and artistic director. His choreography is performed by New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Berlin Staatsoper, Mariinsky Ballet, and many more major companies, and was featured in Darren Aronofsky's award-winning film Black Swan, in which he also starred. In 2012 Millepied founded L.A. Dance Project. The following year he was appointed director of Paris Opera Ballet, where he was the subject of the documentary film Reset. Since 2016 he has focused on L.A. Dance Project and his own choreography and filmmaking. 

Dance of Dreams was filmed during San Francisco's fifth month of shelter-in-place restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millepied and the choreographers worked remotely from their respective locales. Social distancing rules were observed during the filming process, and the pas de deux are danced by dancers who have been sheltered in place together. "Here in San Francisco, we're still sheltering in place, and I wanted to explore new work under these circumstances," says San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson. "Dance of Dreams celebrates San Francisco while giving our dancers the freedom to move outdoors in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Bay Area, and with choreography by some of the finest choreographers of our time. Benjamin [Millepied] felt like a natural fit to direct this project. I am thrilled to be able to work with him in a capacity that integrates his background in film and cinematography with dance."

Dance of Dreams will be available to the public at 12 noon U.S. PDT on August 13, 2020 on SF Ballet @ Home, YouTube, Facebook, and IGTV. Click here to see the film trailer.