Introducing new SF Ballet School student residence at $193 Million Bowes Center
San Francisco Ballet School (SFB School), led by Patrick Armand with oversight by SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) announce an addition to its multi-faceted partnership, providing year-round housing for SFB School students in SFCM’s new Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center for Performing Arts (Bowes Center). Beginning in August 2020, the partnership marks an unprecedented model of collaboration among arts training institutions in the nation, offering a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to education for students of both schools. Health and wellness programs, movement classes for Conservatory students, music classes for SFB School students, and new collaborations in choreography and composition are among the highlights of the partnership. The residence, which houses up to 52 students, provides enhanced safety and convenience to SF Ballet School’s studios and the War Memorial Opera House; access to new performance and rehearsal spaces; a dining facility; and an overall improved quality of life for SFB School students, including those in the intermediate levels.
“This collaboration with SFCM is a perfect opportunity for San Francisco Ballet and SF Ballet School to extend its commitment to make a place in our city for artists of the future,” said SF Ballet Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale. “Students from both organizations will have access to experiences that will extend not only their artistic paths, but will inform our respective organizations of how we will evolve and adapt to keep the performing arts center stage.”
SFCM President David Stull said, “This is a model for the nation. From its inception, the Bowes Center was designed to connect the civic center arts district and bring together students, ideas, and opportunities that propel forward how we engage with music. We are proud to contribute to one of San Francisco’s greatest needs—housing—while serving the future of SFCM and SF Ballet students, who will go on to become top artists in their respective disciplines.”
SF Ballet School’s intermediate, advanced, and Trainee-level students will occupy the Diane B. Wilsey 5th floor of the $193 million SFCM Bowes Center at 200 Van Ness Avenue. “It is an honor to be able to participate in this extraordinary partnership,” said Diane B. Wilsey. “The development and well-being of the students, which is paramount, will be enhanced by their exposure to the cultural treasures of the Conservatory of Music.”
“With this partnership, we can increase the number of students we are able to house, but more importantly, we can improve the students’ overall quality of life. SFB School can now offer an integrated model of education for our students that emphasizes the importance of exposure to and knowledge of other artistic disciplines. I am very excited about what this all means for the overall experience of young people enrolled at both of our institutions,” said SFB School Director Patrick Armand.
About the Residency: Beginning in August 2020, SF Ballet School’s intermediate, advanced, and Trainee-level students will occupy the Diane B. Wilsey 5th floor of the $193 million SFCM Bowes Center at 200 Van Ness Avenue. The 12-story Bowes Center is home to rehearsal spaces and two performance halls, including one equipped with sprung floors; study areas; a restaurant open to the public; an observation deck; and a café offering student meal services, in which SFB School students can enroll. 52 SFB School students will occupy 13 suite-style rooms, and dormitory staff will live onsite to ensure student safety and wellbeing. A private entrance for both SFCM and SFB School student residents includes round-the-clock security and floor access that is further secured by elevator access passes. SF Ballet School residential staff will monitor the floor when students are present in the dormitory, including overnight. SFCM students will occupy six additional floors with on-site residential staff.
In addition to housing SFB School and Conservatory students, the Bowes Center provides 27 rent-stabilized apartments for the location’s former tenants who elected to stay. Classical KDFC’s offices and studios will occupy the 2nd floor, which will provide additional educational opportunities for students. The Bowes Center is directly across the street from Davies Symphony Hall and centrally located among City Hall, SF Ballet School’s studios, the War Memorial Opera House, and SFJAZZ, immersing students in the heart of San Francisco’s civic and cultural life.
About the Educational Partnership: Emphasizing a multidisciplinary approach to dance education, in the 2019-2020 school year, SFB School students will work with the SFCM’s Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) faculty and students on projects, pairing SFB School Choreographic Fellows with TAC composers to create new ballets together. Beginning in the fall of 2020, SFB School students will take music appreciation classes at the Conservatory, with plans to augment the curriculum in the future. Plans are in development for workshops and classes that support student wellness and injury prevention for both SFB School and SFCM students, taught by SFB School’s physical therapists and staff psychologists.
The Bowes Center residency builds on multiple pre-existing partnerships between SFB School and SFCM. SFB School’s Jamie Narushchen, in collaboration with SF Ballet’s Music Director & Principal Conductor Martin West, teaches a January Winter Term course at SFCM on collaborative piano, cultivating the next generation of ballet pianists and composers; SF Ballet and School recruits current and former SFCM students to play for the School’s classes and rehearsals; multiple SFCM students have won auditions for the SF Ballet Orchestra; and SFCM’s students and faculty compose new ballet scores for the Company and School, most recently in SF Ballet’s 2019 Repertory Season with Yuri Possokhov’s “. . .two united in a single soul. . .” to music by SFCM’s Daria Novoliantceva, a member of the Conservatory’s TAC faculty.
Emphasizing a multidisciplinary approach to education, in fall 2019 SFCM’SFCM’s Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) students benefited from regular visits by faculty of the SF Ballet School to learn about the history of classical music in dance, stage lighting, costuming, and how choreographers and composers work together to create professional work for modern day ballet companies. Throughout the academic year, TAC students collaborate with SFB School Choreographic Fellows and their faculty to compose new ballets of hybrid electronic-orchestral music.
With this increased partnership, beginning in the fall of 2020 SFB School students will take music appreciation classes at the Conservatory, with plans to augment the curriculum in the future. Workshops and classes are in development that support student wellness and injury prevention for both SFB School and SFCM students, taught by SFB School’s physical therapists and staff psychologists.
About San Francisco Ballet School: Led by renowned dancer and dance pedagogue Patrick Armand with oversight by SF Ballet Artistic Director & Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, SF Ballet School was founded alongside the Company in 1933. 65% of San Francisco Ballet dancers trained at SF Ballet School, which is considered one of the finest ballet academies in the world. The School boasts an international roster of prominent instructors, a Trainee Program curriculum for pre-professional students, a robust scholarship program, and an education and community engagement branch dedicated to sharing the joy of dance. SF Ballet School attracts students from around the world, training approximately 700 annually. In addition to filling the ranks of SF Ballet, alumni have gone on to join prestigious ballet companies throughout the world. For those who wish to pursue a career in ballet, SF Ballet School offers a distinguished training program of unqualified excellence.
About the San Francisco Conservatory of Music: Founded in 1917, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) is a global destination for musical excellence, earning an international reputation for producing musicians of the highest caliber. Located in the heart of San Francisco's Civic Center, SFCM's faculty includes nearly 30 members of the San Francisco Symphony and SF Ballet Orchestra as well as Grammy Award-winning artists in fields ranging from orchestral and chamber performance to classical guitar. The Conservatory offers its 400-plus collegiate students fully accredited bachelor's and master's degrees and professional diplomas in composition and instrumental and vocal performance, as well as in newly established, groundbreaking tracks such as Technology and Applied Composition and Roots, Jazz, and American Music. SFCM's collaborations with major Bay Area arts presenters, including the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, Ballet, and SFJAZZ Center, present an unprecedented learning environment for Conservatory students to engage with the world's leading artists. The Conservatory's relationships with Sony Playstation, Skywalker Sound, and other Silicon Valley companies also offer unique opportunities that reinforce the institution's innovative curricular approach in artistic, intellectual, professional, and individual development, a connected learning sequence that gives students an education for life. SFCM's collegiate and Pre-College students have appeared at such storied venues as Carnegie Hall and Davies Symphony Hall and have performed on national radio programs including NPR's Live from Here and Performance Today. Notable alumni include violinists Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern, conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, soprano Elza van den Heever, the Naumburg Award-winning Telegraph Quartet (on faculty as SFCM's Quartet-in-Residence), Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman, and Ronald Losby (President of Steinway & Sons - Americas), among others. In October 2018, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music broke ground on the Ute and William K. Bowes, Jr. Center for Performing Arts (the Bowes Center), a building that will transform San Francisco’s arts district with an unparalleled space for students and the community to create, share, and engage with music. Opening in fall 2020, the Bowes Center will more than double the size of SFCM’s facilities and dramatically expand the school’s campus in the heart of San Francisco’s Civic Center.