James Sofranko. Photo by Andrew Weeks.

This San Francisco Ballet Soloist Has Started His Own Company

The Bay Area dance scene continues to grow, and San Francisco Ballet soloist James Sofranko has added his voice to the mix. His new company, SFDanceworks, was founded in 2014 and presents its debut season this week at the ODC Theater in San Francisco.

The U.S. has a surprising lack of contemporary dance companies that perform a broad repertoire—Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and L.A.'s BODYTRAFFIC and LA Dance Project are three, and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet was another. Sofranko's troupe looks to become one of those few, with a mixed rep of new work, emerging choreographers and established names.


Most contemporary companies exist to fulfill the choreographic vision of the founder. Though many ballet companies now perform work that blurs the line between contemporary and ballet, like Mats Ek's Appartement or Jiří Kylián's Petit Mort, the dearth of smaller, flexible troupes comprised of versatile dancers is majorly lacking in the U.S. dance scene. And, it limits opportunities for ballet dancers who have a penchant for contemporary work.

As of yet, SFDanceworks appears to be a project-based group, but Sofranko has taken time to find his artistic and financial footing, and the company may someday become a full-time option. The premiere season features choreography by HSDC resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo and HSDC company member Penny Saunders. Former SFB dancers Dana Genshaft, Garrett Anderson and Kendall Teague have joined the roster, as well as The Joffrey Ballet's Amber Neumann and Smuin Ballet's Ben Needham-Wood. Genshaft, who also choreographs, has a work on the program and the company will perform a duet from Lar Lubovitch's Concerto Six Twenty-Two, along with a premiere by Sofranko.

SFDanceworks joins the re-emerging Oakland Ballet, and many other Bay Area companies, to help build a vital performing community for dancers. The season runs June 23–25 at the ODC Theater in San Francisco.

Latest Posts


iStock

Ask Amy: My Parents Want Me to Get a Job and Cut Back on Dance Classes

I am thinking about pursuing a career in ballet. However, my parents have made it clear that at some point they want me to get a job, which they acknowledge would mean possibly dropping dance, or at least not taking as many classes. I agree that getting a job is important so that I'm able to make my own money, but dropping dance classes is the exact opposite of what will get me to where I want to be. Any suggestions? —Kaia

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Laurent Liotardo (post-production by Nik Pate), Courtesy ENB

Catch English National Ballet’s Rising Stars in the Emerging Dancer Competition Livestream

The coronavirus pandemic may have postponed English National Ballet's annual Emerging Dancer competition last spring, but the show must go on—digitally! You can still watch ENB's best and brightest talent during the competition's livestream, taking place on September 22 at 7:20 pm BST (that's 2:20 pm ET). Now in its 11th year, the competition for the Emerging Dancer Award will be broadcast live from the company's East London production studio for the first time. Tickets are available for $6.99 per device and will remain available to view on demand until September 29.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
From left: Alaina Broyles, Courtesy Werner; Courtesy Underwood

Gaynor Minden's Latest Dancer Lineup Features a Body-Positivity Activist and Its First Guy

Pointe shoe brand Gaynor Minden recently welcomed 32 young dancers to its coveted roster of Gaynor Girls. But this year, the company included two applicants who push the boundaries of what it means to dance on pointe. While both Mason Simon Underwood and Colleen Werner are longtime GM wearers, they stand out from the rest of this year's group: Underwood is the first ever Gaynor Guy, and Werner is a body-positivity activist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks