Dancers from the San Francisco Ballet gave a special performance of the beloved holiday classic the “Nutcracker” for patients at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital on Dec. 1.
A group of five dancers volunteered to come to the hospital on their day off, performing an abridged version of the ballet in-costume for patients and their families in the hospital playroom. Following the show, they visited patients in their hospital rooms, signing posters and handing out stickers.
“I try to come every year, it’s one of my favorite things to do each holiday season,” said ballerina Sasha de Sola, who danced as the Grand Pas de Deux Woman. “I’ve done it two years before. It’s so worth it to see the smiles on their faces.”
The special performance is one of several holiday events arranged by the Child Life Services program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital to help children, teens and their families reduce stress and experience a normal routine, despite a hospital stay that can last weeks or even months. UCSF child life specialists help patients understand their illness and treatment, ensuring that each child’s needs are met at all stages of care.
Set in San Francisco during the 1915 World’s Fair, the San Francisco Ballet’s “Nutcracker” tells the story of Clara’s dreamlike journey amidst colorful, larger than life scenery. More than 200 costumed characters dance to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. The two-hour show continues through the holiday season.
Photos by Susan Merrell