skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

Great Performances: The Little Mermaid From San Francisco Ballet

Airs Friday, December 16, 2011 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TVCANCELLED

Above: Yuan Yuan Tan (The Mermaid) in “The Little Mermaid from San Francisco Ballet.”

Experience Hans Christian Andersen’s haunting tale of love in San Francisco Ballet’s production of this inventive ballet. Hamburg Ballet’s chief choreographer John Neumeier blends dance, dramatic storytelling and spectacle in a darkly emotional interpretation of the classic fable.

Performed by the world-class San Francisco Ballet, the production features an original score by acclaimed young composer Lera Auerbach, with prima ballerina Yuan Yuan Tan in the title role.

Yuan Yuan Tan found a strong personal connection with the Mermaid, she says, in the character’s pursuit of “unconditional love. People dream about it. And [the Mermaid] tries to pursue it, and fails, but still believes in it.” Kristi Yamaguchi hosts the program.

Those expecting a simple ballet adaptation of the Disney animated film will be surprised to find a complex and intense portrayal of unrequited love and the resilience of the human spirit.

San Francisco Ballet – the oldest professional ballet company in America – received Neumeier’s rare permission to present the American premiere in March 2010, which was met with ecstatic audience response, and hailed by critics as “mesmerizing” and “moving.” The two-act production features an evocative score by the young Russian-American composer Lera Auerbach which mixes haunting melodic passages with moody undercurrents atonality and dissonance.

Cast: Yuan Yuan Tan (The Little Mermaid); Lloyd Riggins (The Poet); Tiit Helimets (The Prince); Sarah Van Patten (The Princess); Davit Karapetyan (The Sea Witch). Music Director & Principal Conductor: Martin West.

GREAT PERFORMANCES is a production of Thirteen for WNET New York Public Media. The evening’s presentation is in collaboration with PBS member station KQED. "The Little Mermaid From San Francisco Ballet" airs as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.

Video

The Little Mermaid From San Francisco Ballet

Your browser does not support this object.

Watch The Little Mermaid from San Francisco Ballet on PBS. See more from Great Performances.

Above: Experience Hans Christian Andersen's haunting tale of love in San Francisco Ballet's production of this inventive ballet. Hamburg Ballet's chief choreographer John Neumeier blends dance, dramatic storytelling and spectacle in a darkly emotional interpretation of the classic fable.

Video

Interview with The Mermaid

Your browser does not support this object.

Watch Interview with The Mermaid on PBS. See more from Great Performances.

Above: Meet Yuan Yuan Tan who dances the title role in San Francisco Ballet's "The Little Mermaid" and learn how she uses highly expressive movement to evoke her character's emotional turmoil.

Video

Choreographer John Neumeier: The Little Mermaid From San Francisco Ballet

Above: Meet John Neumeier, the choreographer of San Francisco Ballet's "The Little Mermaid," and learn how he takes lighting and costumes into consideration when creating new works.

Video

Director's Perspective: The Little Mermaid From San Francisco Ballet

Above: Thomas Grimm discusses "The Little Mermaid From San Francisco Ballet."