First Time to Ballet San Jose?
At BSJ weíre always thrilled to welcome first-timers. Below you will find answers to some Frequently Asked Questions to help you make the most out of your theater experience. Directions and parking tips can also be found here. Can't find what your looking for? Simply contact the Box Office at balletsj.org or 408.288.2800 during regular business hours where our customer service reps are always eager to help.
BSJ is adjacent to San Joseís vibrant downtown scene. Fine restaurants, animated nightclubs, and cozy coffee shops are just a leisurely stroll away. Museums and art galleries, theaters and music halls dot the small footprint of downtown from Almaden Boulevard to South 5th Street and from St. John Street to East Reed.
New To Ballet?
If youíve never been to a ballet performance before, Ballet San Jose may be the perfect way to start enjoying one of the most dynamic forms of theater in the world. Forget the old myth that ballet is just for old people. Fully one-third of our audience is under the age of 40 and our family friendly Saturday matinees regularly sell out with half the attendees under the age of 18. The fastest growing segment of our audience are college students. Donít worry that you wonít understand the art form. Dance transcends language, and many of our presentations are story ballets with tales of love and magic and the struggle of good and evil...stories that will be familiar and fresh to you at the same time. Come see for yourself why this dance form has survived for so many centuries and is growing in popularity all over the world today. ENJOY!
What is ballet?
Ballet is dance at itís best. A ballet dancer is a "cultural athlete" that can do things with his or her body that sometimes seems impossibly difficult, but they make it look almost effortless. A ballet is music, theater, drama, comedy, and visual art all blended into a complete theatrical experience. When successfully produced, a balletís choreography, movement, acting, sets, costumes, lighting, and music creates an unforgettable spectacle that can move audiences to tears or elation-or both.
Will I enjoy ballet?
So many new people have come to the ballet in recent days. The movie Black Swan drove thousands to see Swan Lake in productions all over the world. Other ballet-themed movies include The Turning Point, Center Stage, Save the Last Dance, Billy Elliot and The Company. But you donít have to go to "ballet movies" to see what ballet brings to dance. Just watch TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing With The Stars and you will see ballet influences all around you. Our own Raymond Rodriguez (who has performed with Ballet San Jose since 1981) coached football legend Jerry Rice when he competed on Stars. Indeed many professional athletes take ballet classes to improve their performance on the field.
What should I wear?
There is no dress code at Ballet San Jose. You should wear whatever makes you feel relaxed and at your best. At one of our performances you will see everything from jeans to tuxedos. Many people come directly from work wearing business attire. "Upscale Casual" seems to be the norm for most performances, although opening nights tend to attract more formal wear and jewelry. (If you got it...flash it here!) At a performance of The Nutcracker it is not at all unusual to see whole families attending with the boy children in suits and ties and the little girls in satin and furs. The main thing to remember is that the ballet is fun. Dress accordingly.
What is theater "Performance Etiquette"? Some basic guidelines:
How early should I arrive?
- Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of the ushers, and may not always have access to their own seats until intermission.
- A coat check area is available in the lobby for coats, umbrellas and other bulky items. Please take advantage of this free service to make it easier for people to access their seats. When patrons are having difficulty navigating the isles, it is proper etiquette to stand while they pass.
- All cell phones and other electrical devices must be turned off before the performance begins. Please do not just "mute" them.
- No cameras or tape recorders are permitted at any time. This includes "smart phone recordings."
- Children of any age attending a performance must have a ticket, even if they will be sitting in your lap. This is a rule of the Center for the Performing Arts and the City of San Jose Fire Department.
- Please avoid wearing heavy perfume or cologne as a courtesy to those seated near you. Some people have fragrance allergies.
- No food or drink is allowed in the auditorium except bottled water.
- Management reserves the right to remove any patron creating a disturbance.
Always allow enough time to navigate traffic, find parking and take your seats well before show time. Itís difficult to seat latecomers without disturbing other patrons. So, please arrive 20-30 minutes before show time to ensure a relaxed night at the theatre for all.
What if I'm running late?
Out of respect for other patrons, latecomers will not be seated until intermission or until a designated late seating break in the show. Also, it may not be possible to seat late arrivals in their actual ticketed location until intermission.
Where are Ballet San Joseís administrative/ticket offices, and what are the office hours?
Ballet San Jose presents most of its performances at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts at 255 Almaden Boulevard between Park Avenue and San Carlos Streets in downtown San Jose. Our administrative offices, box office and studios are located at 40 North First Street between Santa Clara and St. John Streets, just five blocks from the theater. Administrative business hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm. The Box Office is closed on non-performance weekends, but we maintain an in-theater box office during performance weeks on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 12 noon.
Can I afford to attend the Ballet?
Absolutely. Single tickets for the 2012-13 season start at just $21 for some performances. Top ticket prices for the best seats in the house are only $105. Compare that to tickets to a professional baseball, football or hockey game. There are discounts for students, seniors and groups of 10 or more. And one of the best values is a subscription to the entire season, which also gives you many extra benefits. To discuss your options, call the Ballet San Jose Box Office at 408.288.2800 Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, or check online at http://www.balletsj.org. For group sales, call 408.288.2820 x 219.
What is the history of ballet?
Ballet emerged in the late fifteenth-century Renaissance court culture of Italy as a dance interpretation of fencing, and further developed in the French court from the time of Louis XIV in the 17th century. This is reflected in the largely French vocabulary of ballet. Despite the great reforms of Jean-Georges Noverre in the eighteenth century, ballet went into decline in France after 1830, though it was continued in Denmark, Italy, and Russia. It was reintroduced to western Europe on the eve of the First World War by a Russian company: the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev, who came to be influential around the world. Diaghilev's company came to be a destination for many of the Russian trained dancers fleeing the famine and unrest that followed the Bolshevik revolution. These dancers brought many of the choreographic and stylistic innovations that had been flourishing under the czars back to their place of origin.
In the 20th century, ballet had a strong influence on broader concert dance. For example, in the United States, choreographer George Balanchine developed what is now known as neoclassical ballet. Subsequent developments include contemporary ballet and post-structural ballet, seen in the work of William Forsythe in Germany.
The word ballet comes from the French and was borrowed into English around 1630. The French word in turn has its origin in Italian balletto, a diminutive of ballo (dance) which comes from Latin ballo, ballare, meaning "to dance", which in turn comes from the Greek ballizo, "to dance, to jump about".
What is the history of Ballet San Jose?
Ballet San Jose was founded in 1983 as the City Center Ballet of San Jose, and in 1985 began a co-venture relationship with Cleveland Ballet that spanned the two cities for nearly 15 years before its re-establishment in 2000 as an independent resident company in San Jose. Currently, with a professional company of more than 40 dancers under the leadership of Artistic Advisor Wes Chapman and Principal Ballet Master Raymond Rodriguez, Ballet San Jose presents nearly 30 performances annually at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts. In 2011, Ballet San Jose formed a unique relationship with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) to catalyze new and rapid artistic growth and innovation, highlighted by strategic access to ABT's vast repertory, experience base, and network of internationally renowned artists.
Ballet San Jose School is the official school of Ballet San Jose, training more than 400 students annually, and in 2012 became the first institution on the west coast certified to offer the complete ABT National Training Curriculum.
In 2012-2013 the company employed over 40 professional dancers representing nine countries. Ballet San Jose regularly employs dancers from all over the world including Argentina, Cuba, Japan, Russia, Thailand, China, Taiwan, Australia, Bosnia Herzegovina, and the United States. Photos and bios of our dancers can be found here: http://www.balletsj.org/company.html
Associated ballet school
Ballet San Jose School is the official school of Ballet San Jose, training more than 400 students annually, and in 2012 became the first institution on the west coast certified to offer the complete ABT National Training Curriculum. School information including classes and programs, faculty and staff and much more can be found here: http://www.balletsj.org/School.html
Where does Ballet San Jose perform?
Most BSJ performances are held in the 2,600-seat San Jose Center for the Performing Arts located at 255 Almaden Boulevard at the corner of Park Avenue in downtown San Jose. The theater was designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and constructed in 1972. It has easy freeway access from 101 to Highway 87 and also 680/280. There is an Amtrak (train) stop at the San Jose Dirodon Station one mile from the Center for the Performing Arts, with a light rail connection to the Convention Center just one block from the theater.
Driving Directions to San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
Where can I park?
Parking for most performances (except some weekday matinees of The Nutcracker) can be found directly across the street from the theater at the Adobe office building, 345 Park Avenue, which has an underground covered garage with a live attendant. Please enter on the Park Avenue side of the Adobe building and exit through the West Lobby. This is your easiest entrance BACK into the building after the show. The Adobe parking facility cost $5.00 and accepts cash only.
There is also a open air ground lot one block south of the theater at the corner of Almaden Boulevard and Woz Way, directly across the street from the side entrance to the San Jose Convention Center. That open air lot costs $7.00 and accepts credit cards in machines located throughout the parking area. There is no attendant.
Parking is also available in the main Convention Center garage located at 408 South Almaden Blvd or 350 South Market Street. Rates vary.
Paoloís Restaurant is located directly behind the Center for the Performing Arts and validates for diners wishing to park there. ($7 cash or credit cards for others.) Paoloís is closed on Sundays. The entrance to that parking lot is on Woz Way between Park Avenue and San Carlos Street.
Additional parking information may be found at: http://www.sjdowntownparking.com/