Ballet Sun Valley was founded by a passionate supporter of dance and a long-time Board Member of the San Francisco Ballet, Robert Smelick. Prior to forming as a non-profit organization, the predecessor of Ballet Sun Valley hosted its first Summer Festival in 2012.
Mr. Smelick believed that ballet performances by dancers of the quality of those from the San Francisco Ballet, hosted in the newly constructed Sun Valley Pavilion, would provide an unparalleled cultural experience for Sun Valley locals and visitors alike. After many years of discussions with the Sun Valley Resort and the San Francisco Ballet to persuade both parties of the vision, an agreement was reached in 2011.
The inaugural festival in 2012 featured twenty dancers from San Francisco Ballet, most of them Principal dancers with the company. The event sold out and received rave reviews from the audience and accolades from the dance world. Helgi Tomasson, San Francisco Ballet’s Artistic Director, praised the festival’s venue, the Sun Valley Pavilion, calling it one of the most beautiful venues in which the company had ever performed.