Van Patten joined the Royal Danish Ballet as an apprentice when she was fifteen years old. During her first season, she was cast as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, which she performed for the Queen of Denmark. While dancing with the Royal Danish Ballet, she met Helgi Tomasson, the artistic director and principal choreographer of the San Francisco Ballet. After two seasons in Copenhagen, Tomasson offered seventeen-year-old Van Patten a soloist position with the SF Ballet, and after four seasons, he promoted her to principal ballerina. Van Patten is still a principal dancer with the company––this year marks her nineteenth season.

While she continues to dance professionally, SVP has expanded her creative pursuits beyond the stage. Her love for dance, creative expression, and artistic collaboration inspired her to adopt new roles as a choreographer, producer, and director.  She choreographed “skylight” for the Cincinnati ballet and produced and directed a dance film with her nonprofit organization, Tahoe Dance Camp. Van Patten also organizes San Francisco Ballet’s yearly tradition of performing at local children’s hospitals.

Photographed by Reneff-Olson Productions

Throughout Van Patten’s illustrious career, she has accepted numerous awards and honors, including Denmark’s New Talent Prize in 2001 and the Chautauqua Festival Artistic Director’s Award in 1997. She also received the Isadora Duncan Award in 2009 for Best Ensemble Performance and in 2010 for her performance as Giselle.

Although she has received numerous accolades, Van Patten’s proudest achievement is becoming a mother. She shares her love of ballet with her husband and two children every chance she gets.

Juliet in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet

Odette/Odile in Tomasson’s Swan Lake

The Lilac Fairy in Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty

The Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, and Grand Pas de Deux Ballerina in Tomasson’s Nutcracker

Mercedes and Driad Queen in Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote

Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin

Mermaid and Princess in Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid

Cinderella in Wheeldon's Cinderella

Giselle in Tomasson's Giselle

Firebird and Princess in Yuri Possokov's The Firebird

In The Night, The Concert as the ballerina, Dances At A Gathering as mauve, Dybbuk as principal lady, Opus 19 as principal, Fancy Free Purple as lady principal

The Four Temperaments as Sanguenic

Apollo Calliope and Terpsichore

Symphony in C first, second, and fourth movement as principal

Emeralds as principal

Diamonds as principal

Scotch Symphony as principal

Divertimento no 15 as principal

Van Patten has created roles in Caniparoli’s Double Stop; Elo’s Double Evil; Morris’ Joyride; McGreggor’s Borderlands; Ashley Paige's Guide to Strange Places; Alexi Ratmanski’s From Foreign lands; Tomasson’s The Fifth Season, Bagatelles, and Trio; Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour; Cathy Marston's Snowblind and Mrs. Robinson (as Mrs. Robinson); Danielle Rowe's Wooden Dimes, among others.

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© Sarah Van Patten, 2021