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 was a principal dancer with the company for 20 seasons.
She is currently a stager and, most recently, worked with choreographer and Artistic Director Cathy Marston as an assistant to the choreographer. Van Patten has also 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.
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.
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.