History

The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance was established in 2004 by veteran dancer/teacher Summer Lee Rhatigan and a team of collaborators whose principal goal was to create a new kind of dance school specifically designed to guide and support young people in their discovery, understanding, development, and application of the tools necessary to thrive as an artist.

Since its inception, some one thousand talented young dancers have participated in the Conservatory’s programs, studying classical and modern technique and learning/performing a huge number and variety of works.

During its first four years, the Conservatory was temporarily housed at Zaccho Dance Theater and City Ballet School. As neither facility was able to accommodate the influx of participants for its Summer Intensive Program, the Conservatory rented the entire 10,000 square foot ground floor of the special events venue known as The Regency Center for four consecutive summers. For ten weeks each summer, this space was transformed into dance studios that converted into a performance hall through the enormous effort of hired crews and a wonderfully loyal team of volunteers.

Five years of searching for a permanent home finally paid off in early 2009 when we found and moved into our current facilities. Very conveniently located in a vibrant SOMA (South of Market) neighborhood, our studios are drenched with natural light through skylights and north and west facing windows. We are fortunate to have two additional, neighboring dance studios available to us when needed.

The Conservatory’s Fall and Spring semester student showcases have been held in-studio at Zaccho Dance Theater, City Ballet School and our current facilities, while the Summer showcases have been held at The Regency Center, Theater Artaud and the Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The Conservatory’s dancers have also been invited to perform as part of the:

  • Westwave Dance Festival at Theater Artaud (on two occasions)
  • Southwest Regional Conference of the American College Dance Festival Association at San Francisco State University
  • DanceIs Festival at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts in Berkeley, and
  • Dancing in the Park Festival at the Golden Gate Park Band Shell.