Vanessa Zahorian (© David Allen)
Joined in 1997. Promoted to Soloist in 1999, to Principal Dancer in 2002.
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Vanessa Zahorian trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. After an apprenticeship at Russia’s Kirov Ballet, she joined San Francisco Ballet in 1997. She was promoted to soloist in 1999 and to principal dancer in 2002. Zahorian has danced the lead roles in works such as Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, Giselle, and Nutcracker; Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote; Balanchine’s Coppélia; and Morris’ Sylvia. She has created roles in Elo’s Double Evil; Possokhov’s Fusion; and Tomasson’s Blue Rose, On a Theme of Paganini, and Trio; among others. Her diverse repertory includes principal roles in Adam's Night; Balanchine’s Symphony in C, Serenade, Ballo della Regina, Allegro Brillante, Apollo, Square Dance, and “Diamonds”; Bintley’s The Dance House; Lander’s Etudes; MacMillan’s Winter Dreams; van Manen’s Black Cake and Grosse Fuge; McGregor’s Chroma and Eden/Eden; Mrozewski’s Concordia; Possokhov’s Study in Motion and Reflections; Robbins’ Dybbuk, The Cage, The Concert, Fancy Free, and Dances at a Gathering; Taylor’s Spring Rounds; Tomasson’s Prism, Le Quattro Stagioni, and 7 for Eight; Welch’s Tu Tu and Falling; and Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, Continuum, and Rush. Her honors include best couple (with Davit Karapetyan), senior division, USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi in 2006; the Erik Bruhn Prize in 1999; and Best Young Soloist at the 2nd International Ballet Competition in Budapest in 1996. She has been a guest artist with numerous companies and has performed at galas around the world. In December 2008, Zahorian was featured as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the PBS Great Performances broadcast of Tomasson’s Nutcracker, co-produced by San Francisco Ballet and KQED Public Television San Francisco, in association with Thirteen/WNET New York.