Press Releases

July 21, 2010

San Francisco Ballet Announces New Company Members for 2011 Repertory Season

SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday, July 21, 2010—San Francisco Ballet has announced the addition of 12new dancers for the 2011 Repertory Season (not included are current Apprentice Bryn Gilbert and Corps de Ballet member Jordan Hammond, who both joined the Company from the San Francisco Ballet School during the 2010 Repertory Season).

Artem Yachmennikov will join the Company as a principal dancer and Vito Mazzeo will join as a soloist. Joining the corps de ballet are Daniel Baker, former SF Ballet School students Nicole Ciapponi and Koto Ishihara, Elena Kazakova, Dustin Shane, Sebastian Vinet, and Lonnie Weeks. In addition, Kimberly Braylock, Myles Thatcher, and Sylvie Volosov have been promoted from apprentices to the corps de ballet. Those joining SF Ballet as apprentices include Caroline Wilson and former SF Ballet School students Evan Hewer, Patricia Keleher, and Raymond Tilton.The Company roster now stands at 69 dancers plus five apprentices.

All changes effective July 2010.

New Company Members

Russian native Artem Yachmennikov received his training from the Vaganova Academy. In 2001, he joined the Mariinsky Theatre Ballet as a soloist, and from 2006-08, he was a principal dancer with Het Nationale Ballet. In 2008, he joined the Bolshoi Ballet as a first soloist, where he performed principal roles in a wide variety of works including Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. In 2009, he won the Silver Medal at the Korea International Competition. Hailing from Milan, Italy, Vito Mazzeo received his early training at La Scala Ballet School. From 2005-08, Mazzeo performed with The Royal Ballet, and in 2008, joined Teatro dell’Opera. Mazzeo has performed numerous lead roles including Prince Siegfried in G. Samsova’s Swan Lake, Prince Desiree in Chalmer’s The Sleeping Beauty, Albrecht in Fracci’s Giselle, Basilio in Don Quixote, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Prince in The Nutcracker, Birbanto in Le Corsaire, and The Poet in Fokine’s Les Sylphides. He has also created new roles in contemporary ballets by Luc Bouy, Paul Chalmer, Alastair Marriott, Wayne McGregor, and Christopher Wheeldon.

Corps de Ballet
Most recently, Australian native Daniel Baker was a soloist with Miami City Ballet, having joined the company in 2006. Baker trained at the School of American Ballet on a full scholarship and among other honors, was a 2009 New York Choreographic Institute Fellowship Grant winner. Originally from Manhattan, Kimberly Braylock was a Trainee with SF Ballet School, before joining the Company as an apprentice in 2009. She has performed in a number of works with SF Ballet, including Tomasson’s Swan Lake, Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid. Koto Ishihara, from Nagoya, Japan, received her training at The Harid Conservatory and attended the School’s Summer Session before becoming a Trainee for two school years, from 2008-10. She won a Gold Medal at the Youth America Grand Prix San Francisco regionals and a Silver Medal at the Tanzolymp International Dance Festival. Canadian Nicole Ciapponi began her training at the Goh Ballet Academy in Vancouver. Ciapponi has garnered numerous accolades including a Silver Medal at the 2008 Genee International Ballet Competition, top placement in the Youth America Grand Prix, and a Gold Medal at the Dance World Cup Competition, where she was selected to represent Canada. Russian native Elena Kazakova received her training at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. In 2002, she was awarded the Apogee Award and has since been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Silver Medal at the 2006 International Dance Competition in Berlin, the Silver Medal at the 2006 USA International Ballet Competition, and the Silver Medal at the 2009 Korea International Dance Competition. In 2006, she joined the Bolshoi Ballet. Hailing from Dayton, Ohio, Dustin Shane trained at Dayton Ballet School and the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, before performing with Orlando Ballet. In 2008, Shane joined Washington Ballet where he performed works by choreographers including Balanchine, Morris, Tharp, and York. Atlanta, Georgia native Myles Thatcher was also a member of SF Ballet School’s Trainee Program before joining the Company as an apprentice in 2009. Most recently with SF Ballet, Thatcher performed in a number of works including Balanchine’s Theme & Variations, Robbins’ Opus 19/The Dreamer, and Wheeldon’s Rush. Sebastian Vinet, from Santiago, Chile, trained at Escuela de Ballet and Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy on full scholarship. From 2005-06, Vinet was an apprentice with Ballet de Santiago, before becoming an apprentice with Houston Ballet in 2009. Vinet placed at the 2009 Prix de Lausanne International Competition. Brooklyn native Sylvie Volosov, trained at the School of American Ballet and the SF Ballet School before joining the Company as an apprentice in 2009. With the Company, Volosov has performed works including Balanchine’s Serenade, Tomasson’s Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet. Hailing from Chicago, Lonnie Weeks received his training on full merit scholarship at Faubourg School of Ballet and the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Most recently, Weeks was a member of Texas Ballet Theater for four seasons. In 2007, Weeks was awarded the Bronze Medal in the Junior Division at the Shanghai International Ballet Competition and more recently, he won the Silver Medal at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition.

Four new apprentices have been appointed for the 2011 Repertory Season. As apprentices, these dancers will take Company class and perform corps de ballet roles in the Company’s diverse repertory. Ohio native Evan Hewer, most recently a Trainee with SF Ballet School, previously trained at Pontecorvo Ballet Studios. Hewer attended two School summer sessions in 2006 and 2007, before becoming a student with the SF Ballet School for the past three years. Patricia Keleher, originally from Long Beach, California, previously trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. She attended SF Ballet School’s Summer Session in 2007, before joining the School for three years, from 2007-10. California native Raymond Tilton began his training at San Elijo Dance Academy and attended the School’s Summer Session in 2004 and 2008, before becoming first a full-time student with the SF Ballet School in 2008 and then a Trainee in 2009. Caroline Wilson, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, trained on a full scholarship at John Cranko Ballet School as well as other schools such as the National Ballet School of Canada, also on scholarship. She has received a number of honors including being named a national finalist and scholar at the Youth America Grand Prix.

Subscriptions are currently on sale for the 2011 Repertory Season, January 29 through May 7, at the War Memorial Opera House. For information, call Ticket Services at 415.865.2000, or visit

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New Company Members/Level
Artem Yachmennikov Principal Dancer
Vito Mazzeo Soloist
Daniel Baker Corps de Ballet
Kimbery Braylock Corps de Ballet
Nicole Ciapponi Corps de Ballet
Koto Ishihara Corps de Ballet
Elena Kazakova Corps de Ballet
Dustin Shane Corps de Ballet
Myles Thatcher Corps de Ballet
Sebastian Vinet Corps de Ballet
Sylvie Volosov Corps de Ballet
Lonnie Weeks Corps de Ballet


New Apprentices/Training

Evan Hewer SF Ballet School
Patricia Keleher SF Ballet School
Raymond Tilton SF Ballet School
Caroline Wilson John Cranko School