Press Releases

May 23, 2016

San Francisco Ballet Announces 2017 Season Company Members

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Monday, May 23, 2016—Effective immediately, San Francisco Ballet announces six promotions, five new Company members, and five apprentices for the 2017 Season. Soloist Carlo Di Lanno has been promoted to principal dancer and Francisco Mungamba, Julia Rowe, Wei Wang, and WanTing Zhao have been promoted to soloist. In addition, former SF Ballet Apprentice Blake Kessler has been appointed a member of the corps de ballet. New members of the Company’s corps de ballet include Ludmila Bizalion, Elizabeth Mateer, and Natasha Sheehan; Angelo Greco joins as a soloist and Aaron Robison as a principal dancer. Alexandre Cagnat, Shené Lazarus, Davide Occhipinti, Nathaniel Remez, and Isabella Walsh of the SF Ballet School Trainee Program have been promoted to the rank of apprentice.

Promotions
Carlo Di Lanno
, who joined the Company as a soloist in 2014, was previously with La Scala Ballet and Staatsballett Berlin. Di Lanno, who hails from Naples, Italy, has performed featured roles in a wide variety of works with SF Ballet, including Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy, and Balanchine’s Serenade. His lead roles have included Romeo in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet, Green in Dances at a Gathering, and Phlegmatic in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments. Francisco Mungamba, from Madrid, Spain, trained at the Royal Conservatory of Professional Dance and SF Ballet School, before joining the Company in 2011. He has performed in a wide range of works by choreographers including Balanchine, Cranko, MacMillan, Neumeier, Robbins, and Tomasson, among others. Julia Rowe, from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, trained at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and SF Ballet School, before joining Oregon Ballet Theatre. In 2013, Rowe joined SF Ballet as a corps de ballet member where she’s performed a wide variety of works including soloist roles in Balanchine’s Serenade and  Scarlett’s Hummingbird, demi-soloist in Wheeldon’s Rush© and Ghosts©, as well as creating a role in Tomasson’s Caprice. Wei Wang, from Anshan, China, trained at the Beijing Dance Academy and SF Ballet School. He was named an apprentice in 2012 and a corps de ballet member a year later and has performed featured roles in a wide variety of works including van Manen’s Solo, Morris’ Maelstrom, Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, and Robbins’ Glass Pieces, among others. WanTing Zhao, also from Anshan, China, trained at the Beijing Dance Academy, the Rock School for Dance Education, and SF Ballet School. Since joining the Company as a corps de ballet member in 2011, she has performed Rosaline in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet; the Queen of the Snow in Tomasson’s Nutcracker; the first solo in Nureyev’s Raymonda—Act III; and “Cigarette,” pas de deux, and pas de trois in Lifar’s Suite en Blanc. Blake Kessler, from Jacksonville, Florida, was a member of the SF Ballet School Trainee Program before becoming an apprentice in 2015. Over the past season, he has performed corps de ballet roles in works such as Balanchine’s “Rubies,” Scarlett’s Fearful Symmetries, and Cranko’s Onegin, among others.

New Company Members
Ludmila Bizalion, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a former dancer with SF Ballet and was named an apprentice in 2006, before being promoted to a corps de ballet member in 2007. After four years with SF Ballet, Bizalion danced with Royal Ballet of Flanders, the Hong Kong Ballet, and most recently, Diablo Ballet. Italian-born Angelo Greco trained at the La Scala Ballet School before joining La Scala Ballet as a corps de ballet member in 2013. His repertory includes Basilio in Nureyev’s Don Quixote, Romeo in MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet, Prince Desiré and Blue Bird in Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty, and Bim in Béjart’s Gaîté Parisienne. He is also the recipient of numerous awards including Outstanding Artistry Award presented by Dance Europe for 2011 and 2012. Elizabeth Mateer’s training included receiving a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet summer course, where she was invited to study full-time for two years. Mateer, from Boca Raton, Florida, also attended summer programs at Boston Ballet School and Pacific Northwest Ballet School on scholarship. In 2009, Mateer joined Pennsylvania Ballet II, was promoted to apprentice for the 2011-12 season and was again promoted to the corps de ballet for the 2012-13 Season. Since joining that company, she has danced in numerous ballets including works by choreographers such as Balanchine, Ratmansky, Robbins, and Wheeldon. Aaron Robison hails from Coventry, England and trained at a number of schools in Spain, as well as London’s Royal Ballet School. In 2012, he joined Houston Ballet as a soloist and in 2015, he was promoted to first soloist there. His repertory includes Oberon in Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Prince Siegfried in Welch’s Swan Lake, Phlegmatic in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, and Petruccio in Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew. He is the recipient of many awards including the Encouragement award at the Prix de Lausanne. Natasha Sheehan, from San Francisco, California, entered SF Ballet School during the 2010-11 school year and performed the role of Clara in Tomasson’s Nutcracker the same year and during the 2011-12 school year. She attended the Paris Opera School summer intensive in 2014 and joined SF Ballet School’s Trainee Program the same year. Sheehan’s Company roles include Tomasson’s Swan Lake and Giselle, as well as Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote, among others.

New Apprentices
Five SF Ballet School students have been named apprentices for the 2017 Season. They are: Alexandre Cagnat (Grasse, France), Shené Lazarus (Brisbane, Australia), Davide Occhipinti (Rome, Italy), Nathaniel Remez (Washington, D.C.), and Isabella Walsh (Rolling Hills, California). As apprentices, dancers will take Company class and perform corps de ballet roles in SF Ballet productions. 

Principal Series subscriptions for the 2017 Season will go on sale to the general public on June 15. The season will run from January 24 to May 7 at the War Memorial Opera House. For information, call the Ticket Services Office at 415.865.2000, or visit sfballet.org.

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Promotions/Level

Carlo Di Lanno Principal Dancer
Blake Kessler Corps de Ballet
Francisco Mungamba Soloist
Julia Rowe     Soloist
Wei Wang    Soloist
WanTing Zhao   Soloist

New Company Members/Level

Ludmila Bizalion Corps de Ballet
Angelo Greco     Soloist
Elizabeth Mateer   Corps de Ballet
Aaron Robison    Principal Dancer
Natasha Sheehan Corps de Ballet

New Apprentices/Training

Alexandre Cagnat SF Ballet School
Shené Lazarus    SF Ballet School
Davide Occhipinti  SF Ballet School
Nathaniel Remez  SF Ballet School
Isabella Walsh SF Ballet School