San Francisco Ballet Announces 2017-18 Season Company Members
SAN FRANCISCO, Monday, June 5, 2017—San Francisco Ballet announces ten promotions, eight new Company members, and six apprentices for the 2017-18 Season. Soloist Jennifer Stahl has been promoted to principal dancer, and Isabella DeVivo, Jahna Frantziskonis, Esteban Hernandez, and Steven Morse have been promoted to soloist. In addition, SF Ballet Apprentices Alexandre Cagnat, Shené Lazarus, Davide Occhipinti, Nathaniel Remez, and Isabella Walsh have been promoted to the corps de ballet. Ulrik Birkkjaer and Ana Sophia Scheller join the Company as principal dancers and Solomon Golding, Gabriela Gonzalez, Blake Johnston, Madison Keesler, Wona Park, and Joseph Warton have joined SF Ballet as corps de ballet members. Ethan Chudnow, Anatalia Hordov, Carmela Mayo, Swane Messaoudi, Larisa Nugent, and Benjamin Pearson of San Francisco Ballet School have been promoted to the rank of apprentice.
Jennifer Stahl joined SF Ballet in 2005 as an apprentice. Born in Dana Point, California, she trained at Maria Lazar’s Classical Ballet Academy as well as at SF Ballet School before joining the Company. She was named a corps de ballet member in 2006 and was promoted to soloist in 2013. Stahl has performed a wide range of featured roles by choreographers including George Balanchine, David Bintley, Jorma Elo, John Neumeier, James Kudelka, Jerome Robbins, and Christopher Wheeldon, among others. She has created roles in works such as William Forsythe’s Pas/Parts 2016, Mark Morris’ Joyride, and Myles Thatcher’s Manifesto, among others. Isabella DeVivo was born in Great Neck, New York and joined the Company as a corps de ballet member in 2013. In addition to SF Ballet School, where she was a Trainee, DeVivo also trained at the School of American Ballet. With the Company, she has performed diverse works by choreographers including Forsythe, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Morris, Yuri Possokhov, and Thatcher. She has also performed featured and principal roles in works such as Tomasson’s Giselle, Val Caniparoli’s Tears, and Justin Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings, among others. Jahna Frantziskonis, born in Tucson, Arizona, trained and danced at a number of institutions including the School of American Ballet, Ballet Arts Tucson, American Ballet Theatre, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 2015, she joined the Company as a corps de ballet member and has performed works by a variety of choreographers including John Cranko, Peck, Morris, Liam Scarlett, and Wheeldon. She has also performed principal and featured roles in works such as Tomasson’s Nutcracker and Swan Lake, as well as Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, among others. Esteban Hernandez, born in Guadalajara, Mexico, trained at a number of institutions including The Rock School for Dance Education and The Royal Ballet School. He joined the Company as a corps de ballet member in 2013 and his repertory includes works by Cranko, Serge Lifar, Robbins, Scarlett, and Wheeldon. He has also performed principal and featured roles in works such as Johan Kobborg’s Les Lutins, Possokhov’s Magrittomania, and Tomasson’s Concerto Grosso. Born in Harbor City, California, Steven Morse joined the Company in 2009 as a corps de ballet member, having trained at a number of academies including the SF Ballet School, where he was a Trainee. He has performed works by choreographers such as Balanchine, Caniparoli, Forsythe, Morris, and Alexei Ratmansky. He has also performed featured and principal roles in Scarlett’s Fearful Symmetries, Thatcher’s Manifesto, and Tomasson’s Caprice, among others.
Alexandre Cagnat was born in Grasse, France and trained at a number of schools including Paris Opera Ballet School and SF Ballet School, where he was a Trainee. He joined the Company in 2016 as an apprentice and has performed in such works as Balanchine’s Diamonds, Scarlett’s Frankenstein, and Tomasson’s Swan Lake. Shené Lazarus was born in Durban, South Africa and trained at the Prudence Bowery Atelier, in addition to SF Ballet School, where she was a Trainee before joining the Company as an apprentice in 2016. Lazarus has performed in works such as Scarlett’s Frankenstein, Balanchine’s Diamonds, and Tomasson’s Swan Lake. Davide Occhipinti, born in Rome, Italy, trained at SF Ballet School, where he was a Trainee. He was appointed an apprentice in 2016 and has performed in works such as Jiří Bubeníček’s Fragile Vessels, Peck’s In the Countenance of Kings, and Wheeldon’s Cinderella©. Nathaniel Remez, born in Washington, DC, trained at Maryland Youth Ballet and SF Ballet School, where he was a Trainee. He joined the Company in 2016 and has performed in works such as Arthur Pita’s Salome, Tomasson’s Swan Lake, and Wheeldon’s Cinderella©. Isabella Walsh, born in Rolling Hills, California, trained at SF Ballet School, where she was a Trainee, before becoming an apprentice in 2016. Walsh has performed in works such as Scarlett’s Frankenstein, Tomasson’s Swan Lake, and Wheeldon’s Cinderella©.
New Company Members
Copenhagen-born Ulrik Birkkjaer worked with a number of teachers and received his training at The Royal Danish Ballet School. In 2002, he joined The Royal Danish Ballet as an apprentice, was promoted to the corps de ballet in 2004, to the rank of soloist in 2007, and to principal dancer two years later. His diverse repertory includes principal roles such as Romeo in Neumeier’s Romeo and Juliet, the Prince in Wheeldon’s Sleeping Beauty, Des Grieux in MacMillan’s Manon, and works by choreographers such as Balanchine, August Bournonville, Nikolaj Hübbe, Jiří Kylián, and Ratmansky, among others. Works created on him include Peter Martins’ Octet, Ratmansky’s Golden Cockerel, and Wheeldon’s The Wanderers. Among his many accolades, Birkkjaer won a Gold Medal at the Erik Bruhn Competition in 2007. Ana Sophia Scheller, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, began her training at Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colon and then School of American Ballet. She joined American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company in 2003 and a year later, New York City Ballet as a corps de ballet member. In 2006, she was promoted to soloist and six years later, to principal dancer. Her repertory includes featured roles in a wide variety of works including Balanchine’s Apollo, Divertimento No. 15, and The Four Temperaments; Aurora and other roles in Martins’ The Sleeping Beauty, as well as Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH, among others. In 2003, Scheller was a recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise. Solomon Golding, born in London, joins the corps de ballet from The Royal Ballet where he danced a range of works such as Wheeldon’s Alice in Wonderland, Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, MacMillan’s Manon, and Balanchine’s Jewels, among other works. His honors include being named a Finalist at the Young British Dancer of the Year competition (2010-11). He danced with Hong Kong Ballet from 2012-13. Gabriela Gonzalez, born in Mérida, Mexico, trained at a number of institutions including Miami City Ballet School on full scholarship and the summer program at the School of American Ballet, on scholarship. She served as an apprentice at Miami City Ballet from 2007-09 and as a soloist at Italy’s Balletto del Sud. Most recently, she was a demi-soloist at Tulsa Ballet, from 2011-17. Her repertory includes works by Balanchine, Wayne McGregor, and Nacho Duato, among others. Blake Johnston, born in Gastonia, North Carolina, trained at the Charlotte Ballet Academy, in addition to SF Ballet School where she was a Trainee. Last year, she entered into a Traineeship in Choreography, the first of its kind, with the School. Her work Filamentous, set to music by Bryce Dessner, was premiered at the 2017 Student Showcase. Madison Keesler, from Carlsbad, California, trained at Zamuel Ballet School, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and SF Ballet School. She danced with Hamburg Ballet from 2008-09 and was a corps de ballet member with SF Ballet from 2009-13. Most recently, Keesler has been a First Artist with English National Ballet, where she has performed many lead roles including Giselle in Akram Khan’s Giselle, plus works by Scarlett, Marius Petipa, and Wayne Eagling. Wona Park, born in Seoul, South Korea, trained at Sunhwa Arts School, before joining San Francisco Ballet School, where she was a Trainee. Joseph Warton, born in Beaverton, Oregon, trained at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, in addition to the SF Ballet School, where he was a Trainee.
Six SF Ballet School students have been named apprentices for the 2017-18 Season. They are: Ethan Chudnow, Anatalia Hordov, Carmela Mayo, Swane Messaoudi, Larisa Nugent, and Benjamin Pearson. As apprentices, dancers will take Company class and perform corps de ballet roles in SF Ballet productions.
Principal Series subscriptions for the 2018 Repertory Season will go on sale to the general public on June 27. The season will run from January 23 through May 6 at the War Memorial Opera House. For information, call the Ticket Services Office at 415 865 2000, or visit sfballet.org.
* * * *
|Alexandre Cagnat||Corps de Ballet|
|David Occhipinti||Corps de Ballet|
|Shené Lazarus||Corps de Ballet|
|Nathaniel Remez||Corps de Ballet|
|Isabella Walsh||Corps de Ballet|
New Company Members/Level
|Ana Sophia Scheller||Principal|
|Solomon Golding||Corps de Ballet|
|Gabriela Gonzalez||Corps de Ballet|
|Blake Johnston||Corps de Ballet|
|Madison Keesler||Corps de Ballet|
|Wona Park||Corps de Ballet|
|Joseph Warton||Corps de Ballet|
|Ethan Chudnow||SF Ballet School|
|Anatalia Hordov||SF Ballet School|
|Carmela Mayo||SF Ballet School|
|Swane Messaoudi||SF Ballet School|
|Larisa Nugent||SF Ballet School|
|Benjamin Pearson||SF Ballet School|