San Rafael, California
San Francisco Ballet School
Joined in 1984
Retired in 2002
Joined as Rehearsal Director in 2022
Named Principal Character Dancer in 2023
Joanna Berman was born and raised in San Rafael, California, where she received her dance training under Maria Vegh and Margaret Swarthout at Marin Ballet. In 1984, after one year at San Francisco Ballet School, she joined the Company and was promoted to soloist in 1987. In 1988, Berman became a principal dancer, until her retirement in 2002. During her tenure, she danced the lead role in full-length ballets such as Giselle, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Romeo and Juliet, in addition to numerous contemporary and classical works.
Berman had works created for her by choreographers including Mark Morris, Christopher Wheeldon, Val Caniparoli, Helgi Tomasson, David Bintley, Julia Adam, Christopher Stowell, Yuri Possokhov, and many others. In 1994 and 2000, she was the recipient of the Isadora Duncan Dance Award. In addition to her extensive performance credits, Joanna has staged works by Christopher Wheeldon, Val Caniparoli, Mark Morris, and Marius Petipa. She has served as a guest teacher and regisseur for San Francisco Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Diablo Ballet, and The National Ballet of Canada.
Berman joined SF Ballet as a principal character dancer for the 2023–24 Season.