San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson's Swan Lake // © Erik Tomasson

Press Release

Press Release


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, MAY 22, 2023—San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) announces the appointment of eight new corps de ballet members and new and returning character artists. Effective July 1, Katharine Lee, Hui-Wen Peng, and Simone Pompignoli are appointed to SF Ballet’s corps de ballet, and apprentices Jihyun Choi, Benjamin Davidoff, Jasper True Stanford, Angela Watson, and Seojeong Yun are promoted to the corps de ballet. Former Principal Dancers Joanna Berman, Pascal Molat, and Tiit Helimets and longtime SF Ballet School faculty Kristi DeCaminada and Jeffrey Lyons will join as character artists.

Parker Garrison, who began the 2022–23 Season as an apprentice, was promoted to the corps de ballet in January. SF Ballet will announce additional corps de ballet members later this summer.

New Members
Katharine Lee is a graduate of English National Ballet School, and previously studied with The Washington School of Ballet from 2009 to 2018. Currently at Northern Ballet, Lee’s repertoire has included Swan Lake (Four Cygnets), The Great Gatsby (Young Daisy), and corps roles in Mthuthuzeli November’s Wailers and Drew McOnie’s Merlin. She performed in Akram Khan’s Giselle while at ENB School and attended the SF Ballet School summer program studying with Patrick Armand, Tina LeBlanc, and Sofiane Sylve in 2017 and 2018.

Hui-Wen Peng was born in Taichung, Taiwan and began her initial training with Peiyu Wu and Maiying Lin. In 2015, she won the Taiwan Grand Prix gold medal, which awarded Peng a full scholarship to National Conservatory Dance School of Lisbon and The Harid Conservatory, where she received the Dance Study Award in 2016 and 2017. She began to study at The Washington School of Ballet under the direction of Xiomara Reyes and Rinat Imaev in 2017. Peng became a trainee for The Washington Ballet under the direction of Julie Kent and former SF Ballet Principal Dancer Ruben Martin for the 2018–19 season. From 2019 to 2022, Peng was a member of Atlanta Ballet II under the direction of former SF Ballet Principal Dancer Gennadi Nedvigin, where her repertory included principal roles in The Swan Princess and Snow White, both choreographed by Bruce Wells. In 2022, Peng was awarded the silver medal in the senior category at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition.

Simone Pompignoli was born in Forli, Italy, and began his ballet training at the Ateneo Danza. Pompignoli attended the 2013 Youth American Grand Prix competition in Belgium where he made it to the finals in New York; during that time, he attended the American Ballet Theatre’s Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis School. In September 2014 he began training at the John Cranko School. During his time in Germany, Simone had the opportunity to dance in several pieces for the school including Italiana by Nicola Biasutti, Alrededor no hay nada by Goyo Montero, and Classical Symphony by SF Ballet Choreographer in Residence Yuri Possokhov.  He completed his ballet training at John Cranko School in 2018 under the guidance of Dimitri Magitov, joining Tulsa Ballet II later that year. Simone joined the Tulsa Ballet in 2020 as an apprentice and joined the corps de ballet in 2021.  While at the Tulsa Ballet his corps repertoire has included Val Caniparoli’s The Nutcracker, Ben Stevenson’s Dracula, and Vendetta by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.

New Apprentices
Six SF Ballet School Trainees have been named apprentices for the 2023­–24 season: Sofia Albers, Raphaël Brunais Besse, Eduardo Cazarez, Jacey Gailliard, Mimi Lamar, and Dylan Pierzina. As apprentices, dancers will take company class and perform corps de ballet roles in SF Ballet productions.

Please contact Kate McKinney, Senior Manager, PR at kmckinney@sfballet.org with any questions. Headshots of Lee, Peng, and Pompignoli are available in the press photo database (login required).

Jihyun Choi/corps de ballet
Benjamin Davidoff/corps de ballet
Jasper True Stanford/corps de ballet
Angela Watson/corps de ballet
Seojeong Yun/corps de ballet
Parker Garrison/corps de ballet (previously announced)

New Character Artists
Joanna Berman/Character Artist
Kristi DeCaminada/Character Artist
Tiit Helimets/Character Artist
Jeffrey Lyons/Character Artist
Pascal Molat/Character Artist

New Company Members/Level
Katharine Lee/corps de ballet
Hui-Wen Peng/corps de ballet
Simone Pompignoli/corps de ballet

New Apprentices/Training
Sofia Albers/San Francisco Ballet School
Raphaël Brunais Besse/San Francisco Ballet School
Eduardo Cazarez/San Francisco Ballet School
Jacey Gailliard/San Francisco Ballet School
Mimi Lamar/San Francisco Ballet School
Dylan Pierzina/San Francisco Ballet School


Tamara Rojo

Kerry Nicholls

Frances Chung
Sasha De Sola
Nikisha Fogo
Angelo Greco
Esteban Hernández
Isaac Hernández
Luke Ingham
Misa Kuranaga
Wona Park
Aaron Robison
Jennifer Stahl
Yuan Yuan Tan
Joseph Walsh
Wei Wang
WanTing Zhao

Joanna Berman
Ricardo Bustamante
Val Caniparoli
Kristi DeCaminada
Tiit Helimets
Jeffrey Lyons
Pascal Molat
Katita Waldo

Katherine Barkman
Cavan Conley
Diego Cruz
Daniel Deivison-Oliveira
Isabella DeVivo
Ellen Rose Hummel
Jasmine Jimison
Norika Matsuyama
Steven Morse
Sasha Mukhamedov
Elizabeth Powell
Julia Rowe
Henry Sidford
Myles Thatcher
Lonnie Weeks

Kamryn Baldwin
Juliana Bellissimo
Sean Bennett
Samantha Bristow
Olivia Brothers
Jihyun Choi
Thamires Chuvas
Rubén Cítores Nieto
Benjamin Davidoff
Luca Ferrò
Parker Garrison
Gabriela Gonzalez
Lleyton Ho
Anatalia Hordov
Blake Johnston
Andris Kundzins
Katharine Lee
SunMin Lee
Elizabeth Mateer
Carmela Mayo
Swane Messaoudi
Nicole Moyer
Davide Occhipinti
Pemberley Ann Olson
Hui-Wen Peng
João Percilio da Silva
Simone Pompignoli
Joshua Jack Price
Leili Rackow
Nathaniel Remez
Alexander Reneff-Olson
Jacob Seltzer
Jasper True Stanford
Tyla Steinbach
Jamie Adele Stephens
Alexis Francisco Valdes
Mingxuan Wang
Maggie Weirich
Angela Watson
Seojeong Yun
Adrian Zeisel

Sofia Albers
Raphaël Brunais Besse
Eduardo Cazarez
Jacey Gailliard
Mimi Lamar
Dylan Pierzina

Felipe Diaz

Joanna Berman
Ricardo Bustamante
Tina LeBlanc
Katita Waldo 

Yuri Possokhov

Martin West