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 principal character dancers. 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 principal character dancers.
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.
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.
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.
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 Principal Character Dancers
Joanna Berman/Principal Character Dancer
Kristi DeCaminada/Principal Character Dancer
Tiit Helimets/Principal Character Dancer
Jeffrey Lyons/Principal Character Dancer
Pascal Molat/Principal Character Dancer
New Company Members/Level
Katharine Lee/corps de ballet
Hui-Wen Peng/corps de ballet
Simone Pompignoli/corps de ballet
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
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET 2023–24 REPERTORY SEASON
ARTISTS OF THE COMPANY
ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Sasha De Sola
Yuan Yuan Tan
PRINCIPAL CHARACTER DANCER
Ellen Rose Hummel
CORPS DE BALLET
Rubén Cítores Nieto
Pemberley Ann Olson
João Percilio da Silva
Joshua Jack Price
Jasper True Stanford
Jamie Adele Stephens
Alexis Francisco Valdes
Raphaël Brunais Besse
EXECUTIVE REHEARSAL DIRECTOR
CHOREOGRAPHER IN RESIDENCE
MUSIC DIRECTOR AND PRINCIPAL CONDUCTOR