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2002-2003 Dancer promotions and new company members

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Thank you, Terry!

Press releases are postable :) so here 'tis.


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Wednesday, July 10, 2002 ? San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson announced today the promotion of three Company members and the addition of seven new dancers for the 2002-2003 Season. Gonzalo Garcia and Vanessa Zahorian have been promoted from soloists to principal dancers and Nicole Starbuck has been promoted to soloist from the corps de ballet. Pascal Molat and Sarah Van Patten will join the company as soloists. New corps de ballet members are Brett Bauer, who joins directly from San Francisco Ballet School, and Jaime Garcia Castilla, Margaret Karl, Jonathan Mangosing and Mariellen Olson, who were all apprentices last season. The Company roster now stands at 69 dancers.

Also announced today are two changes to the artistic staff of San Francisco Ballet. Ballet Mistress Elyse Borne will depart to continue staging Balanchine ballets for the George Balanchine Trust. A member of the artistic staff since 1997, Borne has staged Balanchine ballets for San Francisco Ballet, including last season?s premiere of Jewels. Sandra Jennings will join the artistic staff as ballet mistress. Jennings danced as a soloist for George Balanchine's New York City Ballet and most recently served as ballet mistress for Pennsylvania Ballet. As a repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, she travels extensively throughout the United States and abroad staging Balanchine?s ballets. In addition, she has taught as a guest teacher for San Francisco Ballet School?s Summer Session since the summer 2000.

All changes effective July 1, 2002.


Born in Zaragoza, Spain, Gonzalo Garcia joined San Francisco Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 1998. He trained in Spain at the school of Maria de Avila before enrolling at San Francisco Ballet School in 1995, the same year he became the youngest dancer to win the gold medal at the Prix de Lausanne competition. He joined the Company in 1998 and was promoted to soloist after the 2000 Repertory Season. He has danced principal roles in works such as Balanchine?s Prodigal Son and Symphony in C, Tomasson?s Prism and Tuning Game, Lubovitch?s Othello, Wheeldon?s Continuum, and Robbins? Dances at a Gathering. He received the Princess Grace Award in 2000.

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Vanessa Zahorian trained with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She apprenticed at the Kirov Ballet prior to joining San Francisco Ballet?s corps in 1997, and she was promoted to soloist in 1999. This past season she danced leading roles in such ballets as Tomasson?s The Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, and Prism; Balanchine?s Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements, and Theme and Variations; Julia Adam?s Night; Christopher Wheeldon?s Sea Pictures ; among others. Zahorian has earned numerous awards including the Erik Bruhn Prize at the Fifth International Competition in 2000, the Best Young Soloist award at the Nureyev International Ballet Competition in Budapest in 1996, and the bronze medal at the Second International Ballet and Modern Dance Competition in Nagoya, Japan that same year.

A native San Franciscan, Nicole Starbuck trained with Margaret Swarthout at Marin Ballet (now called Marin Dance Theatre), Mary Paula Ballet in Petaluma, and San Francisco Ballet School before becoming an apprentice in 1994. She joined the corps de ballet the following year, and has since danced featured roles in Tomasson?s Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, and The Sleeping Beauty; Balanchine?s Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements, Theme and Variations; Yuri Possokhov?s Damned, and others. She performed in the world premiere of choreographer Julia Adam?s Thirteen Lullabies at the Bay Area Dance Series in the summer of 1996. She was a finalist in the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi in 1994 and was awarded third place in National Foundation of Arts Competition the same year.

New Company Members

Pascal Molat joins San Francisco Ballet as a soloist from Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. Previously he worked with the Royal Ballet of Wallonie and the Royal Ballet of Flanders. He has performed a diverse repertory, including works by Karole Armitage, William Forsythe, and Jiri Kylian. Principal roles include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, the Nutcracker in The Nutcracker Circus, and the King in La Belle, all choreographed by Jean-Christophe Maillot, director and choreographer of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo.

New soloist Sarah Van Patten trained with Jacqueline Cronsberg at Ballet Workshop of New England. She became an apprentice with the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen in 2000, and was hired as a corps de ballet member in 2001. She has danced soloist roles with the company in several ballets, including Peter Martins? Hallelujah Junction and Balanchine?s Symphony in Three Movements, and she was cast as Juliet in John Neumeier?s Romeo and Juliet.

As a student at San Francisco Ballet School, new corps de ballet member Brett Bauer has performed with the Company in such ballets as Jerome Robbins? Fanfare and Tomasson?s Giselle . He trained at the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C., and the National Ballet School of Canada, and he has toured with Suzanne Farrell Ballet Company.

Jaime Garcia Castilla, Margaret Karl, Jonathan Mangosing and Mariellen Olson, who worked as apprentices with San Francisco Ballet last season, have been contracted as members of the corps de ballet for the 2003 Season. As apprentices, the dancers took Company class and performed corps de ballet roles in the Company?s diverse repertory. Jaime Garcia Castilla trained at the Royal Conservatory of Professional Dance in Madrid. He won the People?s Prize at the International Competition in Zaragoza, and the Prize of Excellence and the Contemporary Dance Prize at the 2001 Prix de Lausanne. Born in Stockton, California, Margaret Karl began studying at San Francisco Ballet School at the age of eight. The Keith White Memorial Scholarship supported Karl?s studies at the School from 1997 to 2001. In January 2001 she was awarded a cash prize from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Jonathan Mangosing received much of his training at San Francisco Ballet School. The Christopher Boatwright Memorial Endowed Scholarship supported Mangosing?s studies at San Francisco Ballet School from 1997 to 2001. Mariellen Olson trained at San Francisco Ballet School, San Jose Dance Theatre, Tuzer Ballet in Richardson, Texas, and Dance Theatre Seven in Marin County.

New Apprentices

Tomasson has named five new apprentices for the 2003 season: Courtney Elizabeth, Whitney Herr, Ashley Ivory, Emily Tedesco, and Brett VanSickle. Courtney Elizabeth received her training from Charlotte School of Ballet in North Carolina, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and San Francisco Ballet. Whitney Herr trained at Ballet Arts in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, prior to joining San Francisco Ballet School. Ashley Ivory studied at Contra Costa Ballet Centre before joining San Francisco Ballet School. She toured with the Company on its tour to Spain in the summer of 2001. Prior to joining San Francisco Ballet School, Emily Tedesco trained at several academies in her home state of New York: the School of American Ballet, Ballet Arts Theatre, Carousel Cities Youth Ballet, and the Dance Shoppe. Canadian Brett VanSickle comes directly from American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, where he danced a variety of works including Julia Adam?s The Shroud. Previously he trained at the National Ballet School of Canada and the Hamilton Ballet School.

Name Change

Please note that soloist Catherine Baker will now go by her married name, Catherine Winfield.

The dancers are currently preparing for a four-city United States tour that takes them to Reno/Lake Tahoe; Orange County, California; New York City; and Washington, D.C. San Francisco Ballet will present its annual free performance at the Stern Grove Festival on Sunday, July 21 at 2:00 p.m. Subscriptions are currently on sale for San Francisco Ballet?s 2003 Repertory Season, February through May at the War Memorial Opera House. For information, call the Ticket Services Office at (415) 865-2000, or visit www.sfballet.org.

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Just a note to correct something in the SFB press release.

In regard to Nicole Starbuck: The Marin Ballet still exists as the Marin Ballet (in San Rafael, Ca.) Margaret Swarthout left that organization to found the Marin Dance Theatre.



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