New Diablo Ballet School to Celebrate Opening with Festivities, Free Events


July 26-Diablo Ballet is opening its own ballet school on August 26, offering classes to students ages three to adult. It is the first school in the East Bay to be run by a professional ballet company. The new school's location at the Performing Academy in Pleasant Hill will also be the Diablo Ballet Company's new rehearsal studio. The school's dual mission is to train classical ballet dancers who wish to pursue a professional career in ballet and to offer young children and adults in the Bay Area an introduction to classic ballet and the joy of dance.

Joanna Berman. Photo by Bilha Sperling.
Joanna Berman. Photo by Bilha Sperling.

The School's staff includes Rebecca Berke, Associate Director, Raymond Tilton, School Principal and company dancer, as well as Diablo Ballet's company dancers. Master Classes offered include a Master Class in Technique by Joanna Berman, former principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet and Diablo Ballet's Regisseur, a Master Class in Choreography offered by Julia Adam, master choreographer and former principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet, and a Master Class in Balanchine Technique offered by Sandra Jennings, Balanchine Repeteur.

Education has become part of Diablo Ballet's mission. Since Diablo Ballet Company was founded twenty-five years ago by Artistic Director Lauren Jonas, the Company has not only presented classical and contemporary ballets, but involved under-served children and incarcerated teenage girls through its PEEK Outreach Programs, which are designed to teach students to express their feelings through movement and teamwork. This month the Company is launching a new program serving adolescents housed at the Behavioral Therapy Unit at John Muir Hospital in Concord.

Students will have the opportunity to perform with the Diablo Ballet Company, including in the March performances of Coppélia with the Diablo Symphony Orchestra at the Lesher Center for the Arts. Students can also take advantage of the benefits of a professional ballet company, which include the Company's sports medicine physician, acupuncturist, and physical therapists. Students will also be invited to classes on nutrition and preventing injuries.

Joanna Berman, former principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet and Diablo Ballet's Regisseur, will celebrate the school's opening with an Advanced Ballet class on Monday, August 26 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm with Raymond Tilton; the other levels are invited to participate or watch. "Excellent training is essential for a professional career in ballet," Ms. Berman said, "I'm thrilled that Diablo Ballet School will be providing such training to young dancers in the East Bay." 

The school will celebrate the opening with two free events: a day of fashion, food and fun on August 17 at 11:00 am at Macy's Walnut Creek, and a Family Day with Diablo Ballet, sponsored by Macy's, Diablo magazine and Broadway Plaza. The school will also host an Open House on August 18 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. All interested students and families are invited to tour the new studios, meet Diablo Ballet School faculty and staff, and enjoy food and drinks before regular classes begin on August 26. For more information, see