Former professional ballet dancer
Certified RIE Vinyasa Flow yoga instructor
I was recruited into ballet by Lila Zali, founder of Ballet Pacifica in Laguna Beach and wife of Anna Pavlova’s personal cellist. A deal was struck while I was in the womb between my mother (also a dancer) and Lila, that I would attend classes because she needed men. Part of a tribe of Grande Dames, whose contagious passion for dance infected anyone within a hundred yards, Lila and her posse selflessly and graciously sought to jostle the sleepy seaside town inhabitants out of their slumber and herald the beautiful, powerful and expressive art of ballet into their bodies, minds, hearts and theatres. They taught technique classes, sewed costumes, drank vodka, sewed more costumes, built sets, choreographed Swan Lake and Don Quixote, sold tickets, danced, struck the sets and were the last to leave after final curtain…then drank more vodka.
All told, Lila trained hundreds of dancers, was the sentinel figure and director of Ballet Pacifica for 34 years, put scores of dancers into companies like American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Washington Ballet and a handful of her dancers took on roles as directors of ballet companies. Lila sewed my costume for The Nutcracker (from sleeve to sleeve, about 3’), and I danced in recitals. I remember the mirrors would fog up from intense physical exertion, the smell of sweat, the sound of Lila’s cane tapping out counts, the beautiful old woman (Mary) in her floral hat and dress that played at the piano and the intense sense of happiness and passion that was given flight by this matriarch, this luminary of dance, who embraced that passion, steeped it in technique and launched dreams into an instrument of expression.
In New York I studied under Peff Modelski, Wilhelm Burmann and Robert Blankshine. In California under Gilbert Reed, Richard Gibson and Paul Maure, among others.
I performed in principal and soloist roles under Trey McIntyre (Poulenc Variations), Jim Jones (Rhapsody in Blue), Colin Conner (Fugue and Variations), Mariana Tacarnassy (Romeo and Juliet), Lila Zali (Le Femme Le Garde), Silvia Pas De Deux, Swan Lake pas de Deux, Kathy Kahn (Rustic Concerto), Phillip Jerry of the Joffrey Ballet (Our Town), and also in The Nutcracker once again, this time as a host of characters, including "The Nutcracker Prince."
I have performed with The Gilbert Reed Chamber Dancers, The Kirov Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, The Glenwood Dance Academy and San Diego Ballet. I have choreographed and danced in soloist roles with David Taylor in A Rodeo, as well as choreographed Don Quixote for the Glenwood Center for the Arts and the Orchesis Dance Company at San Luis Obispo State University (where I earned a degree in English Literature).
As a Certified RIE Vinyasa Flow yoga instructor and Pilates and ballet teacher with four decades of dance training, performing and instructing, and as owner/co-founder of Coredination and the Bonedale Ballet,
I am very grateful for the my teachers and what my experiences have taught me:
- Getting the right training at a young age is key.
- Passion is nothing without daily training to hone your instrument.
- Qualified teachers with a professional history is instrumental and cannot be faked.
- Core strength tunes the dance instrument to reach new levels of expression.
- Performance experience under a trained eye makes the connection between passion and fulfillment as an artist.
- Coredination and Bonedale Ballet with their expanded space in the Bridges High school (next to the library) and growing dance program is prepared to bring professional training and performance to youth, teen and adult core-movers and dancers.