San Francisco Ballet Announces Dancer Promotions and New Hires

‘Odette’ will comment later, but knew you’d want this news ‘pronto’!:  


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 20, 2011–San Francisco Ballet has announced four promotions, as well as the addition of six new apprentices and two new Company members for the 2012 Repertory Season. Soloist Vito Mazzeo has been promoted to principal dancer effective July 1, 2011. In addition, Patricia Keleher, Raymond Tilton and Caroline Diane Wilson, apprentices during the 2011 Repertory Season, will join the ranks of the corps de ballet effective July 1, along with former San Francisco Ballet School Trainees Francisco Mungamba and WanTing Zhao. A complete and updated announcement and Company roster will be distributed in July.

Born in Vibo Valentia, Italy, Vito Mazzeo began his training at La Scala Ballet School in Milan. In 2005, he joined the Royal Ballet where he danced for several years, prior to joining Rome Opera Ballet in 2008. In 2010, Mazzeo received the Premio Positano Leonide Massine Award for Best Italian Dancer as well as the Danza & Danza Award for Best Dancer of the Year. As a soloist with SF Ballet, Mazzeo performed the role of Albrecht in Giselle. His repertory with the Company also includes George Balanchine’s Symphony in C, Helgi Tomasson’s Trio, William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Winter Dreams, Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Number Nine.

Patricia Keleher was born in Long Beach, California and previously trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. She attended SF Ballet School’s Summer Session in 2007, before joining the School for three years, from 2007-10. California native Raymond Tilton began his training at San Elijo Dance Academy and attended the School’s Summer Session in 2004 and 2008. He became a full-time student with the SF Ballet School in 2008 and then a Trainee in 2009. Caroline Diane Wilson, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, trained on a full scholarship at John Cranko Ballet School as well as other institutions such as the National Ballet School of Canada, also on scholarship. In 2007 she attended SF Ballet School’s Summer Session. She has received a number of honors including being named a national finalist and scholar at the Youth America Grand Prix.

New Company Members
Francisco Mungamba, born in Madrid, Spain, is a graduate of Spain’s Real Conservatorio Profesional de Danze, and the School’s Trainee Program. In 2010 he was a Prix de Lausanne Prize Winner in Switzerland. Hailing from Anshan-Liaoning, China, WanTing Zhao, most recently a Trainee with the SF Ballet School, will also join the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. Prior to the SF Ballet School, she was a graduate of the Beijing Dance Academy in China and the Rock School for Dance in Philadelphia. She was also a silver medal winner in the 2010 Youth America Grand Prix.

New Apprentices
Helgi Tomasson has named six new apprentices for the 2012 season: Sean Bennett, Megan Amanda Ehrlich, Ellen Rose Hummel, Elizabeth Powell, Henry Sidford, and Shion Yuasa. As apprentices, these dancers will take Company class and perform corps de ballet roles in the Company’s diverse repertory. Notably, five of the newly appointed apprentices were members of the SF Ballet School’s Trainee Program.

Born in San Francisco, California, Sean Bennett entered the SF Ballet School in 2000 on a Dance In Schools (DIS) scholarship. He joined the Trainee Program in 2010 after one year at American Ballet Theater’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. Megan Amanda Ehrlich, born in Charleston, South Carolina, trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., and the Space Coast Ballet Academy in Melbourne, Florida. Ellen Rose Hummel was born in Greenville, South Carolina, and trained at the SF Ballet School, first during the 2008 Summer Session and most recently as a Trainee. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Powell joined the SF Ballet School during the 2007 Summer Session and participated in the 2010-2011 Trainee Program. Also a recent Trainee, Henry Sidford, born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, first began his training with the SF Ballet School during the 2007 Summer Session. Most recently, he was a finalist in the 2011 Prix de Lausanne. Shion Yuasa, from Saitama, Japan, trained at Canada’s School of Alberta Ballet, prior to joining SF Ballet School in 2009 and the Trainee Program in 2010.

Subscriptions are currently on sale for the 2012 Repertory Season, January 27 through May 5, at the War Memorial Opera House. For information, call the Ticket Services Office at 415.865.2000, or visit

* * * *

Vito Mazzeo / Principal Dancer
Patricia Keleher / Corps de Ballet
Raymond Tilton / Corps de Ballet
Caroline Diane Wilson / Corps de Ballet
New Company Member/Level
Francisco Mungamba / Corps de Ballet
WanTing Zhao / Corps de Ballet

New Apprentices/Training
Sean Bennett / San Francisco Ballet School
Megan Amanda Ehrlich / Kirov Academy of Ballet
Ellen Rose Hummel / San Francisco Ballet School
Elizabeth Powell / San Francisco Ballet School
Henry Sidford / San Francisco Ballet School
Shion Yuasa / San Francisco Ballet School

About Odette's Ordeal

'Ballet's Head Cheerleader'
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