Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, Hosted by Val Caniparoli and Featuring Presenters Edward Villella & Joanna Berman, Honors All Five San Francisco Ballet Ballerinas for 2011’s “Many Faces of Giselle”

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The 26th annual ‘Isadora Duncan Dance Awards’ event is one of the most anticipated in its history to date, given that living dance legend, Edward Villella, Founding Artistic Director of the Miami City Ballet and former New York City Ballet dancer, is one of the presenters.

Edward Villella; Photo: Maggie Sieber for The NY Times

The ‘Izzies’, as the awards are affectionately known to the San Francisco dance community, are also giving San Francisco Balletomanes plenty to cheer about with this year’s abundance of former and current SFB dancers amongst the hosts, presenters, and nominees:

1. Former San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer, current SFB Principal Character Dancer, and internationally acclaimed choreographer, Val Caniparoli, will be sharing hosting duties with Denise Pate, Cultural Funding Coordinator for the City of Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program.

Val Caniparoli; Photo: uncredited from SFB web site

2. Much beloved former SFB Principal Dancer, Joanna Berman, also one of the company’s finest Giselles, fresh from her recent stint setting Christopher Wheeldon’s Pas de Deux from Mercurial Manoeuvres on Diablo Ballet, will be one of the Presenters.

Joanna Berman

3. No less than 9 SFB dancers are nominated, 4 of whom are nominated/honored twice, as well as the entire company for its performances of Christopher Wheeldon’s Ghosts to Kip Winger’s rapturous score, the scenic/costume/lighting design team for Yuri Possokhov’s RAkU, and the person responsible for restaging Wayne McGregor’s Chroma.

Sofiane Sylve, Tiit Helimets, & Garen Scribner in Wheeldon's 'Ghosts'; Photo © Erik Tomasson

4. Muriel Maffre, the former SFB Principal Dancer/’Goddess’, still sorely missed, is nominated once again for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Performance – Individual’

(…and as long as the Giselle references are free-flowing, let me just mention that she performed most of her iconic ‘Myrtha’ from Giselle, in The Complete Works of Muriel Maffre, for which she is nominated below.)

(…and let me also mention that she did it in a postage stamp sized gallery which placed us mere feet, and sometimes inches, away from her artistry.)



5. Each of the five remarkable women of San Francisco Ballet that danced Giselle, arguably the pinnacle role achievement, dramatically and technically, for any ballerina talented and fortunate enough to dance it, is being honored with a coveted Special Award for her performance of the title role

Odette couldn’t agree more.

Congratulations to “The Many Faces of Giselle”:

Loréna Feijoo, Maria Kochetkova, Yuan Yuan Tan, Sarah Van Patten, and Vanessa Zahorian.

(And whoever photographs the event, please get a photograph of these five ballerinas together! Better yet: a portrait would be gratefully enjoyed by many!)

Congratulations to all the deserving dancers, choreographers, musicians, designers, companies, revivalists, and others that have been awarded this year’s coveted Isadora Duncan Dance Awards nomination.  

Here’s the Press release: 

(see blue text below for all San Francisco Ballet related nominations and honorary awards)   

(And speaking of awards, did you know that San Francisco Ballet’s production of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid just received the esteemed honor of a ‘Rose d’Or’ nomination? Mmm hmmm. Read about it here.)




San Francisco, California, February 28, 2011 – – The 26th Annual Isadora Duncan Dance Awards ceremony will be held on March 26, 2012 at ODC Theater, 3153 17th Street in San Francisco.  The evening’s festivities will begin with a reception from 6 to 7 pm, followed by the awards ceremony from 7 to 8:30 pm. Dessert and coffee will be served following the ceremony.  The event is free and open to the public.


Hosting the ceremony will be the celebrated choreographer Val Caniparoli and Denise Pate, Cultural Funding Coordinator for the City of Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program. 


Among those presenting awards will be Edward Villella, Founding Artistic Director of the Miami City Ballet and former New York City Ballet dancer; choreographer Scott Wells, Artistic Director of Scott Wells & Dancers; KT Nelson, choreographer and Co-Artistic Director of ODC; former San Francisco Ballet ballerina Joanna Berman; choreographer Sara Shelton Mann, founding Artistic Director of Contraband; Rudi Soriano, choreographer and Artistic Director of Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble; filmmaker and cinematographer Austin Forbord; Carlos Carvajal and CK Ladzekpo, Artistic Directors of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival; Rob Bailis, former Theater Director of ODC; and flamenco singer/dancer Kina Mendez, niece of legendary flamenco singer “La Paquera.”


The following is the list of Nominees and Honorees by award category.


Outstanding Achievement in Performance – Company


  • The Dancers of Terra Incognita, Revisited, West Wave Festival, Z Space
  • Garrett + Moulton Productions, The Experience of Flight In Dreams, ODC Theater
  • Joe Goode Performance Group, The Rambler, Novellus Theater
  • Nimely Pan African Dance Company, Breaking of the Poro Bush, 33rd San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
  • San Francisco Ballet, Ghosts, War Memorial Opera House
  • Te Mana O Te Ra, Varua Te Fenua – The Spirit of the Land, 33rd San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival


Outstanding Achievement in Performance – Ensemble


  • Anthony Spaulding and Sarah Van Patten, Underskin, San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House
  • Christy Funsch and Nol Simonse, Etudes in Detention, Dance Mission Theater
  • Katie Faulkner and Brandon Private Freeman, Until We Know For Sure, The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2010-2011, ODC Theater
  • Lorena Feijoo and Vitor Luiz, Talk To Her, and “Pas de Deux” from Le Corsaire, San Francisco Ballet, Napa Valley Festival Del Sole
  • Maria Kochetkova and Gennadi Nedvigin, Theme & Variations, San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House


Outstanding Achievement in Performance – Individual


  • Gennadi Nedvigin, as ‘Franz’ in Coppelia, San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House
  • Jenna McClintock, When It Frays, Im’ij-re, West Wave Festival, Cowell Theater
  • Muriel Maffre, The Complete Works of Muriel Maffre, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Gallery 3
  • Sofiane Sylve, Symphony in C, “2nd Movement,” San Francisco Ballet, Stern Grove Festival
  • Tina Kay Bohnstedt, Lady of the Camellias, “Act 1 Pas de Deux,” Diablo Ballet, Lesher Center for the Arts


Outstanding Achievement in Choreography


  • Alex Ketley, Kara Davis, Katie Faulkner, Manuelito Biag, Terra Incognita Revisited, West Wave Festival, Z Space
  • Amy Seiwert, Requiem, Smuin Ballet, Novellus Theater
  • Amy Seiwert, When It Frays, Im’ij-re, West Wave Festival, Cowell Theater
  • Janice Garrett & Charles Moulton, The Experience of Flight in Dreams, Garrett + Moulton Productions, ODC Theater
  • Mary Armentrout, the woman invisible to herself, Mary Armentrout Dance Theater, Milk Bar at the Sunshine Biscuit Factory


Outstanding Achievement in Music/Sound/Text


  • Jesse Olsen Bay, Music and Joe Goode, Text, The Rambler, Joe Goode Performance Group, Novellus Theater
  • Jonathan Russell, Musical Direction, The Experience of Flight in Dreams, Garrett + Moulton Productions, ODC Theater
  • Jose Valle ‘Chuscales’ and Alex Conde, Musical Direction & Arrangement, Una Nota Flamenca, Theatre Flamenco, Cowell Theater
  • Zak Diouf, Music, The Mysterious Snake, Diamano Coura, Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts
  • Zakir Hussain, Music, Scheherazade, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Novellus Theater


Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design


  • Alexander Nichols, Scenic Design; Mark Zappone, Costume Design; Christopher Dennis, Lighting Design, RAkU, San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House
  • Axel Morganthaler, Lighting Design; Robert Rossenwasser, Set Design; Colleen Quen & Robert Rossenwasser, Costume Design, Scheherazade, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Novellus Theater
  • Basil Twist, Scenic Design; Jack Carpenter, Lighting Design; Wendy Sparks, Costume Design, The Rambler, Joe Goode Performance Group, Novellus Theater
  • Christopher Haas, Set Design, Triangle of the Squinches, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Novellus Theater
  • Enrico Labayen, Costumes & Visual Design, En-Gulfed, Labayen Dance/SF, Dance Mission Theater
  • Olivia Ting, Media & Set Design, Passages: For Lee Ping To, Lenora Lee Dance, Dance Mission Theater


Outstanding Achievement in Restaging / Revival / Reconstruction


  • Antoine Vereecken, restaging of Chroma by Wayne McGregor (2006), San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House
  • Dennis Nahat, restaging of Giselle by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot (1841), Ballet San Jose, San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
  • Joe Goode, revival of 29 Effeminate Gestures, choreography by Joe Goode (1987) Brava Theatre


Special Award Honorees


  • Lorena Feijoo, Maria Kochetkova, Yuan Yuan Tan, Sarah Van Patten, & Vanessa Zahorian – “The Many Faces of Giselle” –  for 5 stellar interpretations of the title role in the quintessential romantic ballet Giselle, performed by the San Francisco Ballet at the War Memorial Opera House


  • Nina Menendez and The Bay Area Flamenco Partnership – for the 2010 Festival Flamenco Gitano which presented two multi-generational families of flamenco artists from the Spanish gypsy community of Andalucia in performances displaying how the music and dance traditions of flamenco are passed down through several generations


  • Patty-Ann Farrell – for her lighting designs for the 33rd San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival at the Novellus Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts


Sustained Achievement Honorees


  • Deborah DuBowy and Words on Dance – for 18 years of presenting celebrated dance artists with the opportunity to speak about their careers and share their passion for dance with the larger dance community


  • Cathleen McCarthy and Joan Lazarus and West Wave Dance – for 20 years of presenting groundbreaking dance in the San Francisco Bay Area


  • Dr. James Garrick and The Center for Sports Medicine at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital – for the Saint Francis Dance Medicine practice, created to meet the unique needs of stage performers


The Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, known locally as the Izzies, are awarded annually to acknowledge exceptional creative achievements in the performance and presentation of dance. Awards are given in nine categories to honor the dancers, choreographers, designers, composers, dance companies, dance scholars and other individuals who have made important contributions to the San Francisco Bay Area’s thriving dance community.


During each 12-month performance cycle, running September 1 – August 31, the Committee collectively views over 400 eligible performances. The final nominees and honorees are selected at an annual voting meeting held in September after the close of the viewing cycle.


Member profiles and lists of previous nominees and award winners are available online at


The Izzies Committee is supported by donations from individuals, groups, the Fleishhacker Foundations, the Zellerbach Family Fund and Wells Fargo Bank.

For Additional Information, contact:  Raquel Lopez, 510-530-5609 or


(Once again, Odette’s apologies for the lack of photo credits; WordPress had a ‘captioning’ issue which wasn’t corrected till 3am on a work day for Odette; Odette will continue captioning tomorrow eve.)


About Odette's Ordeal

'Ballet's Head Cheerleader'
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