13 new company members and several promotions for 2008...
San Francisco Ballet Announces Dancer Promotion and New Company Members
for 2008 Repertory Season
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Thursday, May 10, 2007—San Francisco Ballet has announced the promotion of one company member and the addition of thirteen new dancers for the 2008 Repertory Season. James Sofranko has been promoted from corps de ballet member to soloist. Gaetano Amico, Ludmila Campos, Sasha De Sola, and Christopher Mondoux, all apprentices during the 2007 Repertory Season, join the ranks of the corps de ballet. In addition, Maria Kochetkova joins the Company as a principal dancer, Julianne Kepley and Mateo Klemmayer join the Company as soloists, and new San Francisco Ballet corps de ballet members include Clara Blanco (Blanco was previously with the Company from 2001–2006), Charlene Cohen, Damir Emric, Ashley Muangmaithong, Kendall Teague, and Luke Willis. The Company roster now stands at 74 dancers.
All changes effective July 1, 2007.
James Sofranko, born in Marion, Indiana, and raised in Cincinnati, joined San Francisco Ballet as a corps de ballet member in 2000. Sofranko trained at institutions such as The Harid Conservatory in Florida, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Houston Ballet Academy. In 2000, Sofranko received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Juilliard School. He danced a number of prominent roles during the 2007 Repertory Season, in works such as Jacques Garnier’s Aunis, Lar Lubovitch’s Elemental Brubeck, Yuri Possokhov’s Firebird, and Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free.
New Company Members
Born in Moscow, Russia, Maria Kochetkova trained at the Bolshoi School and danced with The Royal Ballet and Russian State Ballet prior to joining English National Ballet in 2003. She was promoted to soloist in 2007, and has performed lead roles in a variety of works, including the lead role in Giselle and Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.
Born in Atlanta, Julianne Kepley trained at Atlanta School of Ballet and the School of American Ballet. She danced with Atlanta Ballet for eight years, prior to joining the Joffrey Ballet in 2002. Kepley has performed a variety of works in the Joffrey Ballet’s repertory, including Gerald Arpino’s Italian Suite, George Balanchine’s Apollo and Square Dance, and John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew. Kepley also performed the principal variation from Le Vivandiere pas de six in Robert Altman’s 2003 feature film The Company. Mateo Klemmayer was born in Glekhen, Germany, and trained at Ballet Gymnasium Essen-Werden and Hamburg Ballet School. He has danced with a number of companies, including Boston Ballet and Zurich Ballet, and most recently was engaged as a first artist with Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Gaetano Amico was born in Salem, Oregon and studied at the School of American Ballet, the Kirov Academy of Ballet, and the San Francisco Ballet School before being appointed an apprentice last season. Born in Valladolid, Spain, Clara Blanco previously danced with SF Ballet from 2001 to 2006, and rejoins the Company after a one-year engagement with Birmingham Royal Ballet. Ludmila Campos was born in Rio de Janeiro, and trained at Brazil’s Escola de Danças Maria Olenewa, The Harid Conservatory, and the San Francisco Ballet School, prior to being named an apprentice in 2006. Charlene Cohen was born in Aurora, Colorado and trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the School of American Ballet. In 2000, she joined Miami City Ballet as a coryphée, was promoted to the corps de ballet in 2001, and was named soloist in 2007. Born in Winter Park, Florida, Sasha De Sola trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet prior to joining the Company as an apprentice last season. Damir Emric, born in Capljina, Bosnia Herzegovina, most recently danced with Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley. A Bay Area native, Christopher Mondoux was born in Berkeley and participated in the San Francisco Ballet School’s Trainee Program prior to his appointment as an apprentice last year. Ashley Muangmaithong hails from Walnut Creek, California, and trained at Delta Ballet Academy, under Helga Ishikata, and at the San Francisco Ballet School. She participated in the School’s Trainee Program for two years prior to being named as an apprentice with Oregon Ballet Theatre in 2006. Born in Waynesville, North Carolina, Kendall Teague trained at the South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and Humanities prior to joining Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, where he has performed leading roles in a variety of works, including Balanchine’s Theme and Variations and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Luke Willis was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and trained with Marcia Dale Weary at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. For the past three seasons, he danced with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.
Former San Francisco Ballet School students Owen Gaj and Sean Orza will join the Company as apprentices for the 2008 Repertory Season. In this capacity, they will take Company class and perform corps de ballet roles in the Company’s diverse repertory. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Owen Gaj trained at Boston Ballet School, the San Francisco Ballet School, and Princeton Ballet School. He also danced as a member of American Ballet Theatre Studio Company prior to being named as an apprentice. Sean Orza was born in Walnut Creek and received training from the San Francisco Ballet School and the School of American Ballet.
The Company is currently preparing for its upcoming tour to the Reykjavik Arts Festival in Iceland, where they will perform a mixed-repertory program of works by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson. Renewal subscriptions are currently on sale for San Francisco Ballet’s 75th Anniversary Season, January 29 through May 6, at the War Memorial Opera House. For information, call the Ticket Services Office at 415.865.2000, or click here.
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James Sofranko, Soloist
New Company Members/Level
Maria Kochetkova, Principal Dancer
Julianne Kepley, Soloist
Mateo Klemmayer, Soloist
Gaetano Amico, Corps de Ballet
Clara Blanco, Corps de Ballet
Ludmila Campos, Corps de Ballet
Charlene Cohen, Corps de Ballet
Sasha De Sola, Corps de Ballet
Damir Emric , Corps de Ballet
Christopher Mondoux, Corps de Ballet
Ashley Muangmaithong, Corps de Ballet
Kendall Teague, Corps de Ballet
Luke Willis, Corps de Ballet
Owen Gaj, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company
Sean Orza, San Francisco Ballet School