Press Release

Press Release: Coppélia

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For Immediate Release, March 23, 2018


Southern California Ballet brings the comedy ballet, Coppélia, back to the stage for the first time in over a decade starring alumna and local principal dancer Stephanie Maiorano.

San Diego, CA — This year, Southern California Ballet’s annual spring production is the charming and comical ballet, Coppélia, originally staged by former artistic director Sylvia Palmer in 2002 and last performed in 2007.

Over a decade since Southern California Ballet last performed Coppélia, new artistic directors Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley are thrilled to breathe new life into the production by restaging it for the next generation of dancers and audience members to enjoy.

The production will feature guest artists from San Diego Ballet, Stephanie Maiorano (a Southern California Ballet alumna) and Adam Bloodgood in the principal roles. Vincent Padilla will also be performing with Southern California Ballet in the role of Dr. Coppélius.

Of particular excitement is the return of Stephanie Maiorano, demonstrating the strength of Southern California Ballet’s training in the achievements of its alumni.

The performances were made possible by Southern California Ballet’s fundraising gala, “Coppélia’s Ball,” which took place in February. The nonprofit organization’s community of supporters raised over $10,000 to make the performances happen.

Synopsis of Coppélia - Originally premiered in Paris in 1870, the lighthearted tale revolves around a girl named Coppélia who spends her time sitting on the balcony of Dr. Coppelius, the local mad scientist, reading and not speaking to anyone in the town.

Franz, a local boy, falls in love with Coppélia, whose “shyness” only serves to make Franz more infatuated, even though he is already engaged to another woman, Swanhilda.

After learning that Coppélia is actually a doll built by Dr. Coppelius, Swanhilda decides to impersonate the doll in order to win the love of Franz. Chaos ensues, but in the end, all is forgiven. Swanhilda and Franz reunite, get married, and the whole town celebrates with dances in their honor.

Save the date! Public performances of Coppelia will take place Saturday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 1:00 p.m. at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available through both the SCB website,, and at the PCPA Box Office. Tickets are priced at $20, $29, or $38. Student, senior, group, and military discounts are available.

Poway Center for the Performing Arts is located at 15498 Espola Road, Poway, CA, 92064.


Notes to Editor:

SCB supports P.L.A.Y., Poway Leisure Assistance for Youth, Girls Scouts of America, and senior assisted living centers through reduced ticket prices striving to make ballet accessible and affordable for all to enjoy.

Press Release: Nutcracker


For Immediate Release, November 28, 2017

International Award-Winning Dancers Make San Diego Debut as Artistic Directors with Southern California Ballet’s 26th Annual Nutcracker.

San Diego, CA — Southern California Ballet’s 26th annual production of The Nutcracker marks the directorial debut of international award-winning dancers Martha Leebolt and Toby Batley, who took the helm of Southern California Ballet as artistic directors in September 2017.

Taking place on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 1:00 p.m., the production will feature world-class guest artists David Ward, Laura Somers Moreton, and Isaiah Bindel, a San Diego native, in the roles of Sugarplum Cavalier, Sugarplum Fairy, and Snow Cavalier, respectively. These guest appearances serve as a marvelous addition to the production by former principals, Martha and Toby, who have returned to San Diego from Northern Ballet in Leeds, England to lead Southern California Ballet to new heights and help further artistic education in the area.

Throughout the production’s twenty-six years, former artistic director Sylvia Palmer has been dedicated not only to showcasing SCB’s students and youth company in The Nutcracker, but also to bringing inspiring guest artists from countries across the world to San Diego. The new artistic directors will continue this vision in this year’s production.

Laura Somers Morton - Sugarplum Fairy
A Maryville, TN native, Laura Somers Morton was trained under her mother's direction, Amy Morton Vaughn, at Van Metre School of Dance. As a member of Appalachian Ballet Company, she danced the role of Clara in The Nutcracker for two years. A few of Laura's most treasured performances with ABC include 'Tinkerbell' in Amy Vaughn's premiere of Peter Pan and the soloist in both Kylie Berry's Reality and Awareness. Laura was a scholarship recipient and able to study at many summer intensives including Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Chautauqua Institute, and Atlanta Ballet. At age 16, she trained with the Houston Ballet Academy where she completed her high school studies online. In 2014, she joined Atlanta Ballet's second company and in 2016 was promoted to an apprentice in Atlanta Ballet. This past summer, she continued her dance studies in Italy. In her professional experience with Atlanta Ballet, Laura had the honor of performing 'Carabosse' in John McFall's Sleeping Beauty. She was also featured in David Bintley’s Carmina Burana, Jiri Kylian's Petit Mort, Liam Scarlett's Vespertine, George Balanchine's Serenade and his Allegro Brilliante. Laura was a demi-soloist in Helen Pickett's Camino Real based on Tennessee Williams’ play. Laura was most recently seen as a guest artist in ABC’s Bluejeans and Ballet, and was the lead dancer in Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s Estancia, presented at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee during their Red, Hot & Bolero performance.

David Ward - Sugarplum Cavalier
Former leading dancer with BalletMet where he spent the past seven years, David Ward trained at the English National Ballet School and spent five years dancing with Northern Ballet in Leeds, England. Mr. Ward’s career highlights include touring across mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Thailand, as well as dancing for Prince Edward. He also danced in the International Ballet Stars Gala and was a guest performer in Las Vegas. Mr. Ward has spent past summers as a guest performer at the National Choreographer’s Initiative for their tenth anniversary performance and with Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance in North Carolina. Mr. Ward’s favorite performances include the title roles of Hamlet, Peter Pan, and Dracula. The most memorable performances include dancing the role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, the Cavalier in The Nutcracker, and the Prince in Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake.

Isaiah Bindel - Snow Cavalier
A San Diego born dancer, Isaiah Bindel danced with San Francisco Ballet and DawsonDanceSF, and has previously performed with Southern California Ballet in 2014 and 2015. SCB welcomes him back this year to perform the role of Snow Cavalier. He will be partnering Southern California Ballet-trained Calista Cartwright.

In addition to bringing in international talent, Southern California Ballet is proud to train dancers with the skill and talent to be able to perform principal roles in its professional-level performances. Calista Cartwright, who will dance the role of Snow Queen, is a Westview High School senior who began dancing at the Rozann-Zimmerman Ballet Center in Los Angeles at age 3, began training with Southern California Ballet at age 13, and has been part of its company program for two years. Bernardo Heights and Marshall Middle School students Melia Koverchuk, Misha MacGowan, and Lucie Fiorino will dance the story’s young heroine, Clara, while Zach Ong will dance the role of Clara’s rambunctious younger brother, Fritz.

Soloist roles such as Spanish Chocolate, Turkish Delight, and Chinese Tea, as well as the stunning snow scene and flower waltz, feature youth company dancers: Calista Cartwright, Westview High School; Josie Cole, Poway High School; Samuel Fiorino, Rancho Bernardo High School; Madeline Franz, Bernardo Heights Middle School; Lily Hofstetter, Mesa Verde Middle School; Sanae Kanenobu, Poway High School; Kayla Kressin, Poway High school; Amecie Lublin, Del Lago Academy; Erika McCann, Westview High School; Kelsy Paraoan, Del Norte High School; Kanaha Takeda, Rancho Bernardo High School; Kalei Tano, The Classical Academy; Kendal Weatherhead, Maranatha Christian School; and Leah Zabezhinsky, Rancho Bernardo High School.

Save the date! Public performances of The Nutcracker will take place Saturday, Dec. 16 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 1:00 p.m. at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets will be sold both through the SCB website,, and at the PCPA Box Office. Tickets are priced at $20, $29, or $38. Student, senior, group, and military discounts are available.

Poway Center for the Performing Arts is located at 15498 Espola Road, Poway, CA, 92064.


Notes to Editor:

Southern California Ballet is proud of its commitment to furthering artistic education in the area and for that reason dedicates four performances at $5 a ticket to outreach for schoolchildren, special needs groups, and seniors on hursday, December 14th and Friday, December 15th at :15 a.m. and 11:15 a.m both days.

SCB also supports P.L.A.Y., Poway Leisure Assistance for Youth, Girls Scouts of America, and senior assisted living centers through reduced ticket prices striving to make ballet accessible and affordable for all to enjoy.

Press Release: Team Cecchetti USA


For Immediate Release, July 24, 2017

Southern California Ballet dancers join "Team Cecchetti USA" to compete in international ballet competition in Florence, Italy

San Diego, CA — On July 29, three Southern California Ballet dancers will board an airplane to Florence, Italy wearing their Cecchetti Team USA jackets to compete in the fifth Cecchetti International Ballet Competition. Dancers Amy McMaster, Kalena Tano and Kelsy Paroaon were selected by a national jury to represent Cecchetti USA and compete against dancers from Cecchetti Ballet Australia, Cecchetti Society of Canada, Cecchetti Council of America, Cecchetti Society of Southern Africa, Cecchetti Society Classical Ballet Faculty ISTD and Danzare Cecchetti- Ancec Italia.

The competition takes place every three years and is comprised of a junior and senior division. Cecchetti Team USA will send seven senior and five junior dancers who have passed intermediate and advanced Cecchetti exams. Amy McMaster, a 2016 graduate of Westview High, currently attending the School of Dance at the University of Utah, will compete in the senior division as well as Kalena Tano, a 2017 graduate of Rancho Bernardo High School and future UCSD freshman in Dance and Literature. Kelsy Paroaon, a 2017 graduate of Oak Valley Middle School is one of five dancers in the junior division.

The competition takes place in the Obihall Theatre, Florence on the bank of the Arno river and dancers will be judged during a ballet class on their acquisition and execution of the Cecchetti technique. On Thursday and Friday, August 3 & 4, classical and contemporary solos will be presented and finalists announced on Friday evening. The event ends on Saturday, August 5 with a Grand Gala evening featuring illustrious international guests and the announcement of awards and scholarships.

The jury consists of teachers, directors and choreographers holding the highest rankings in the world of ballet including Bella Ratchinskaya, Ballet Mistress, Wiener Staatsoper Ballet Akademie; Fabienne Cerutti, Faculty, Paris Opera; Jan Broeckx , Director, Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich; Larissa Saveliev, Artistic Director and Founder Youth America Grand Prix; Nicola Katrak, Teacher, The Royal Ballet School; Michele Merola, Founder and Artistic Director, MM Contemporary Dance Company; Oliver Matz, Director, Dance Academy Zurich; Raymond Lukens, Artistic Associate, American Ballet Theater; Samira Saidi, Director of Dance, English National Ballet School; Steffi Scherzer, Director, Dance Academy Zurich.

Notes to Editor:
Links to recent news articles:

Amy McMaster: amy-mcmaster-represents-the-u-s-in-florence-ballet-competition

Kalena Tano:

Cechetti International is a worldwide non-profit organization incorporated in Canada on July 2, 2004. WEBSITE:


Cecchetti USA, WEBSITE:
Team USA:

Press Release: Teacher of the Year


For Immediate Release, July 24, 2017

Southern California Ballet's Artistic Director, Sylvia Palmer-Zetler,  named Teacher of the Year by the national publication "Dance Teacher"

San Diego, CA — On Saturday, August 5, 2017, Sylvia Palmer-Zetler will officially receive the Dance Teacher of the Year Award, Private Studio and Conservatories category, at the Dance Teacher Summit in Long Beach California. The honor is presented by Dance Teacher, sister publication of the influential Dance Magazine, and was made public in the July issue of Dance Teacher reaching a subscriber base of 80,000. Four outstanding educators are chosen for their contributions to the world of dance – two awards for Private Studio and Conservatories, one for Higher Education, and one for K-12 education.

The Dance Teacher Summit is a three-day conference from August 4 to 6 for dance educators from around the world lead by an outstanding faculty of industry professionals including Mia Michaels, Stacey Tookey and tWitch. The teaching awards will be presented during the evening of dance titled the Capezio A.C.E. Awards featuring works by emerging choreographers.

Part of the award includes the opportunity for Southern California Ballet faculty to attend the conference compliments of Dance Media. Board Chair, Terry Worley, stated “I have never felt so fulfilled knowing that Sylvia will be honored in this great fashion amongst her peers and a national audience.” Mrs. Worley added that, “The timing is remarkable as she gracefully steps down as Artistic Director of 30 years handing the reigns to her former student and international
ballet star Martha Leebolt and her husband Toby Batley.”

Notes to Editor:

Article by Kris Eitland:

Dance Teacher Summit Official Website:

“Dance Teacher brings together dance educators of all sectors (K-12, studios &
conservatories, colleges and universities) in the pursuit of training their students,
improving themselves, and bettering their business savvy. Readers learn how to
create a healthy and happy learning environment; get expert advice from the
field's leading educators; and stay up to date with latest trends in costumes,
choreography, recitals, and competitions.”

Press Release: Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley of Northern Ballet to assume artistic directorship of Southern California Ballet


For Immediate Release, February 5, 2017

Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley of Northern Ballet to assume artistic directorship of Southern California Ballet

San Diego, CA — Award-winning Northern Ballet resident guest artists Martha Leebolt and Tobias Batley will take on new roles as artistic directors of Southern California Ballet. Leebolt and Batley will succeed Sylvia Palmer-Zetler who, after over 30 years of outstanding leadership as artistic director and academy principal, will continue as the director of the Cecchetti Training Program; long-time faculty member Suzan Stone will remain associate artistic director.

After their thrilling revival of Southern California Ballet’s The Nutcracker in December, Leebolt and Batley will premiere new choreography in March at SCB’s annual spring performance. The piece —entitled “The Four Seasons” after Max Richter's recomposition of Vivaldi's quintessential work — will debut alongside Palmer’s cherished production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. While both works will showcase the emerging young artists of the Southern California Ballet company, Midsummer Night’s Dream will also feature guest artists Shawn Burgess, Vincent Padilla and Jeremy Power in addition to students of the academy.

The spring performance will take place on Saturday, March 25th at 1:00pm at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. A celebratory gathering will be held after the show to introduce Leebolt and Batley, who will officially assume their new positions in September, to the community. Proceeds from the performance will go towards funding for Southern California Ballet’s scholarship program, which awards young dancers based on both need and merit.

Poway Center for the Performing Arts is located at 15498 Espola Road, Poway, CA, 92064.
Southern California Ballet Academy and its company offices are located at 12285 World Trade Drive, Suite L, San Diego, CA, 92128.
12285 World Trade Drive, Suite K, San Diego, CA 92128
tel. 858-674-1006

Performing on stage with ballet greats such as Rudolph Nureyev and Eric Bruhn, performing professionally with the National Ballet of Canada, touring internationally, attending receptions given by President John F. Kennedy and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau are just a few of the exciting highlights of the life of Sylvia Palmer-Zetler.

From performer, Sylvia transitioned to the role of teacher by earning her Licentiate from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in London, England in 1974 with special commendation and furthered her teacher training with The National Ballet School of Canada. She taught at the U.S. International University for six years. She obtained her Fellowship with Cecchetti USA in June 2008, is a member of their board and is one of only seven examiners in the Unites States.

Sylvia is Assistant Director of Dance for the California State Summer School for the Arts
(CSSSA). For over 30 years, she ran Black Mountain Dance Centre which recently merged with Southern California Ballet, the 501 (c) (3) she founded at about the same time.

Focusing on excellence and discipline, Sylvia’s students take international exams each year in the Cecchetti method of classical ballet and from the time Cecchetti examinations were included in the school curriculum, over 2000 students have earned diplomas in various levels, including teaching certificates.

Sylvia has choreographed numerous ballets for the company including Carnival of the Animals, The Magic Flute, Babar the Elephant, Masquerade Ball, Peter and the Wolf and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as reconstructing popular ballets such as Coppelia, Les Sylphides, and The Nutcracker to name just a few.

The greatest rewards come to Sylvia when her students are accepted to professional dance
companies, find work in touring musicals, or continue their dance training in top colleges throughout the United States. The walls are filled with cards, pictures and letters from these students to their dedicated and inspiring teacher of ballet.

Martha Leebolt trained at Black Mountain Dance Centre (SCB Academy) under the direction
of Sylvia Palmer and Ahita Ardalan and was a Southern California Ballet Company member. A
Rancho Bernardo graduate, she attended the professional training program at Ballet Met. A year later, she joined Northern Ballet, Leeds, England. Numerous roles created for her include
Cleopatra in Claude-Michel Schonberg and David Nixon's Cleopatra, Daisy in The Great Gatsby, Beauty in Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella in Cinderella. In 2010, Martha won the National Dance Award for Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) in England for her interpretation of Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons. She was nominated again in 2016 for her performance of Julia in the ballet titled 1984 based on George Orwell’s iconic novel. Martha was repeatedly included in Dance Europe magazine's list of outstanding dancers and has been a guest artist around the world including at the 23rd International Ballet Festival, Havana, Cuba, and the 2014 European Ballet Awards, Berlin.

Tobias Batley was born in Manchester, England and trained at the Hammond School of Dance in Chester and the Royal Ballet School, London. After graduating, Tobias joined the Jeune Ballet de Cannes, in France before joining Northern Ballet, England in 2004. Batley has danced many leading roles and has had roles created for him including Marc Anthony in David Nixon and Claude Michel in Schonberg's Cleopatra, Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby, Prince Mikhail in Cinderella, Charles Darnay in A Tale of Two Cities, and Winston Smith in the ballet 1984. He was nominated for a National Dance Award in 2010, 2012 for Outstanding Male Performance (Classical) and for Best Male Dancer in 2015 and 2016. Tobias was included in Dance Europe magazine’s list of outstanding dancers for the last five years. He has guested in galas internationally, most recently at the Taglioni European Ballet Awards in Berlin.