by Liz Onufer
The Southern California Ballet (SCB) celebrates 30 years of training local dancers and providing community outreach. SCB’s primary mission is to offer training in the dance arts and provide ballet performances for the general public. “SCB is a testament to the quality of instruction, performances, and dedication of many individuals who believe the art of ballet is a tradition worthy of sharing with their community,” said Kate Hirsh, Marketing and Development Director.
Founded in 1985, the nonprofit ballet company is the only dance organization in the San Diego area to be affiliated with the Cecchetti method, an internationally recognized ballet curriculum for beginners to professionals. The Academy’s accomplished instructors reflect the quality of the Cecchetti curriculum. All of the faculty are internationally accredited dance instructors and many have danced professionally. In addition to the ballet curriculum, the Academy also offers all levels of creative dance, tap, character, modern, jazz, pointe, pas de deux, and conditioning classes. “The atmosphere is very friendly and professional. The students concentrate and work hard to improve their skills and absorb corrections,” said Artistic Director Sylvia Palmer.
The growth of the school’s programs will now be aided by its recent merger with Black Mountain Dance Centre, a school established in 1983 by two of the original founders of Southern California Ballet, Sylvia Palmer and Mark Zetler. “This natural transition will allow the school, now named the Academy, and company more opportunities to expand dance programs, extend foundation support, and continue community outreach programs,” said Hirsh. Upcoming performances include Alice in Wonderland in early September and the holiday tradition, The Nutcracker, which will be performed in December. “It is not a studio that produces dance for competition. The company focuses on the art form by producing traditional and contemporary ballets, all of which take place at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts,” Hirsh added.
To recognize 30 years of instruction and performance, Southern California Ballet looks forward to a few special events. A gala will be hosted at the end of January and the annual Spring Program will be performed in April, featuring internationally acclaimed alumni of the Southern California Ballet. In addition, a scholarship fund is being created in the name of the founding artistic director, Sylvia Palmer. Today, the studio that at one time needed to hire guest artists to create high-level productions now looks to its own alumni who have pursued dance professionally to return and support the program that built their foundation.