Artistic Director and Co-Founder
Lauren Jonas trained at the Marin Ballet under Maria Vegh and Margaret Swarthout, and then with Sally Streets. She performed with the Milwaukee Ballet, the Oakland Ballet, the Southwest Ballet, and toured the United States with the Moscow Ballet, directed by the Bolshoi Ballet's Vaslav Gordeyev. Since Diablo Ballet's premiere in 1994, Ms. Jonas has recruited dancers from around the world to present the finest in contemporary and classical ballets. A firm believer in the need to stimulate the cultural development of future generations, she co-created the Ballet’s PEEK Outreach Program. Ms. Jonas’ awards include the 2005 National Philanthropy Day honor, the 2000 Arts and Culture Commission Award of Contra Costa County, and the1998 Contra Costa County Woman of Achievement Award for the Arts. She has served as an advisor on several non-profit boards, and served on scholarship and dance festival committees. Ms. Jonas has guest taught for various schools and colleges throughout California and nationally. She is the 2014 recipient of the Contra Costa Commission for Women Contributing to the Arts, Hall of Fame award and was an honoree at the State Assembly’s Women’s History Month. In 2016, Ms. Jonas was honored at the Djerassi’s Women’s Residency Program for empowering women as leaders in the field of ballet.
Joanna Berman received her dance training at the Marin Ballet under Maria Vegh. In 1984, after one year at the San Francisco Ballet School, she joined the company and was promoted to soloist in 1987. In 1988, Ms. Berman became a principal dancer and was one of the most celebrated members of San Francisco Ballet, before her retirement in 2002. During her tenure, she danced the lead role in full-length works such as Giselle, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Romeo & Juliet, in addition to numerous contemporary and classical works. Joanna had works created for her by choreographers including Mark Morris, Christopher Wheeldon, Helgi Tomasson, William Forsythe, David Bintley, Julia Adam, Yuri Possokhov, Val Caniparoli, and many others. She is the recipient of two “Isadora Duncan Awards” (1994 & 2000). In addition to her extensive performance credits, Ms. Berman is in demand as a teacher and has served as a guest teacher for San Francisco Ballet, Australian Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Houston Ballet, and Atlanta Ballet. Since 1996, she has staged and coached ballets for Diablo Ballet.
Sally Streets performed with the New York City Ballet, Mia Slavenska's Ballet Variante, Pacific Ballet, and the Oakland Ballet. A highly respected teacher and choreographer, Ms. Streets has been a faculty member of many Bay Area schools and companies including San Francisco Ballet and Oakland Ballet. She has served as guest company teacher for the New York City Ballet and the Royal Ballet in London. Currently, Ms. Streets is the principal teacher at Berkeley Ballet Theater. Since March 1994, she has created seventeen world premieres for Diablo Ballet including Three to Tango, Solitary Hotel, Tchaikovsky in Three Movements, A Cosmic Fantasy, Opus 22, Bach Suite for Strings, Encores, Ballo D'Orfeo, Symmetry and Surprise, Mon Parasole, From Holberg's Time, Pas de Temps, Chants de Berlioz, Mouvements Musicaux, Motifs, Variations on Baroque and Love's Labyrinth.
Greg Sudmeier, has conducted orchestras all over the country, including the Fremont Symphony, San Jose Symphony, the Oakland-East Bay Symphony and the Peninsula Civic Light Opera. He has conducted masterworks, many Broadway book shows, and his own arrangements and original pieces. His extensive experience with Skywalker Sound at Lucas-Digital/Lucasfilm includes contracting for and performing on numerous feature film soundtracks. A prolific composer, Mr. Sudmeier has written and produced numerous television show themes. His awards include the CLIO Advertising Award for Best Musical Adaptation, and the Eastman School of Music Duke Ellington Award for Outstanding Achievement in Arranging and Orchestration. Mr. Sudmeier received a Grammy nomination for his work on the Star Wars Trilogy with John Williams and the Skywalker Symphony. Greg has been a professor-educator at Notre Dame de Namur University, the Univ. of Hawaii at Hilo, Cal-State Hayward, and Chabot Community College. He now resides with his wife, Lee Foster, in Serenbe, Georgia, a beautiful new arts community just south of Atlanta.
Robert Dekkers was trained at the School of Atlanta Ballet and Gwinnett Ballet Theater. Named a “25 To Watch” artist by DANCE Magazine and hailed as a “mad genius” by the Huffington Post, he became Diablo Ballet's Resident Choreographer in 2013. Mr. Dekkers has created six new works on Diablo Ballet since joining the Company in 2011: "Carnival of the Imagination", "Do Be: Double Happiness", “Happy Ending”, “Flight of the Dodo”, “See Saw”, and “cares you know not”. He was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award for “Outstanding Performance - Individual” for his 2012-13 season with Diablo Ballet, where he has danced leading roles in works by George Balanchine, Val Caniparoli, José Límon, Trey McIntyre, KT Nelson, Mario Radacovsky and Septime Webre. Mr. Dekkers is founder and artistic director of Post:Ballet, which collaborates with eclectic artists to present work that is “anything but risk averse” (SF Chronicle). Post:Ballet was nominated for a 2013 Isadora Duncan Award in “Outstanding Performance – Ensemble”. His works have been performed in New York City, Florida, and at the Tanzsommer Festival in Vienna. In 2008 he was named Resident Choreographer of Arizona's NovaBallet, and has danced with Ballet Arizona, ODC/Dance, and Company C.
Company Teacher and Rehearsal Assistant
Mayo Sugano began her ballet training at the Aoyama Ballet School in Tokyo, Japan. Ms. Sugano was on full scholarship at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and in 1997 won the scholarship prize in the 25th Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland. She was awarded a full scholarship to study with the San Francisco Ballet School, and was selected to appear in the documentary “Encore For Ruby: The Story of an American Ballerina”. Ms. Sugano joined the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, where she danced leading roles. She danced with the San Francisco Ballet from 2000 to 2004. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2005, she has been featured in George Balanchine's "Apollo", the Pas de Deux from "Stars & Stripes" and "Who Cares", KT Nelson's "Walk before Talk" and "The Escaping Game", Julia Adam's "The Little Prince" and the Latin Couple in Lynn Taylor-Corbett's Broadway Award Winning "Swing" and works by Sonya Delwaide and Robert Dekkers.