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 and in 2022 she was a guest lecturer at UC Berkeley speaking on Women Leaders in the Arts. She has coached all of Diablo Ballet's repertoire and staged the full-length production of Coppélia in 2022. Ms. Jonas is also the Co-Founder and Director of Diablo Ballet School.
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 and repeteur for San Francisco Ballet, Australian Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and National Ballet of Canada.
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.
Company Teacher and RegisseurChristopher Lam was born in Brisbane, Australia and studied with Betsy Sawyers before joining the Australian Ballet School. A recipient of the prestigious Graeme Murphy Scholarship, he graduated from his studies passing the Royal Academy of Dancing’s Advanced examination with Honours. Performing with The Australian Ballet he covered a vast classical repertoire and worked with illustrious master teachers and choreographers including Eugene Polyakov, Natalia Makarova, Gelsey Kirkland, Johnny Eliasen, Olga Evreinoff and Sonia Arova. Mr. Lam has danced for the Ballet du Grand Theatre de Geneve, Gothenburg Ballet, Croatian National Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal expanding his repertoire to include ballets by Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, William Forsythe, Nacho Duato and Jean-Christophe Maillot. Since retiring from the stage Mr. Lam has taught dance and staged works in Australia, Europe and the United States. A resident of the Bay Area since 2016 he has taught in youth and adult divisions as well as the professional companies of Smuin Ballet, Oakland Ballet, ODC, BayPointe Ballet, Dance Theater of San Francisco, Diablo Ballet, Jessica Lange Dance and Alonzo King Lines Ballet. Photo by: Marika Brussel
Sean Kelly received his training at the Marin Ballet. He performed with American Ballet Theatre II and Houston Ballet as a Principal dancer for many years dancing principal roles in ballets by renowned choreographers such as George Balanchine, Christopher Bruce, Jiri Kylian, Ben Stevenson, Paul Taylor and Stanton Welch. He also won Best Partner at the International Ballet Competition in Helsinki, Finland. Mr. Kelly joined the Houston Ballet staff as a Ballet Master, where he was invited to stage Ben Stevenson's Cleopatra for Boston Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. He created two ballets for Houston Ballet, numerous works for Diablo Ballet, and is a featured guest teacher and choreographer across the country. Mr. Kelly performed in the Tony Award winning touring production of Swing, where he also served as Dance Supervisor. He also performed in the Tony Award winning Broadway and touring productions of Twlya Tharp's Movin' Out and served as the Resident Director. Mr. Kelly was the Resident Choreographer of the Tony Award winning musical Billy Elliot, which toured nationally and throughout Canada. He was the Associate Choreographer for An American in Paris on Broadway and was most recently the Associate Choreographer/Resident Director for the National Tour of the production. In addition, he served as the Associate Director for Bad Boys of Dance, which tours extensively throughout the world. Mr. Kelly stages ballets and is a guest teacher for dance companies across the country.
Company Teacher and Conditioning Coach
Karen Lapointe was born in Canada and raised in the Bay Area. She received her training at Berkeley Conservatory Ballet under Grace Doty. She enjoyed a rewarding dance career that spanned 21 years. Known for her principal roles in Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lilac Garden, The Nutcracker and numerous Balanchine Ballets, Ms. Lapointe was also fortunate to have worked with countless groundbreaking choreographers. She had the pleasure of dancing with the Joffrey Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet, and as a principal dancer for the Nashville Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and Diablo Ballet. Since her retirement from dance Ms. Lapointe is following her other passion, that of a Pilates instructor and dance teacher. She has owned and operated her Pilates studio “Fine Line Fitness” since 1999 and has been an instructor at Forma Gym since 2011. She teaches dance throughout the U.S. to students of all ages including pre professional and professional dancers. Having experienced several severe injuries, her Pilates training focuses on rehabilitation and specific conditioning for dancers and elite athletes. Ms. Lapointe is certified with the Physical Mind Institute and the Ron Fletcher Method. Her unique background has led her to work with Olympic athletes and most recently as the Pilates and dance coach for the US Olympic Artistic Swim team and as a teacher, coach and conditioning specialist for Diablo Ballet. She joined Diablo Ballet’s School faculty in 2022. “My heart is full when I can work with dancers and hopefully be a calm, nurturing space for those in pain.”
Company Teacher and Coach
Born in Lille, France, Pierre trained at the Conservatoire de Lille and The Paris Opéra Ballet School, beginning at age seven. After dancing with Paris Opéra Ballet for eight years, rising to the rank of Sujet, he joined San Francisco Ballet as a soloist in 1998 and was quickly promoted to principal dancer in 1999. His lead roles in Paris and San Francisco include ballets by: John Neumeier - the Prince in The Little Mermaid, Aminta in Sylvia; John Cranko - Onegin in Onegin; Lar Lubovitch - Othello in Othello; Mark Morris - Orion in Sylvia; Rudolf Nureyev - Benvolio in Romeo & Juliet, Abderam and Jean de Brienne in Raymonda, and Rothbart in Swan Lake; Helgi Tomasson - Albrecht in Giselle, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Prince Desiré in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Siegfried and von Rothbart in Swan Lake, Espada in Don Quixote, the Nutcracker Prince and Snow King in Nutcracker. Additionally while in Paris and San Francisco he participated in the creation of principal roles in works by Neumeier, James Kudelka, Jorma Elo, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Val Caniparoli, Tomasson, Yuri Possokhov, Matjash Mrozewski, and others. Vilanoba's broad repertory includes ballet's by Rudolf Nureyev, Roland Petit, Maurice Béjart, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Marius Petipa, Serge Lifar, Vaslav Nijinsky, Leonide Massine, Serge Diaghilev, Victor Gsovsky, Nacho Duato, William Forsythe, Hans van Manen, Angelin Preljocaj, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Sir Frederick Ashton, David Bintley, Harald Lander, Anthony Tudor, Jacques Garnier, Lila York, Caroline Carlson, and Mats Ek. He has performed at galas around the world and in several ballet films with the Paris Opéra Ballet, including Nureyev's Romeo and Juliet. In December 2008, Vilanoba was featured as the Snow King in the PBS Great Performances broadcast of Tomasson's Nutcracker. In 1999 Pierre worked with famed fashion photographer Herb Ritts on a collection produced for the French Vogue's millennium issue. His images have appeared in several books of Herb Ritts' photography as well as the traveling exhibition, HERB RITTS L.A. STYLE, curated in 2012 by The Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Since 2012, Pierre has been teaching and coaching in the San Francisco Bay Area and abroad.
Michael Wells, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, began his formal dance training at Decatur School of Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and later the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He started his career as a trainee with Atlanta Ballet, working with world renowned choreographers and teachers for three seasons before moving to New York City. In New York he performed with Ballet Hispanico’s second company before joining New York Theatre Ballet for several years and two national tours. In 2016 Wells moved to California to dance with Smuin Ballet, and later Diablo Ballet. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2017, he has danced many principal roles in both classical and contemporary ballets and he has been a key part in the creation process for a wide array of new works including ballets by Julia Adam, Robin Dekkers, Bruno Roche, Sally Streets and Penny Saunders. While dancing with Diablo Ballet, he served as a faculty member of Diablo Ballet School. Since 2022, Mr. Wells has created five new works for Diablo Ballet. He gave his final performance with Diablo Ballet in May 2023 and now serves as one of the Company's rehearsal assistants and regisseurs.