Co-Founder & Director, Diablo Ballet School
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.
Associate Director, Diablo Ballet School
Ballet Levels 4-5
Rebecca Berke majored in ballet at the University of Utah where she danced with Ballet Ensemble and the Utah Light Opera Company. She began teaching in California in 1975 and later opened and managed Ballet and Theatre Arts in Danville in 1983-2006. Mrs. Berke also founded and directed the Danville Ballet Company for pre-professional dancers and went on to direct the Professional Ballet Training Program for Community Arts in Walnut Creek. She is committed to training dancers in the art of dance as well as provide them with an understanding of their bodies and how it can be used with respect, dignity and for expressing beauty in their art form. Mrs. Berke is also a Board Certified Hypnotherapist and Mindfulness teacher and coach. Her practice is at Comprehensive Wellness in Walnut Creek.
Principal, Diablo Ballet School
Level 5 and Adult Ballet
Raymond Tilton was born in San Marcos and trained at San Elijo Dance Academy and San Francisco Ballet School prior to being named an apprentice in 2010 with the San Francisco Ballet and joining the Company in 2011. His repertory with the San Francisco Ballet includes Tomasson's "Nutcracker" (King of the Mice and Arabian), Tomasson’s "Giselle", Tomasson's "Romeo and Juliet", Balanchine’s "Coppélia", Cranko’s "Onegin", Neumeier’s "The Little Mermaid", Wheeldon’s "Cinderella" (Winter and Courtier), Balanchine’s "Scotch Symphony", Fokine’s "Petrouchka", Lifar’s "Suite en Blanc", Nureyev’s "Raymonda"—Act III, Possokhov’s "Firebird", Ratmansky’s "Shostakovich Trilogy" (Symphony #9 and Chamber Symphony), and Robbins’ "Glass Pieces". Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2015, Mr. Tilton has performed in works by: Sean Kelly, Robert Dekkers, Norbert Vesak, Gary Masters, Sonya Delwaide, and George Balanchine's "Apollo".
Ballet Levels 3-5
Amanda Farris was born and raised in Central California, training in ballet with Central West Ballet, Valley Oak School of Dance, and during summers with Boston Ballet. Ms. Farris was a medalist in the Russian Pointe USA national ballet competition in 2004. She attended Long Beach State on a full academic scholarship where she studied both cultural anthropology and dance. There Ms. Farris trained in modern dance and ballet under world renowned faculty. After graduating summa cum laude, she joined The Georgia Ballet where she quickly rose to dancing principal roles, many of which were created on her. Some featured roles include those in Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Pas de Quatre, Janusz Mazon’s Pinnochio and The Firebird, and Alexandre Proia’s The Four Seasons. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2014, Ms. Farris has danced in works by Robert Dekkers, George Balanchine, Sonya Delwaide, Val Caniparoli, Christopher Stowell, Sean Kellly, Norbert Vesak, and Trey McIntyre.
Ballet Level 5
Ballet Level 1
Donghoon Lee is from Seoul, South Korea and received his training at Sejong University. He made his debut in The Nutcracker three months after entering the Korea National Ballet in 2008. As a principal dancer, he danced principal roles in Cinderella, Don Quixote, Giselle, La Bayadere, The Nutcracker, Prince Ho Dong, Romeo and Juliet, Serenade, Spartacus, Swan Lake and The Taming of the Shrew. Once nominated as a Benois de la Danse, Mr. Lee worked with a number of well-known choreographers. This is his first season with Diablo Ballet.
Ballet Levels 1-2
Felipe Leon was born in Bogota, Colombia and trained on full scholarship at Ballet Academy East in New York City. He performed with Compania Colombiana de Danza, in Bogota and has danced soloist and principal roles in works by Maurice Berjart, Wendy Whelan, Matthew Neenan, Margo Sappington, Lisa de Ribere, Claudia Schreire and Alan Hineline. Mr. Leon’s repertoire includes works created for him, Coppelia, Alice in Wonderland and The Nutcracker. This is Mr. Leon's third season with Diablo Ballet.
Pre-Ballet and Ballet Levels 1-2
Olivia Powell is a native of the Boston area and received her ballet training from the Boston Ballet School. She attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ dance department and received her BFA with first class honors at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, in Hong Kong. Ms. Powell then joined The Alabama Ballet where she performed in works such as George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, as the dew drop fairy, and Tarantella. She also performed in Jiri Jylian’s Sechs Tanze, Agnes De Mille’s Rodeo, and Roger Van Fleteren’s Romeo and Juliet and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In 2014, she joined Ballet Memphis where she worked with many choreographers including Mark Godden, Steven McMahon, Uri Sands, Joshua L. Peugh, Gabrielle Lamb, Julia Adam and Julie Marie Niekrasz. Ms. Powell has also choreographed several works for Ballet Memphis’ “Pairings” and The Alabama Ballet’s “Choreographic Showcase”. This is Ms. Powell's first season with Diablo Ballet.
Ballet Levels 3-5
Edward Stegge received his training on full scholarship at the San Francisco Ballet, and also received training at the School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. He danced with the Colorado Ballet for ten seasons, performing the Cavalier in "The Nutcracker", Franz in "Coppelia", Bluebird in "Sleeping Beauty", and alternate leading roles in Alvin Ailey's "The River". Mr. Stegge was a guest artist with Minnesota Dance Theater, under direction of the late Loyce Houlton, and has performed extensively throughout Japan. He returned to California in 2000 and performed with Peninsula Ballet Theatre, Oakland Ballet, and with the San Francisco Opera Ballet. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2002, Mr. Stegge has performed the title role in Julia Adam's "The Little Prince", George Balanchine’s "Tarantella Pas de Deux" and "Who Cares", KT Nelson's "Walk before Talk" and Val Caniparoli’s "Aquilarco" Pas de Deux. In 2014, Mr. Stegge retired as a dancer and assumed the position of PEEK Associate Director, where he works with under-served school children and youth incarcerated in the Juvenile Justice System, teaching them self esteem, group process, and expressing oneself through movement.
Jordan Nicole Tilton
Pre-Ballet and Ballet Level 1
Born in Irvine, California, Jordan Nicole Tilton trained with Hannah Karacic before joining the Ballet Pacifica Conservatory and later Maple Conservatory of Dance. After spending summers at the School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School, she was invited to join San Francisco Ballet School’s Trainee Program in 2008 and went on to join San Francisco Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2010. With the San Francisco Ballet, she has danced various roles in full length ballet’s such as Helgi Tomasson’s Giselle, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Romeo & Juliet, as well as John Cranko’s Onegin, John Neumier’s Little Mermaid, George Balanchine’s Coppelia, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, The Four Temperaments, Scotch Symphony, Serenade, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements, and Theme and Variations, Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite, Edwaard Liang’s Symphonic Dances, Alexei Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy (Piano Concerto #1); Jerome Robbins’ The Concert and Glass Pieces Serge Lifar’s Suite en Blanc, Liam Scarlett’s Hummingbird Natalia Makarova’s (after Petipa) "The Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadère. In addition, Ms. Tilton originated roles in Yuri Possokhov’s Rite of Spring and Swimmer and performed featured roles in Mark Morris’s Maelstrom, Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker and Miles Thatcher’s Stone and Steel. In 2015, she danced in the filming of Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet as part of the inaugural season of Lincoln Center at the Movies: & in the 2011 filming of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid for PBS’s Great Performances. This is Ms. Tilton's second season with Diablo Ballet.