Master Classes

Diablo Ballet School will offer a variety of classes in technique and necessary subjects throughout the school year and Summer Intensives. These master classes are designed to enrich ballet training and help foster a well-rounded and versatile student. Master Classes are only open to registered students of Diablo Ballet School.

Upcoming Master Classes

Joanna Berman – Sunday, May 17 

A Virtual Master class in Technique offered by former principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet and Diablo Ballet Regisseur, Joanna Berman.

Sunday, May 17 at 10:30 am PST
Intermediate/Advanced Level
Cost: Complimentary, donations are appreciated

Diablo Ballet School is hosting a Master Class in Technique by former principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet and Diablo Ballet Regisseur, Joanna Berman. The class will be 1 hour and 15 mins followed by a Q&A. Please rsvp to school@diabloballet.org by Thursday, May 14 and the Zoom link will be emailed out on Friday. Donations can be made by clicking here.

Joanna Berman was one of the most celebrated members of San Francisco Ballet and a principal dancer from 1984-2002 dancing the leading roles in Giselle, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and Romeo & Juliet in addition to numerous contemporary and classical works. She is in demand as a teacher, guest teacher and repeteur for a number of ballet companies across the world. Ms. Berman has been staging and coaching ballets for Diablo Ballet since 1996.

“Excellent training is essential for a professional career in ballet. I’m thrilled that Diablo Ballet School will be providing such training to young dancers in the East Bay.”– Joanna Berman.

Sean Kelly
A Master Class in Ballet and Broadway, by Associate Choreographer/Resident Director for the National Tour of An American in Paris, Sean Kelly

Mr. Kelly received his training at the Marin Ballet and went on to perform with American Ballet Theatre II and Houston Ballet as a Principal dancer for 16 years. He has performed in the touring production of Swing, Twlya Tharp’s Movin’ Out where he also served as the Resident Director. He was also the Resident Choreographer of the Tony Award winning musical Billy Elliot, and the Associate Choreographer for An American in Paris on Broadway. Mr. Kelly is also a choreographer and has created ballets for Houston Ballet and numerous works for Diablo Ballet including our annual hit, A Swingin’ Holiday.

Julia Adam 
A Master class in Choreography offered by master choreographer and former principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet, Julia Adam

Julia Adam was a member of San Francisco Ballet and principal dancer from 1988-2002. She has created over 70 works for numerous companies including San Francisco Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Houston Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, ABT 2, Alberta Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Nashville Ballet. Ms. Adam has created two world premieres for Diablo Ballet and will be creating an extended version of her holiday hit, The Nutcracker Suite, this November. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Ballet.

Sandra Jennings 
A Master class in Balanchine Technique offered by Balanchine Repeteur, Sandra Jennings.

At the age of thirteen, Sandra Jennings, received a Ford Foundation scholarship to the School of American Ballet in New York. In 1974, she was asked by Balanchine to join New York City Ballet where she worked with him for the next nine years and danced an enormous repertoire that included principal and solo roles in many Balanchine and Jerome Robbins ballets. In 1985, Ms. Jennings began staging ballets by Balanchine and since then has worked for various companies in the United States as well as abroad in her capacity as ballet-mistress and coach.

Karen Portner Lapointe
A Master class in Pilates, by Diablo Ballet alumni and pilates instructor, Karen Portner Lapointe

Ms Portner Lapointe enjoyed a rewarding dance career that spanned 21 years dancing for the Joffrey Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet, and as a principal dancer for the Nashville Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and Diablo Ballet. Upon retiring from her professional ballet career she followed her other passion that of a Pilates instructor and dance teacher including being the Pilates and Ballet Trainer for the US Olympic Synchronized Swim Team from 2014-2016. She taught at the Contra Costa Ballet School from 1995-present and currently is the Pilates rehabilitation specialist at Forma Gym in Walnut Creek Ca.

Plus additional classes on:

  • Injury Prevention – Presented by Diablo Ballet’s Physician, Dr. Selina Shah
  • Pas de Deux – Learn the art of Pas de Deux with Diablo Ballet’s male dancers who have partnered some of the most prolific ballerinas of our time.
  • Anatomy for Dancers – Presented by Diablo Ballet’s Physical Therapist, Meghann Oakes Rust
    Like a musician has their instrument and a painter has their brushes and canvas, a dancer has their body as their primary tool for expression. This class is a lecture-lab series designed to help the dancer understand their body and how to safely and effectively activate their muscles to achieve proper ballet technique. By the end of the class, the dancer will be able to identify the correct muscles to be used for turnout, pointing the foot, and port de bras. The dancer will not only learn strengthening exercises to target these muscles but, more importantly, how to apply their new strength in a ballet class.

Other classes that may be offered throughout the year:

  • Variations
  • Young Men’s Class
  • Character Dance
  • Contemporary
  • Jazz
  • Creative Dance
  • Pilates

 Please note that master classes are additional classroom hours and therefore may carry an additional cost.