A Statement from Peninsula Ballet Theatre
Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade put faces to the murders of our black citizens that have been happening for over 400 years. Peninsula Ballet Theatre, along with ballet companies across America, continues to take a stand for racial justice and equality. We create art and we believe art is a tool that can shape humanity. Our artists, faculty and staff are committed to being allies and providing a loving and caring environment for our diverse students, families, company members, faculty and community.
History of PBT
Peninsula Ballet Theatre was founded in 1967 by Dick Ford and Richard Gibson as the non-profit performing vehicle for students in their ballet school, then Peninsula Ballet School. In 1971 the first professional dancers trained outside the school were hired to form a separate permanent company, the Bay Area's second oldest professional ballet company in continuous operations. Gregory Amato took the helm as Artistic Director in early 2017, and since then has cultivated a company of professional dancers that performs a full season of wide-ranging repertory.
In 2010 we transformed a former Circuit City big box store into a 30,000 square foot regional arts center. We have five dance studios plus a pilates studio. We offer workshops and dance training in all genres plus a number of dance fitness classes. We host two local fine arts organizations who present a gallery of local artists. Members of the community present a number of activities from poetry reading to soirees with artists from all disciplines.
Christine Leslie - President and Executive Director
Ms. Leslie brings a unique blend of performing arts experience and business management to Peninsula Ballet Theatre. She has been associated with Peninsula Ballet Theatre for over 30 years, beginning in 1979 performing with the professional company in productions such as Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Fille Mal Guarde, Giselle, Cinderella, and Romeo & Juliet as well as performing in numerous musical theater productions. She has served as member of the Peninsula Ballet Theatre Board of Trustees, board president, and now as president and CEO. In addition to a degree in Journalism and a Masters in Mass Communications, Leslie earned her Executive MBA in International Business from the University of San Francisco. After working for 25 years managing economic development, sales, and marketing programs in the high tech industry, Christine joined the PBT administrative staff full time. She continues her study of voice and dance.
Gregory Amato - Artistic Director
Gregory Amato has a wide breadth of experience in the international world of ballet. During his four years with Ballet Du Nord in France, Mr. Amato performed in 53 countries. These included performances before the Queen of England, two presidents, numerous ambassadors, dignitaries and prime ministers.
He was tapped by New York City Ballet principal dancer Edward Villella to join him as a founding member of Villella's Miami City Ballet. After relocating to the Bay Area, he was similarly chosen by Michael Smuin as a founding member of Smuin Ballet. While dancing there, Smuin created several ballets on Mr. Amato, including "Frankie and Johnny,” and "Cyrano." He also appeared in the movie, "The Fantastics," which Smuin choreographed.
Mr. Amato's primary teacher and inspiration was New York City Ballet Dancer, Nolan T'Sani. He also studied under full scholarships at the San Francisco Ballet School and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York.
Mr. Amato competed and won the gold medal in the Fred Astaire International Ballroom Dance Competition. Despite his impressive ballet career, his personal highlight was his experience as the featured dancer at Carnegie Hall for the 100th Celebration of George Gershwin’s birthday.
Stuck Sanders - Artistic Director
Stuck Sanders was introduced to dance at the age of 12 when his mom was looking for a creative outlet for the obviously athletic youngster who was not all that trilled with traditional organized sports. After one hip hop class he was hooked and headed for a career in the world of art and dance. In just a few years he was performing in the half time shows of the Sacramento Kings basketball games and earning a reputation as a top freestyler where the dancer is encouraged to create new moves and develop a personal style. Soon he was known for his style of Turf Dancing incorporating strong narrative with storytelling and mime and burnished his reputation participating in numerous Battle Dances. At 19 he headed to Los Angeles for more vigorous training in hip hop choreography. In 2012 he joined Academy of Villains as principal dancer/choreographer where his choreography became known for its strong theatrical flair. There he and Ale Martinez became one of the AOV main dance partners and in December 2015 they formed The Tribe where they could continue to foster the art form and pass on their many talents to new hip hop artists.
Alee Martinez - Choreographer and Dance Master
Alee Martinez hails from the Bay Area and has been surrounded by dance all of her life. Her parents were salsa dancers who competed throughout the Bay Area. Although she began with traditional ballet training, she fell in love with hip hop. At age 19, she auditioned for The Academy of Villains and became one of their principle dancers and by age 21 was named assistant director. Her teaching international coaching include all cultures from Switzerland to Colombia, teaching what she loves most. Us audience know her primarily from her appearance on Americas Got Talent Season 7 and Fake off Season 2 where she and the Villains were crowned “Fake Off Champions” and won $100,000.
Carlos Carvajal - Director Emeritus
An internationally known choreographer of more than 200 works of ballet, opera and television, Carlos served as Peninsula Ballet Theatre Artistic Director from 1992 until his retirement in 2010. It was during those years that PBT become widely known for artistic excellence, sophisticated program and production values. It is upon that foundation that Peninsula Ballet Theatre has continued its growth and recognition as one of the few regional ballet companies that has survived and thrived for over 50 years.
Allison Meson - Marketing Manager
Allison Meson grew up in Central Pennsylvania and has been part of the ballet world from a young age. She was a professional ballerina with the Pennsylvania Ballet from 2011-2015, which sparked her interest in Public Relations. In June of 2020, Allison will receive her Bachelor's Degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations from Drexel University. She brings many years of customer service and client relations experience to the Marketing Manager position at PBT. In addition, she has been on the teaching faculty at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and is currently on faculty at the Peninsula Ballet Theatre School. She is grateful for the opportunity to bring her diverse background, love of dance, and passion for public relations to the Marketing Manager position at PBT.