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Director (School), Artistic Director (Company)

Richard Cammack's formal, classical-ballet training began at the Interlochen Arts Academy and Butler University, where he graduated with honors, receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Dance. In 1969, he contracted with the American Ballet Theatre and during his five years with the Company danced an extensive repertoire with many soloist roles such as "Pillar of Fire" (Anthony Tudor), "Pulcinella"(Michael Smuin), and "Les Patineurs" (Fredrick Ashton).

In 1973, Mr. Cammack joined Michael Smuin and Lew Christensen, Artistic Directors of the San Francisco Ballet, as Company Regisseur to rehearse, teach and coach the Company dancers. When Harold Christensen retired as School Director in 1975, Mr. Cammack assumed that position which he held until 1986. During his tenure, over 125 students graduated into the ranks of the San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and other major companies throughout the United States and abroad.

Mr. Cammack served for two years as the American representative on the jury of the "Prix de Lausanne," a prestigious international ballet competition, and has lent his services as master teacher and adjudicator for several ballet festivals in the United States.


Director (School), Artistic Director Emeritus (Company)

Zola Dishong has enjoyed an extensive career in dance as a performer and educator. At age fourteen, she received one of the first Ford Foundation Scholarships to the San Francisco Ballet School where she studied with Anatole Vilzak and Harold and Lew Christensen. At seventeen, Ms. Dishong became a member of the San Francisco Ballet and toured with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev on his first USA tour. After moving to New York, she joined American Ballet Theatre where she performed soloist roles in most of their classical repertoire and toured throughout Europe, Japan and the U.S.

After returning to San Francisco, Ms. Dishong was a principal dancer with Pacific Ballet and began her teaching career as head of the Ballet Department at San Francisco State University. In 1974, she joined the faculty of the San Francisco Ballet School, where she taught all levels for 13 years and helped to train many prominent dancers. Ms. Dishong has been recognized for her coaching skills, has taught a variety of master classes and has been called on to judge ballet competitions around the country.

For the last 20 years, Ms. Dishong has devoted herself to teaching and directing in the Contra Costa Ballet Centre, where she has staged and coached Petipa and Balanchine repertoire. She has this past year resigned as Artistic Director of the Contra Costa Ballet Company and has enjoyed the process of mentoring Emily Borthwick into that position. Ms. Dishong now focuses on the directing of the Contra Costa Ballet Centre.



Charles Anderson began his training at the San Francisco Ballet School. He then moved to New York where he received full scholarships at the Joffrey Ballet Center, American Ballet Theater and the School of American Ballet. He then joined the New York City Ballet performing an extensive repertoire of classical and contemporary roles.

Upon retirement, Mr. Anderson formed his own company, Ballet, Inc., in New York City, and served as a guest teacher and choreographer for several companies and schools across the country. He has taught forSmuin Ballets/SF and Lines in San Francisco. In 2002, he founded Company C Contemporary Ballet and served as its Artistic Director for the next fifteen years. He now brings his talents to the Contra Costa Ballet Centre and Company.


Instructor, Associate Artistic Director (Company)

Emily Borthwick received her training from The Dance School of Scotland, Scottish Ballet and The Royal Ballet School, London. In addition she has studied at The Vaganova School, St. Petersburg, Russia, and has had the opportunity to study and with many wonderful teachers and choreographers including Dame Alicia Markova, Valerie Adams, Pamela May, Lynn Seymour, Christopher Wheeldon, David Long and William Glassman.

Before moving to the US, Emily performed and taught throughout London and Belgium. On arriving here she taught for eight years at The Charlotte School of Ballet, NC and performed many roles with The Charlotte Youth Ballet as a guest artist. She was also a member of Kinetyx Dance Company as well as performing with Columbia City Ballet, Opera Carolina, Central Piedmont Theatre, and many televised performances with Eddie Mabry Dance.

Emily has been a guest teacher for the Cecchetti Council of America, and Ballet Theatre Lancaster, PA. She holds her advanced level teaching qualifications from The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), The Cecchetti Council of America (CCA), The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) and The Royal Ballet School (Dip RBS, TTC).



Shannon Bresnahan has been teaching classical ballet for over 25 years, sixteen of which she had been a faculty member at San Francisco Ballet School (1997 - 2014) where she was extraordinarily regarded by her peers and students alike. She has also served as a guest teacher instructing company class for the Royal Danish Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Ms. Bresnahan received her training at North Carolina School of the Arts and in New York City under Maggie Black and performed as a soloist with Munich Ballet's Staatstheatre am Gartnerplatz.



Mercedes David Sheets began her ballet training with French master teacher, Vala Bovie, and continued her training on scholarship at the San Francisco Ballet School under the guidance and mentorship of Zola Dishong and Richard Cammack. Mercedes also studied with notable teachers such as Anatole Vilzak, Erik Bruhn, Finis Jhung, and Terry Westmoreland of the Royal Ballet, London. As an artist of the San Francisco Ballet, Mercedes was featured in a variety of roles, including several in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Vilzak Variations, Stravinsky Piano Pieces, Romeo & Juliet, and Balanchine repertoire. Mercedes is an ABT® Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.


Instructor (Modern)

Amy DeLong-Martin's  interest in modern dance came to the forefront during college where she was exposed to the Graham, Horton, Cunningham, and Limon techniques while earning her BFA in Dance from the University of Arizona. After college, Ms. DeLong-Martin went on to live and work  in New York City, dancing with Elinor Coleman, Stephan Koplowitz and Nancy Meehan. She moved to the Bay Area to start her family and danced with Moving Arts Company of Walnut Creek before transitioning into teaching modern dance and Pilates.

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Sherri LeBlanc trained at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under Marcia Dale Weary. After one year at the School of American Ballet, her professional career started with New York City Ballet, where she danced for 6 years, and then continued for a year in Dusseldorf Germany. In 1995 she joined the San Francisco Ballet where she danced as a soloist for 9 years. She has performed principal roles in numerous ballets, including Giselle, Nutcracker, Agon, Jewels, Liebeslieder Waltzer, and Fancy Free, and worked with such choreographers as Balanchine, Robbins, Tharp, Tomasson, Lubovich, Caniparoli, Welch, Kudelka, Morris, and Wheeldon.


Ms. LeBlanc’s teaching experience includes going to her home school, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, to teach up and coming students during summer sessions and as well, teaching summer sessions at Orlando Ballet School and Next Generation Ballet in Tampa. In the bay area, Ms. LeBlanc has taught as a guest teacher at the San Francisco Ballet School for both their year-round program and their summer sessions. She has also taught as faculty for The Ballet Studio, and guested with City Ballet School and Smuin Ballet. Ms. LeBlanc has been called upon to work as a ballet mistress with San Francisco Ballet, and on occasion has performed with the San Francisco Ballet as a principal character dancer. Ms. LeBlanc holds a BA in Performing Arts from Saint Mary’s College of California.


Instructor (Anatomy)

Meghann (Oakes) Rust started dancing at the Contra Costa Ballet Centre at the age of 4 under the Artistic Direction of Richard Cammack and Zola Dishong Cammack and was a member of the Contra Costa Ballet's pre-professional company for 5 years. She continued her dance career at the University of California, Irvine, where she earned a BA in Dance and a minor in Education. During her final year at Irvine, she trained under Diane Diefenderfer and received her Pilates Certification from Studio du Corps, Pilates Center of Orange County. She furthered her study of movement and exercise at the Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, where she earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Meghann now works as a dance medicine physical therapist in Walnut Creek, CA and specializes in combining the principles of movement with Pilates-based physical therapy to treat young athletes, particularly dancers.


Instructor (Flamenco)

Yaelisa is one of the most gifted Flamenco artists of her generation. Raised by a Spanish Flamenco artist, she was surrounded at birth by the rhythms and vocal laments of the art in its purest form. At the age of 4, she danced on the stage of the famous Casa Madrid, and her immersion in Flamenco culture became a part of her life because of her mother, the renowned singer/dancer, Isa Mura. She has performed with many of Spain's finest artists.


Internationally recognized as a master teacher, Yaelisa has developed a style that emphasizes cultural understanding and knowledge of the cante. She was the recipient of an Emmy award in 1993, for her choreography for the PBS program, "Desde Cadiz Sevilla", as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship. In 2005, Yaelisa and her company received an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Best Company Performance, and in 2006, she was chosen as one of ABC 7's "Profiles in Excellence" Hispanic leadership awardees. In 2014, she choreographed "La Travista" for the San Francisco Opera.


Yaelisa is the cofounder and artistic director of the New World Flamenco Festival in Irvine, California. She has worked in film, television, opera, and stage.  

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