On this episode, Steven and Yasi talk with the artistic and wellness pros behind Diablo Ballet, a professional dance company and ballet school in Walnut Creek, California. As they celebrate the end of their 28th season, we find out how they manage to keep health and wellness a priority, while maintaining artistic excellence. We also delve into the working relationships among the artistic director, principal dancers, and music composer in creating original ballets, while reflecting on staying afloat during a pandemic and handling the pressures of social media.
Our guests are Dr Selina Shah MD, company physician for Diablo Ballet; Lauren Jonas, artistic director and co-founder, Diablo Ballet, Raymond Tilton, company dancer and School Principal and teacher of the Diablo Ballet School, and and Justin Levitt, award-winning music composer for the Ballet.
To learn about Diablo Ballet, go to https://diabloballet.org. Follow their Twitter at @diabloballet.
For more about International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, go to https://iadms.org.
For more about Athletes and the Arts, go to http://athletesandthearts.com
Selina Shah, MD, FACP, FAMSSM is a board certified sports medicine and internal medicine physician in private practice in Walnut Creek, CA. She is the company physician for several dance companies and dance studios in the San Francisco Bay Area including Diablo Ballet, AXIS Dance Company, Contra Costa Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, and Tiffany’s Dance Academy. She is a team physician for USA Artistic Swimming, USA Weightlifting, and USA Figure Skating. She also cares for Broadway shows and Cirque du Soleil when they come to the San Francisco Bay Area. She is past Treasurer and Board Member for the IADMS and is now on the board for The Bridge Dance Project and serves on the Executive Committee for the Taskforce on Dancer Health for Dance/USA. She has lectured nationally and internationally on various dance medicine topics, has published papers in medical journals and books, including criteria on determining readiness for pointe and her original research on demographics and dance injuries in modern dance and other injury case reports.
Lauren Jonas trained at the Marin Ballet. She performed with the Milwaukee Ballet, the Oakland Ballet, the Southwest Ballet, and toured the United States with the Moscow Ballet. 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 in 1995. 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 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. She is also the Co-Founder and Director of Diablo Ballet School.
Raymond Tilton received his ballet training at San Elijo Dance Academy and San Francisco Ballet School. In 2010, he danced as an apprentice with the San Francisco Ballet and was promoted to the Company in 2011 dancing in ballets by some of today's most sought-after choreographers. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2015, Mr. Tilton has performed the lead in numerous ballets including Christopher Wheeldon's Carousal (A Dance) and George Balanchine's Apollo. Mr. Tilton is the School Principal and teacher of Diablo Ballet School.
Justin Levitt was first inspired to learn and compose for the piano at the age of 15. Since that day, he has been on an ever-evolving musical journey. Justin has written hundreds of piano pieces that are being taught and performed all over the world, he has won seven MTAC state composition awards, performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall, published ten volumes of solo piano compositions and was internationally published in the AMEB syllabus. Justin has been and continues to be commissioned by the Diablo Ballet to compose piano and orchestral scores for various live performances and short-films - one of which, Spiritus, earned him a Gold Telly Award in 2018. His score for Ballestra was most recently selected by the Paris Art and Movie Awards for Best Music.You can learn more about Justin and his music at www.justinlevitt.com