State Street Ballet is a critically-acclaimed company of professional dancers gathered from around the world. They are under the direction of former American Ballet Theatre dancer Rodney Gustafson, who founded the company in 1994. Mr. Gustafson has since elevated the company to a level where the dancers work an average of 30 weeks per season, are on tour for 2-3 months of the year, and sustain rave reviews and sparkling reputations at home and on the road. The Artistic Staff of State Street Ballet are dedicated to ensuring the highest quality of technique and artistry from the dancers, and are committed to providing artistic and cultural enrichment to the Santa Barbara community.
Founder and Artistic Director, brings vision, energy and mastery of the classics to State Street Ballet, propelling the company to explore new and untapped areas of entertainment. Mr. Gustafson's innovative approach to the dance world is backed by a successful career as a dancer with American Ballet Theatre. He holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Business Administration and Organizational Management, and combining these skills with the experiences of a performing career has allowed him to build a successful ballet company, respected for its versatility, artistic excellence, and intelligently-designed productions.
As a dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Mr. Gustafson worked with many of the greatest dancers and choreographers of all time, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Rudolph Nureyev, Jerome Robbins and Anthony Tudor. He appeared in the films The Turning Point and Baryshnikov's Nutcracker, and performed in several Live from Lincoln Center specials airing on PBS.
During his tenure as Artistic Director of State Street Ballet, Mr. Gustafson has created many original full-length ballets for the company, including The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Jungle Book. In 2014, he choreographed for the music video "Still Beautiful", performed by the band Vanaka, and featuring State Street Ballet dancers. Mr. Gustafson continues to choreograph in the contemporary style, inspiring his dancers to break boundaries, explore new movement, develop their own signature style, and thrive as artists in the constantly evolving world of dance.
is an internationally recognized conductor of ballet, opera, symphony, and musical theater. Currently he is Artistic Director and Conductor for Opera San Luis Obispo. Past conducting highlights include the Eastern Bohemian Philharmonic, Ballet Tucson, Beverly Hills Symphony, Opera Pasadena, Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, Tulsa Ballet, Karlove Vary Sinfonie, Albanian Radio and Television Orchestra, South Florida Opera Company, Eastern Sierra Symphony, Bourgas State Opera, Rio Hondo Symphony, St. Cloud Symphony and Long Beach Opera, to name a few.
Ballet Master, was born in Russia, and graduated with distinction from Perm State College of Choreography in Russia. In 1990, she was admitted to the Moscow State Theatre Kremlin Ballet where she worked with the renowned Vladimir Vasiliev and Ekaterina Maximova. She has performed roles in all of the famous classical ballets and has toured internationally with the Russian Imperial Ballet, Moscow Classical Ballet, and the Moscow Festival Ballet. Fliagina joined State Street Ballet as a dancer in 1998, and was promoted to Ballet Master for the 2000-01 Season. In addition to her duties as Ballet Master, she continues to appear in character roles such as the Nanny in Robert Sund’s Alice in Wonderland, and the Nurse Maid in Rodney Gustafson’s Romeo and Juliet.
Costume Design, has designed for Broadway, off-Broadway, opera, and numerous dance companies. Her work can be seen in the repertories of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in N.Y.C; Joffrey Ballet Chicago; Nevada Ballet Theater; North Carolina Dance Theater; Ballet Florida; and Buglisi Dance Theatre in N.Y.C. She designed costumes for Vicente Nebrada's Ballet Nacional in Caracas, Venezuela, where she was twice awarded the Venezuelan Oscar for Design. Giannini designed scenery and costumes for State Street Ballet's Seasons, Texas Fourth, Taming of the Shrew, 5 Tangos, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, The Jungle Book, Carmen, Carmina Burana, and An American Tango.
Ballet Master, received his primary training from Marguerite Phares, Vladimir Luppov, Alonzo King, and under David Howard at Harkness House in New York. While his performing career was primarily with Ballet Florida, he also danced with Southwest Ballet and San Diego Ballet, was a member of the original Santa Barbara Ballet under the direction of Tamara Kinsell, and was a founding member of State Street Ballet. McKenzie has choreographed numerous ballets for various companies and has worked as a choreographer for Opera Santa Barbara.
Managing Director, is a Founding Member of the State Street Ballet Board, served as President for thirteen years, and has been Managing Director of the company since 2008. He has danced professionally and semi-professionally for Plexus Dance Theatre, Channel Islands Ballet, and Pacific Coast Ballet, among others, and continues to attend ballet class daily. He is a professional Marine Biologist involved in water pollution research, and is the President and Owner of Aquatic Bioassay and Consulting Laboratories in Ventura. Mr. Mikel holds both a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Marine Biology.
Professional Track Program Director, was born and raised in Southern California. She graduated from Butler University in 2002 with a degree in Dance Pedagogy. After receiving her Simonson Jazz Teaching Certification in 2003, she spent eight years in NYC teaching, performing, and choreographing. She was on faculty at Dance New Amsterdam, Ballet Tech School, Ballet Arts, Connecticut Performing Arts Center, and the Staten Island Ballet School. She danced for BBBallet and was a soloist with the Staten Island Ballet. In 2010 she graduated from NYU with a Master's Degree in Dance Education, with a focus in ABT Ballet Pedagogy, and relocated to Chicago to become a full time faculty member and curriculum coordinator for the Joffrey Academy of Dance. After three and a half years at the Joffrey Ballet, Megan and her husband returned to southern California. She joined the SSB faculty in 2013, serves as Director of the Professional Track program, and choreographs and teaches for Gustafson Dance and SSB Young Dancers.
Choreographer, has worked as a principal dancer in ballet and modern companies with choreographers Antony Tudor, John Butler, Alvin Ailey, Toer Van Shayk and Grey Verdon. While dancing with Finis Jhung’s Chamber Ballet USA in New York City, Mr. Soleau created his first work, Isle. In 1987, he gained international recognition for his work Universe, created for the Shanghai Ballet of China during its first International Shanghai Arts Festival. Mr. Soleau has created over 80 ballets in the repertoires of many dance companies around the world including Ballet British Columbia, The Icelandic Ballet, Ballet Austin, Ballet de Montreal, Richmond Ballet, Ballet Met, American Ballroom Dance Theater, Louisville Ballet and Ballet Florida. Mr. Soleau’s close association with State Street Ballet over the past 16 years has produced such works as An American Tango, Appalachian Spring, Carmen, Carmina Burana and Starry Night.
Choreographer, was born and raised in Mexico City. He has held positions with The International Ballet Company of USIU, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and finally, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal where he has danced for the past 15 years. His choreographic works Sonata De Luna and I and Other garnered critical acclaim at both the 2002 and 2003 Festivals Danse Encore in Trois-Rivières, Québec. He has since created several pieces for Les Ballet Jazz—notably Besame...Besame Mucho—and been commissioned by Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Ballet de Monterrey, and Playhouse Dance Company, among others.