State Street Ballet: News

December Newsletter - 2021

Posted: December 29, 2021

Pointes of Interest - December 2021 Edition

Welcome to State Street Ballet's monthly newsletter, keeping you current on all things dance, music, and movement in our Santa Barbara hub. Follow along each month for insights into the rehearsal process, features on our artists, sponsor spotlights, digital content highlights, and some charming blasts from the past.

2021: In Hindsight

2021 was quite the dichotomy of events and emotions. From navigating the roller coaster that is Covid-19, to celebrating a triumphant return to the stage for the arts in Santa Barbara, the past twelve months have left us all feeling grateful despite continuing challenges and tests of resilience. We have come to realize, time and again, just how innovative and adaptable the global arts community is, and how great our responsibility is to contribute to the quality of life on this planet, for the time that we are here. Here is a quick look back at the happy successes of State Street Ballet’s most recent orbit around the sun...

* Our Virtual Spring Series kicked off in February 2021, bringing monthly FREE viewings of some of our most beloved performances to audiences everywhere, thanks to the ease and accessibility of our YouTube channel. Cinderella, Ballroom, and Carmen had their home theater debuts, complete with interactive watch parties that brought our dancers (past and present!) and audiences together safely.

* With support from the California Arts Council, the Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation, and the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, the story of The Little Mermaid was brought to life through dance, music, bilingual translations, and American Sign Language. Directed by Cecily MacDougall, choreography by Cecily MacDougall and Megan Philipp, with music by the Opera San Luis Obispo musicians, this five-part arts education series debuted on our YouTube Channel as part of our virtual outreach initiatives.

* We were so excited to hold our three-week Summer Intensive IN-PERSON at our studios for a group of wonderful dance students. Those three weeks were jam packed with technique classes and choreography ranging from classical ballet to Broadway jazz, and culminated in a heartwarming performance at Center Stage Theater that was practically bursting with happiness.

* State Street Ballet officially returned to The Granada Theatre stage in October 2021 with KISMET, produced by beloved philanthropist Sara Miller McCune and performed in collaboration with the Santa Barbara Symphony under Maestro Nir Kabaretti, alongside stars of Broadway. Directed by the legendary Lonny Price with choreography by SSB's Co-artistic Director and Resident Choreographer William Soleau, this updated version of the award-winning Broadway musical signified the return of live performances for the Santa Barbara performing arts community and will always be remembered as symbolic of this moment in history.

* We got to collaborate with Opera Santa Barbara! Manuel de Falla’s fiery operatic ballet El amor brujo was part of a spooky Halloween double bill, and our dancers were exquisite in it, thanks to choreography by Cecily MacDougall, direction by Layna Chianakas, and overall awesomeness by OSB’s Artistic and General Director Kostis Protopapas.

* After two years, The Nutcracker got its triumphant return! Our incredible dancers performed better than ever - in thirteen shows in four different cities, with numerous different ballet schools, and three different orchestras. The story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince felt more nostalgic and magical than it usually does, bringing comfort and familiarity to audiences across three different states. Bringing a sense of normalcy that we were all craving, this year’s Nutcracker performances felt like the perfect holiday hug.

2021 was a year of adapting and recalibrating, after an already long year of adapting and recalibrating. Our lessons learned about perseverance and creativity are matched by our gratitude for our dancer’s steadfast dedication to their art form and our audience’s passion for supporting our work. Thank you for being on this journey with us, and we look forward to an even more fulfilling 2022!

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MEET-THE-ARTIST: Arianna Hartanov

Arianna’s career with State Street Ballet has one of the most inspiring trajectories we have seen. A Denver, CO native with a solid background in classical ballet technique, Arianna joined our Professional Track trainee program in 2016 and immediately brought significant flair with her, whether it was sparkling her way through the challenging Esmerelda solo with maturity and presence or being featured in works by contemporary powerhouses Edgar Zendejas and Kassandra Taylor Newberry.

After two years in the Pro Track, finetuning what has surely become a dancer of extraordinary mind and body, Arianna joined State Street Ballet as an apprentice in 2018. Her choreographic debut Verbatim premiered at our in-studio EVENINGS in 2019 and was selected to be expanded and performed at Modern Masters at The New Vic in the same year – impressive for a young choreographer who is clearly on her way to greatness.  In the fall of 2019 Arianna was promoted to a full company member and has become a standout performer in her own right, stealing the show as the Rat Queen in The Nutcracker and Carabosse in our upcoming premiere of Sleeping Beauty.

A dancer as dynamic in movement as she is intelligent in the mind, Arianna’s technical abilities often astound and inspire awe. She moves with the opposing energies of supreme control and ultimate abandonment, buoyed by her recent attendance at the OBOC (One Body One Mind) Intensive in Amsterdam with Anouk Van Dijk, founder of Countertechnique, which Arianna would like to get certified in. In contemporary work Arianna’s body appears to be simultaneously pulled in a thousand different directions, yet always grounded and centered to the core. The classical ballet technique she has mastered has allowed her a signature exploration of liberating expression.

Wise beyond her youthful years, Arianna embodies another dichotomy – a dancer who is striving for satisfaction while simultaneously satisfied with the striving in itself. Her dark red hair symbolizes her internal fire and her outward strength of character and innate sense of self. With her idea of perfect happiness being “to no longer feel like time passes so quickly it feels wasted,” one only has to watch Arianna move in the studio or on stage to know that she is perfectly in the moment, a gift to herself and the audience.

In her own words:

“My current state of mind is driven and compassionate. I am trying to become a person I can be proud of, the work is never done!”

Don’t miss your chance to see Arianna as Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty , coming to The Granada Theatre on March 5 & 6!



We were so eager for another installment of our dancer-choreographed Evenings Studio Series, scheduled for January 21 and 22, but out of an abundance of caution due to the increase in Covid-19 cases in our community, we have decided to postpone Evenings until the Fall of 2022. It will be the same great, inspiring, groundbreaking experience you are used to, just safer and a few months later. Thank you for understanding, as we continue to do our part to keep our dancers, staff, and you, safe!

Missing Evenings?? Our virtual Evenings from 2020 was spectacular! It's up on our YouTube channel, free and available to all. Check it out on a cozy night in!

Watch Evenings 2020 


A modern take on a favorite fairytale, Sleeping Beauty will make its much anticipated debut at The Granada Theatre, two years after being postponed in March of 2020. And this time Tchaikovsky's celebrated score will be played live by the Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra!  A joyful production that features intricately designed sets, visionary costumes, and virtuosic dancing that has become symbolic of the classical ballet repertoire, Sleeping Beauty is a performance to be enjoyed by all!

March 5 - 7:30pm

March 6 - 2:00pm

The Granada Theatre

Thank you to Principal Orchestra Sponsor Malcolm Tuffnell. The gift of live music with dance is absolutely priceless!

Sleeping Beauty Tickets 

COMMUNITY COLLABORATION: New Year's Eve with the Symphony and Kostis Protopapas!

We love collaborations, and seeing two of our favorite partners teaming up for New Year's Eve just brings a smile to our faces! The Santa Barbara Symphony will be presenting their annual New Year's concert at The Granada Theatre on December 31, 8:30pm, with special guest conductor Kostis Protopapas of Opera Santa Barbara! If you still need plans for NYE you are in for a treat with Kostis and the Symphony - a little Gershwin, a little Bernstein, some Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the camaraderie of community.

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM STATE STREET BALLET: Donate today and invest in the arts in Santa Barbara

We wish you a fantastic year ahead, full of happiness and renewal. Your support and enthusiasm mean the world to us, and they keep our mission alive. Please consider an end-of-year donation to State Street Ballet, in support of our programs, education initiatives, training programs, and the spectacular artists that we bring to our community. It is our honor to perform for you and to bring the magic of dance into your lives. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in 2022!

Make a tax-deductible donation today

Thanks for reading!

Pointes of Interest is written by Leila Drake, Director of Communications

Comments? Feedback? Suggestions? We welcome it all!

Contact Leila at