The Black Diamond Ballet Theatre was formed in 2009 after its founders Michael Lowe and Sharon Sobel Idul realized the need for a professional ballet company in East Contra Costa County. This is the first ever professional ballet company to proudly call the historic Pittsburg Creative Arts Building its home. In 2009, Lowe and Idul's Nutcracker debuted on CAB's stage shortly before it's 2 year closure for renovations. BDBT's last show was Lowe's excerpts from Romeo & Juliet in May of 2010. In July of 2011, Idul took over as Artistic Director.
Upon the 1,850-seat theater's reopening, Black Diamond Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker, under the direction of Pittsburg native Sharon Sobel Idul, returns to the stage on December 7th, 8th and 9th. Idul's full-length production of the Nutcracker is not to be missed!
Black Diamond Ballet Theatre remains dedicated to the community through its outreach programs with local elementary schools, various public events, and our local retirement & senior communities. Please come support the community and the arts as these professional dancers of Pittsburg, the East County and far beyond are joined by over 50 local students to take the stage once again.
Sharon Sobel Idul, Artistic Director
Sharon Sobel Idul, a Pittsburg native began her ballet training at age 3 through the City of Pittsburg. She then studied under Helga Ishikata at Delta Ballet Academy from age 7 to 18. Ms. Idul joined Delta Children's Ballet Theatre in 1992 and performed many principal roles in The Little Match Girl, Enchanted Toy Shoppe, Peter and the Wolf, and Bolero.
She holds a degree in Dance from Cal State University, Long Beach. She is the recipient of the 2004 Jason Robins Dance Scholarship. During college Ms. Idul studied under a wide variety of accomplished dance educators and choreographers, such as Sophie Monat, Alaine Haubert, Keith Johnson, Sharon McKinney, Douglas Neilson, and many other guest instructors. She has performed in historic ballets such as Balanchine’s Serenade, Petipa’s Les Slyphides, among many other original works while attending CSU-Long Beach. Sharon has danced with Peninsula Ballet Theatre.
She is the owner of Delta Ballet Academy and recently made her debut as Artistic Director of Delta Children’s Ballet Theatre with their premiere of Peter Pan in April 2008. Currently, she is the President of the Pittsburg Creative Arts Building Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicate to the restoration of the historic 1,850 seat big theater, and 242 little theater in Pittsburg. Recently, she joined the Soroptimist International of Pittsburg and continues to give back to the community that gave her so much. She’s excited to return to the stage this year with her debut as Artistic Director of Black Diamond Ballet Theatre with her full-length production of the Nutcracker!
Savannah Leigh Drew
Savannah Leigh is twenty years old and started dancing at age five. She was in her first production at age fourteen when she started attending classes at Delta Ballet Academy. Her first teachers Ballet instructors were Kollyn Muangmaithong, and Kristie Lauren. And she Studied under Helga Ishikata, Michael Lowe, Sharon Sobel, and Ricky Navarro in her years at Delta. Savannah also has performed for the Oakland Ballet and San Francisco Ballet in guest performances. She performed in the Peninsula Ballet Theater as well as Black Diamond Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker in previous years. Savannah was a dance instructor for Special needs children, Hula, Tahitian, Lyrical, and Ballet for ages ranging from four to eleven years old at Dancers Elite from 2008-2011. After this season Savannah is moving to Okinawa, Japan to broaden her dance horizons in the city's many studios as well as pursuing an education at a local college on the island with a goal to major in History and Geology.
Sarah has been dancing since she was 4 years of age, beginning with the Delta Childrens' Ballet Theatre where her roles included the Little Matchgirl (The Little Matchgirl), Bird (Peter and the Wolf), Ugly Duckling (The Ugly Duckling), Cinderella (The Fractured Fairy Tales) and Queen (The Enchanted Toyshop). From 2000-2003 and in 2006, she danced for Oakland Ballet under the direction of Ronn Guidi. In OBC's yearly productions of The Nutcracker, she has been cast in the roles of Marie and Louise, as well as a Snowflake, Flower, and in Spanish Chocolate. Other productions by Oakland Ballet in which Sarah has performed include “The Secret Garden”, “Les Biches” and “Hansel and Gretel”.
Sarah has also used her talent and love of working with children to teach dance (ballet, jazz, tap and lyrical/contemporary) for 7 years. She has taught at Rivertown Dance Academy and Step-2-This Dance and Performing Arts, and her students have been included on several competition teams.
Her choreography credits include Clayton Valley High School's production of "Suessical" (2006); Mountain View's Talent Show production of "Karaoke Shrek Style!" (2007); Silverwood Elementary's production of "California Bound: A Fourth Grade Musical" (2008) and Highlands Elementary Talent Show "Rock On Highlands" (2008).
Throughout her career, Sarah has competed in and won numerous titles and scholarships in Northern California. Currently, she is dancing for COterie under the direction of Kimberly Valmore and the Black Diamond Ballet Theatre. When not up on her toes, Sarah is a teacher's assistant at Silverwood Elementary School in Concord, CA, as well as a student at Cal State East Bay where she is pursuing her degree in psychology.
She cannot wait to see what is in store for her next!
Andrea was born in San Francisco, CA and grew up in the east bay area where she began dancing at the age of nine. She began her training in mainly classical ballet, which she loved early on, with Helen Piernik, Helga Ishikata, Michael Lowe, and Alexei Badrak at Delta Ballet Academy in Antioch. She has attended summer workshops at DBA, Moving Arts Dance, and Deane Dance Center and has been awarded distinguished honors and overall high scores at numerous dance competitions.
Jennifer began dancing when she was seven years old in Charlotte, North Carolina. She started training in classical ballet, and immediately fell in love. She began her training with teachers such as Amanda Sheppard, Helen Piernik, Helga Ishikata, and Michael Lowe. After moving to Sacramento, she trained under Allyson Deane, Barbara Crockett, Richard Shi, and Jennifer Zmuda. She branched out from ballet and trained in jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and lyrical. Jennifer has placed and received high scores at many competitions; and she has worked with both Sacramento Ballet, as well as Moscow Ballet for their Nutcracker shows. She is very excited to be working with the Black Diamond Ballet Theatre this year for the Nutcracker.
Alexandra Lengyel has started her ballet training in Szentendre, Hungary, at age 4. At age nine she was accepted to the Hungarian National Dance Academy’s professional ballet program. Her instructors were accomplished former dancers of the Hungarian National Ballet. Judit Rudnyanszky, Csilla Olah, Maria
Berzces, Judit Muranyi. She has danced child parts at Opera House productions such as Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty.
Later she continued her studies at the Europa Ballet Schule in St. Poelten, Austria, coached by Choulpan Usmanova. She graduated at the prestigious Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts in Torrington Connecticut. At Nutmeg, she was coached by former ABT. Principal Eleanor D’Antuono, Basel Balett principal Victoria
Mazzarelli , Tereza Capucilli, Scott Thyberg, Alexi Tchernicov.
After graduation she danced and started to teach in Burlington, Vermont, at the New England Ballet Conservatory, with artistic director Vanina Wilson, former Paris Opera Ballet School. With Vanina she staged full length classical ballets for the school, such as Coppelia, Beauty and the Beast. In Budapest, Hungary she completed a historical dance /renaissance, baroque/ teacher training school with famous music and dance historian, Rita Szell.
Miss Lengyel has been awarded by the special award of the Choreographer Competition of the
Hungarian Dance Academy, and with artistic potential award of Nutmeg Conservatory.
Ricky Navarro, was born in Pittsburg and trained at dance schools all over Contra Costa County, including Delta Ballet Academy. He later attended the California Academy of Performing Arts under the Direction of Joan Robinson, where he studied Ballet, Jazz and Lyrical, and Tap. While at the California Academy of Performing Arts he participated in several competitions and was awarded many high honors and titles from those competitions.
In later years he attended San Francisco Ballet School and studied under some of the world’s best ballet master, primarily in classical ballet, with an emphasis on Balanchine’s stylistic technique. Following his many years of training at SF Ballet, he joined the company and danced as a company member for 4 years. As a company member he performed beautiful ballet pieces such as Romeo and Juliet, Balanchine’s Donizeti, and Helgi Tomasson’s Stars and Stripes.
Mr. Navarro is currently on faculty at Delta Ballet Academy where he teaches classical ballet, lyrical, and jazz. He has also coached competition dancers of Delta Ballet to award winning honors. He currently dances with Black Diamond Ballet Theatre.
Mary Wilson is from Canoga Park, CA and graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a BFA in Dance in 2006, where she worked with the following choreographers: Sophie Monat, Keith Johnson, Andy Vaca, Susan McLain, and Lorin Johnson. In June of 2010, Mary received her Master of Arts in Education and Secondary Teaching Credential in Physical Education from Loyola Marymount University.
Mary has been dancing since the age of 2, has performed in various musicals through Golden Performing Arts Center, and studied under Patrick Frantz at Rozann Zimmerman Ballet Center. She is currently dancing and choreographing for La Danserie, a contemporary ballet company in the San Fernando Valley.
Mary is a dance teacher and coach at Bishop Alemany High School. She is thrilled to perform with Black Diamond Ballet Theatre. She wants to thank her family for their constant love and support.
Jeff Gibson, Community Adult Performer
Maximiano Gonzalez, Community Adult Performer
Melissa Sobel, Community Adult Performer
Christine Carpio, Student Trainee
Kiera Ebel, Student Trainee
Natalia Hernandez, Student Trainee
Vanessa Lim, Student Trainee
Katy Littell, Student Trainee
Katja Louie, Student Trainee
Emily Mendoza, Student Trainee
Marissa Samayoa, Student Trainee
Anisa Stanton, Student Trainee
Patricia Stevens, Student Trainee
Darius Travella, Student Trainee