Zohar Performance Series:4


The Summer Festival

Zohar is excited to present this wonderful line up of artists at its 4th Performance Series on Saturday, July 20 at 8:00pm. This program will be an amazing mix of ballet, contemporary, modern, and jazz!

Get your ticket now! Previous performances have sold out in advance. 


ZPS:4 Artists

Savage Jazz Dance Company


Reginald Ray-Savage began dancing at Katherine Dunham's Performing Arts Training Center in East St. Louis, IL, where he studied ballet, tap, jazz, and Dunham technique, with such outstanding Dunham company alumni as Norman Davis, Lenwood Morris, and his mentor Archie Savage. His training with these legendary dancers has informed his teaching style and choreography. Mr. Savage began his professional dance career with the Katherine Dunham Dance Company. He moved to Chicago where he danced in several companies including Joel Hall Dance Company, Ruth Page Ballet Chicago, and Lyric Opera, as well as touring productions of "Music Man" and "A Chorus Line". 

Mr. Savage came to California in 1989 and founded Savage Jazz Dance Company (SJDC) in 1992. Since then, he has produced a career’s worth of exceptional dances that respond to, spring from, and are inspired by the intentions, energy, and rich cultural heritage of jazz music. The spirit of jazz is the foundation for the company’s existence. Driven by the vision of Mr. Savage, and realized by the commitment of the company’s exceptional dancers, SJDC’s movement is defined by three primary beliefs: the importance of disciplined, technical dance training, rooted in classical ballet and modern techniques; the willingness to give into the rich artistic expression of music, in all forms; and, last but not least, ENERGY. And it is these same beliefs that inform Mr. Savage’s teaching style and daily practice. Since its founding, the company has produced more than 100 new works, choreographed by Mr. Savage, and guest choreographers. In addition to their annual home season, SJDC continues to tour the US, conducting residencies and concert performances. Notable engagements include SJDC’s performance at Casa del Jazz in Rome, Italy in 2006; it was the first dance company to receive such an invitation, performing to a packed house and rave reviews. In 2003, SJDC was invited to perform at the Jazz Dance World Congress at NYU Buffalo. And SJDC was a resident company in the Lincoln Center Institute’s Aesthetic Education Program in Bay Area schools offered through the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts.

Through his work with Savage Jazz Dance Company and his teaching practice, Mr. Savage’s contributions to the arts and dance have been recognized in multiple ways. In 1993, Mr. Savage was awarded the Creative Artists Fellowship in Choreography from the City of Oakland. Mr. Savage was also distinguished with a 2001 GOLDIE Award by the San Francisco Bay Guardian for outstanding contribution to the arts. SJDC has also had the honor of being nominated for several IZZIEs (Isadora Duncan Dance Awards): in 2003 for Company Performance for its entire 2002 season at the Cowell Theater (SF) and in 2007 for Individual Performance by Principle SJDC Dancer, Alison Hurley, in SJDC's 2006 performances at ODC Theater (SF), and, most recently, in 2013 for Outstanding Achievement in Performance for the Company’s work at the Black Choreographers Festival at Laney College (Oakland) in 2012. Photo: Tracy Martin, Mark Kitaoka, Tracy Martin

Menlowe Ballet


Launched in early 2011, Menlowe Ballet has performed fourteen successful seasons achieving critical acclaim and ardent audience response. The founders collectively recognized an opportunity to bring a new choreographic voice to the dance canvas on the Peninsula, as well as address an underserved local community in professional performing arts offerings. Artistic Director, Michael Lowe, has long been a fixture in the ballet world, most notably for his work with Oakland Ballet. Michael brings a rich history and perspective to his work - a principal dancer with Oakland Ballet for three decades, a choreographer for the company in his retirement, culminating in the Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Choreography for his ballet Bamboo. His unique choreographic strengths are evident in his contemporary and cultural ballets, featured in each Menlowe Ballet season.

“Menlowe Ballet is a professional ballet company performing work that impacts Bay Area audiences through exceptional dance and stirring, innovative choreography. The company’s repertoire encompasses cultural, classical, and contemporary styles.”

Menlowe Ballet is a professional ballet company performing work that impacts Bay Area audiences through exceptional dance and stirring, innovative choreography. The company’s repertoire encompasses cultural, classical, and contemporary styles. One of Menlowe Ballet’s core values is to continue the tradition of passing dance on from one generation to the next – artist to artist. To that end, aspiring students from Menlowe Ballet’s official school, the Menlo Park Academy of Dance, regularly perform in company productions.  

Since our debut in November 2011, Menlowe Ballet has dazzled local audiences with the following: eleven world premieres by Michael Lowe as well as four reprisals of his most beloved works; world premieres by renowned guest choreographers Betsy Erickson of San Francisco Ballet, Viktor Kabaniaev, and Reginald Ray-Savage of Savage Jazz Dance, Val Caniparoli of San Francisco Ballet, Gregory Dawson of dawsondancesf. 

Born in Oakland and raised in Alameda, Michael Lowe was encouraged at an early age to explore the joy and discipline of classical ballet to augment his coordination and strength in athletics. With his first dance lesson, his love for music found a counterpart with his natural agility, leading to a career path. Michael joined the Oakland Ballet in 1974 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1976 with his debut as Alias in Billy the Kid. A scholarship student at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City, Lowe also performed with Pacific Ballet Company, Gilbert Reed Ballet Company, Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, North Dakota Ballet and the Old Souls New Shoes Dance Company under Mark Morris. Michael worked with such legendary choreographers as Agnes de Mille, John Butler, Leonide Massine, Frederic Franklin, Anna Sokolow, Betsy Erickson, Willem Christensen and Ronn Guidi. In 1989, he recreated the role of Beau Gosse for Oakland Ballet’s historical reconstruction of Bronislava Nijinska’s Le Train Bleu.

During and after his performing career, Lowe revealed himself to be a gifted choreographer. He created a number of striking ballets for Oakland Ballet including Table for Two, Witness, The Emperor and the Nightingale, Dim Sum, Double Happiness, and Bamboo, for which he received an Isadora Duncan Award for Best Choreography. Most recently, Mr. Lowe was invited to choreograph a world premiere for Oakland Ballet’s 50th Anniversary celebration. In addition to his choreographic accomplishments, Michael has assumed artistic leadership positions with ballet companies including Oakland Ballet, Peninsula Ballet, Black Diamond Ballet, and he served as Resident Choreographer for Moving Arts Dance.

As Founding Artistic Director of Menlowe Ballet, Mr. Lowe has given his own company a number of beautiful works to perform including Plague, Chuntian, Cirque, Serei, Surfside, Tribute, Transcendence, Legend of the Seven Suns, Playing Love, After HoursFacetsThe Lady with the Lamp and Kimono Wednesdays, as well as the company’s first full length ballet, It’s a Wonderful Nutcracker.


eMotion Arts / Mariana Sobral

eMotion Arts Dance Co is a Bay Area-based dance company with the mission of spreading a message of Oneness through Dance.  Directed by Mariana Sobral, the Company’s goal is to create and showcase a cohesive body of work that highlights and celebrates Oneness by bringing together dancers, artists, and their unique styles.  Embracing diversity by incorporating different dance styles and artistic visions, we want to create an inclusive space where dancers and choreographers collaborate to bring their creations to life. Our creative process incorporates collaborations with musicians, guest choreographers, and educators. This makes the Company a place where its members can further their artistic development, develop their own Artistic Voice.   

Mariana Sobral is the Artistic Director of eMotion Arts Dance Co. Born in Argentina, her career as Soloist and Principal Dancer include roles in classical and contemporary works. Upon moving to the USA, Mariana developed Ballet programs and created award-winning choreographies for studios and companies through the Bay Area, teaching ballet and directing students of all ages and experience levels. As a choreographer her work has been seen in San Francisco as part of the RAW Artist residence at SAFEhouse Arts, West Wave Dance Festival. SPF12, San Francisco Movement Arts Festival, San Francisco International Dance Festival,The DanceWright Project, Zohar Performance Series, and PUSHfest to name a few. 


Dacia Biletnikoff

Dacia Biletnikoff was born and raised in California, USA.

She attended London Contemporary Dance School, The Place. For three years she studied modern dance, improvisation, and choreography to receive her Bachelors of Arts in Contemporary Dance with First Class Honours.  After graduation, she continued choreography and performance in Bologna, Italy at Arts Factory International, directed by Brigel Gjoka and Mattia Gandini. Here she studied with dancers from the William Forsythe Company and Wim Vandekeybus/ Ultima Vez. From there, she accepted an apprenticeship with Carabdanza in Madrid, Spain, performing for nine months. 

Returning to California in 2015, she has now worked and performed with Capacitor, Chadash Contemporary Dance, Ballet Novita, and Nhan Ho Project. As well as, performing as a soloist and choreographing throughout California. Dacia’s passion and research in dance is driven by her fascination and love for movement and the connection it provides in healing the body and mind.


Toni Shindler-Ruberg

Toni Shindler-Ruberg is a pre-professional ballet student currently training at Pacific Ballet Academy in Mountain View. She has attended various summer courses including Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet, and the School of American Ballet. She performed many lead roles in her school’s performances such as Sugarplum Fairy, Snow Queen, Dewdrop Fairy, and La Bayadère Grand Pas. In 2018, she placed in the top three of Youth America Grand Prix’s senior women contemporary finalists. While primarily a ballet dancer, Toni enjoys exploring different styles of dance and seeks to push the limits of her own experience. Follow her dancing on Instagram @tsr_dance. 

Photo: Al Ponce


Lauren Baines Dance/Theatre

Lauren Baines Dance/Theatre utilizes movement as a point of departure to examine universal and personal truths, questions, and stories. We are storytellers, but we avoid direct narrative in favor of abstraction and nuance. Authenticity is key to our practice as we strive to create works that resonate with us as individuals. Dances originate from research and discussion, developing in an environment that values movement invention and individual expression in a technically challenging landscape that navigates between precision and rawness. Invested in collaborative and interdisciplinary processes, we create works of modern dance that incorporate diverse artistic disciplines and emerge through rich investigations between artists. Issues of communication, loss, memory, perception, and identity guide our body of work as we explore, reflect, and question multiple aspects of the human experience in pieces ranging from pure dance to dance theatre and site dance. Photo: Robert Schultze


No Strings Attached Dance Company

No Strings Attached Dance Company Directed by Lissa Resnick, a Harness award-winning choreographer, the company was founded in Los Angeles and expanded to the SF Bay Area in 2013.  Lissa links ballet technique with contemporary dance and theater.  The company's work has been featured throughout California including at ODC PUSHfest, where they received the 2018 Audience Choice Award, Djerrasi Women Ballet Choreographer's Residency, Z Space, sjDANCEco, North Hollywood's El Portal Theater, and named LA Weekly's "Top Five Dance Shows This Week".  As a co-founder of Art Moves Project (AMP), an East Bay public art generator, Lissa has brought No Strings Attached Dance Company into AMP as resident dance company.  In 2019, No Strings will be featured in Art Moves Project's new work, recently awarded the 2019 California Arts Council Artists in Communities Grant.  Please visit lissaresnick.com for more information. Photo: Lynne Fried


Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble

Founded in 2005, the Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble performs powerful modern dance choreography addressing themes ranging from abstract mathematical concepts and verbal games to the physical puzzles posed by unusual spaces. Athletic and spirited, the dancers bring both strong technique and emotional depth to their performances.  In 2010, NCDE was invited to represent the United States at the Egyptian International Modern Dance Festival, during which Natasha led a modern master class with Egypt's national dance company and NCDE performed evening-length concerts in Cairo and Alexandria.  The Dance Ensemble uses a wide variety of music, from classical to rock, and for its inaugural concert in 2006 collaborated with the California Guitar Trio, internationally acclaimed musicians.  Tonight’s pieces both feature commissioned scores by contemporary composers, written for NCDE’s 2019 concert, “Metamorphoses.”  Natasha Carlitz began her dance training in Palo Alto forty years ago with Grace Butler, a former Nikolais dancer, and performed as a child and young adult with CHORD (Children's Original Repertory Dance) and SMDC (the Saturday Morning Dance Company). She has studied dance in London, Amsterdam, Massachusetts, and Maine—including improvisation and choreography workshops with Pilobolus founder Jonathan Wolken—and, most recently, experienced aerial dance in the Sierras with Project Bandaloop.  For the past twenty years, Natasha has choreographed and performed around the Bay Area, contributing repertory to the collective High Release Dance as well as to NCDE. Photo: Sasakthi Abeysinghe


Los Gatos Ballet

Founded in 2002 by Marcie Ryken, Los Gatos Ballet is dedicated to providing excellence in training in a nurturing environment.  Through our established levels and Curriculum, we support and challenge our dancers in their physical, mental, artistic and emotional development.  

The Youth Program is enrollment-based for ages 4 to 20 yrs. This is a pre-professional division and is a closed program to ensure consistency in messaging, pedagogy and training principles. Those enrolled are expected to maintain consistency in attendance and participate in LGB productions, as both are vital to the artistic and technical development. We also offer the Allegro Program to those in the Upper Division who are pursuing a career in dance or simply desiring to go above and beyond.

The Open Program offers drop-in classes for teens and adults who need more flexibility of time and commitment level. Both programs are eligible for high-quality performance opportunities. 

Photo: Annarose Monroe Photography


Zann Aeck

Zann Aeck, a native Houstonian began her formal dance training with Patsy Swayze but after a few years, narrowed her focus to train professionally as an apprentice for the Greater Houston Civic Ballet.  Zann started her Modern dance training as a student at the High School for the Performing Arts and continued her study first at the University of Houston and then Southern Methodist University where she received her BA.  During this time she was performing with Texas-based companies such as Joan Karff’s New Dance Group.  Zann now lives in the Bay Area and has danced or studied with Jeannine Charles, Gary Masters, Maria Basile, Bih-Tau Sung, Natasha Carlitz, and Cheryl Chaddick.  Zann currently teaches modern dance at DanceVisions in Palo Alto and has choreographed select pieces over the years for both DanceVisions as well as Jeannine Charles.  Zann has studied many modern dance techniques from Martha Graham to Jose Limon and over the years has incorporated essential elements from each to expose students to the full range of modern movement styles including improvisational dance and kinesiology.


Jen Costillo

Jen Costillo has performed and choreographed in the Bay Area for over a decade.  In that time she has explored contemporary dance techniques with Jeannine Charles, Raissa Simpson, and FactSF summer intensive, as well as contemporary ballet with Rika Onizuka. She continues to extend her decades of ballet training under Rika Onizuka, Linda Rickert and Kim Gardener. She is a former member of the dance collective High Release Dance, where her choreography explores topics relating to technology and social change through the use of wearables, electronics and music collaboration. She has been a both a performing and choreographic member of the Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble (NCDE) since 2009 including the successful 2010 tour of Egypt as part of the Egyptian Modern Dance Festival. Her guest appearances include Nutcracker’s Drosselmeyer and Raul Salamanca’s contemporary ballet pieces. Costillo served on the founding board of directors for Push Dance Company is San Francisco. In 2019, she was award SJDanceCo’s Choreoproject Award for “Optional.” Photo: Yaron Kidron

San Jose Dance Theatre


Linda Hurkmans, M.A.

Artistic Director, San Jose Dance Theatre

As a child, Linda Hurkmans was given detailed Vaganova training from Connie Schwarze and performed for San José Dance Theatre. She was then heavily mentored by Larissa Sklyanskaya (Soloist with Bolshoi Ballet), Natasha Papina (Soloist with Kirov Ballet, and the 1st ballet partner of Mikhail Baryshnikov), Benjamin Harkarvy, and Conrad Ludlow (Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet). Hurkmans received full scholarships to Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, and at the age of 16, a full scholarship to the University of Utah Ballet Dept. She danced professionally with The Royal Danish Ballet, the Utah Ballet/Ballet West, The Norwegian Andanse Ballet, Zahkraz Dance, and The Norwegian National Ballet in conjunction with The Year of Dance in Norway and the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. She competed in the 72 country ITI International Ballet Competition in Helsinki, Finland, 1991, and appeared in the CBS Mini-Series “At Mother’s Request” starring Stefanie Powers. Linda Hurkmans holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, Cum Laude, in Ballet Performance from Univ. of Utah, a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the Notre Dame de Namur University, and full Pilates certifications in Pilates Mat and Apparatus from Turning Pointe Studios and the PhysicalMind Institute. She has taught youth, pre-professional, adult ballet dancers and Pilates students for 18 years in Europe and in the U.S. and at Stanford University and Santa Clara University, where she helped found the Pilates program for dancers and athletes. Hurkmans’ choreography has been performed at the Norwegian State Ballet, Western Ballet, Zohar Dance. In 2014, Hurkmans was named the Artistic Director of San Jose Dance Theatre and helped re-open the doors to the academy and rebuilt it from 0 students to over 100 today. She has choreographed a full length version of “The Nutcracker”, 20 original works for the school and company and has staged "La Bayadere Kingdom of the Shades:, "White Swan Pas de Deux", "Swan Lake Four Little Swans",“Swan Lake Pas de Trois”, “Le Corsaire Pas de Deux”, “Paquita Grand Pas Classique” and more. Hurkmans has overseen San Jose Dance Theatre’s collaborations with Margaret Wingrove’s Dance Co., with Foothill College, and performances at SjDANCE Co. Festival, the Montalvo Arts Center, Santana Row Tree Lighting Event, World Wide Women's Festival at Santa Clara University, San Francisco Movement Arts Festival, and the San Jose Center for Performing Arts. On May 25, 2019, San Jose Dance Theatre will premier Linda Hurkmans' new full length "Firebird" at the Hammer Theatre in San Jose. Photo: Pankaj Bhargava






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4000 Middlefield Road L4, Palo Alto, California 94303

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