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PEGGY PEABODY

Founder & Artistic Director

Ballet Petit’s Artistic Director, Peggy Peabody, has been involved with ballet for most of her life.  At the age of seven, she chose to focus on classical ballet under the watchful eye of her first teacher, Tricia Kaye. Peggy added to her performance experiences at the Regional Festivals of  Dance, Lido Ballet School Productions, and the Oakland Metropolitan Ballet productions, such as The Nutcracker.

 

These experiences led to many special honors, including dancing the lead role of Clara in  OMBC’s 10th Anniversary Nutcracker in 1970. In 1972, Violette Verdy ( 1933 - 2016 ) of the  New York City Ballet granted Peggy the prestigious Ford Foundation Scholarship. Two years later, Peggy began studying at the San Francisco Ballet School year-round. As a high school senior in 1977, she began teaching ballet to preschool children two days a week.  

In 1983, Peggy opened her first ballet school in Newark, with 24 students. Over the early years,  Ballet Petit moved between Fremont and Newark, landing in Hayward in 2003. In 2013, Peggy was able to acquire her dream space, a permanent home for Ballet Petit, its current 15,000  square foot space in Hayward. This space is truly a model facility, designed to respect the work of dancers while bringing parents and families in to share the experience. Ballet Petit’s boasts a  strong annual enrollment of classical ballet students. Ballet Petit is honored to host the Oakland  Ballet Summer Intensive each July, a Summer Intensive program for young dancers. 

Peggy’s philosophy is simple, that ballet is an art form for everyone to access and appreciate.  Ballet Petit’s foundation and culture are firmly based on this belief. Ballet Petit has survived pressures to turn ballet into sport through dance competition. Since 1979 Peggy has enjoyed over 40 years of producing The Nutcracker. As the longest-running Nutcracker in the East Bay,  dancers and audiences alike have had the opportunity to enjoy this heartwarming holiday ballet written for children- and at Ballet Petit- performed by children who have been trained to appreciate the art of classical ballet.  

Peggy earned a Liberal Arts degree from Holy Names University and her elementary school teaching credential from Cal State Hayward, now known as Cal State East Bay. In addition to managing Ballet Petit, Peggy taught elementary school in Hayward Unified School District until  2017, when she retired. In 2008, The Alameda County Board of Supervisors and The Alameda  County Commission on the Status of Women honored “Miss Peggy” with the prestigious  “Women’s Hall of Fame” award for Culture and Art.  

Peggy firmly believes that classical ballet training prepares one for many of life’s challenges within and beyond the ballet studio. Since 2016, Peggy beat the frappe out of cancer twice and became an autologous stem cell transplant survivor in 2020, during the 2020 Pandemic.  

Committed to lifelong learning, Peggy continues to develop as a teacher and as a dancer. Every few years, Peggy accompanies elite Ballet Petit student dancers to Copenhagen, Denmark to the Royal Danish Ballet Summer School, formerly known as the Bartholin International Ballet  Seminar. There in the Royal Theatre she trains alongside her students and other dancers from around the world, focusing particularly on Bournonville technique and tradition. In addition to her ballet teaching schedule, you can find Peggy in local studios, still training in several ballet classes each week. She is honored to work with various premier ballet teachers throughout the  Bay Area in her commitment to continued learning and growth. 

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NICOLE BUTNER

Instructor

Nicole began dancing at the age of four at Happy Times Nursery School. She received all of her training during her elementary and teen years from Peggy Peabody and Darlene Brower at Ballet Petit. Nicole attended San Francisco Ballet School's summer program and was accepted into their year round school, but decided to remain at Ballet Petit. She attended Boston Ballet School's Summer Program and studied with Sally Streets at Berkeley Ballet Theater.

Nicole received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from San Jose State University in 2002. During this time she performed with the modern dance company, UDT, under the direction of Gary Masters of the Limon Company; and the musical theater company, Company One, at SJSU. At graduation from SJSU, Nicole was awarded Outstanding Senior and was asked to perform her senior solo at the School of Music and Dance graduation ceremony.

 

She has appeared in opening acts for several performers in the Bay Area, such as Pink, Mya, 98 Degrees and Nina Skye. She has also been in various trade shows for companies such as Mervyns and Redken, and performed as Velma in the Scooby Doo Show at Paramount's Great America.

 

Nicole lives in the Bay Area with her husband Rob and two daughters, Eloisa and Cassidy.  The most exciting thing now is watching Eloisa start her journey at Ballet Petit!

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PATIENCE GORDON

Instructor

Patience Gordon has been dancing since she could walk! At age 4, she began her ballet training at Ballet Petit. She went on to perform many lead roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Nikiya in La Bayadere, and Myrtha in Giselle. Her passion for dance was truly realized when she accompanied Miss Peggy to the Bartholin International Ballet Seminar in Copenhagen, Denmark the summer of 2012.

In the last several years, Patience has performed with Oakland Ballet Company, Menlowe Ballet, Zion Dance Project, Anastasis Ballet, and is a founding and current member of Em(body) Dance Project.

Patience is incredibly grateful for the opportunities she's had since joining Ballet Petit's staff, such as re-staging several ballets for Junior Company including an original production of Peter and the Wolf. She hopes to continue teaching, choreographing and dancing for years to come.

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LEAH DORMAN

Instructor

Leah Dorman began her ballet training at Ballet Petit at the age of four. Since then she has been in over 30 productions by Ballet Petit; some of her favorite roles include the Wolf in Peter and the Wolf, Rat Queen in The Nutcracker, and both Stepsister and Stepmother in Cinderella. As a teenager she began taking contemporary and jazz dance classes at Ohlone College to expand her repertoire while continuing to study at Ballet Petit. As a Jr. Company dancer and later a teacher, she choreographed for multiple Ballet Petit productions including Shall We Dance, Elements, A Tribute to Youth, Seasons, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and Carnival of the Animals.

 

Leah has been teaching at Ballet Petit in various roles since she was 14, starting as Miss Darlene's Twinkle Toes assistant and later becoming a substitute teacher for beginning and intermediate classes. At 17 she began to teach her own classes and fell in love with working with the talented and focused young dancers at Ballet Petit. Following a brief hiatus to study developmental biology at UCLA, she returned to the bay area in 2015 and quickly seized the opportunity to teach ballet once again. When not dancing, Leah can be found in lab at UCSF pursuing her Ph.D. in neuroscience. 

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KARINA SIU

Instructor

Karina Siu began training with Ballet Petit at age 8, and vividly remembers being excited to get two stamps from Miss Darlene after staying for two classes. During 11 wonderful years at Ballet Petit, Karina was honored to perform many roles in the Nutcracker and Spring Performances, with Clara, Dew Fairy, Snow Queen, Arabian Princess, and Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, and Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty being especially close to her heart. During the summers, Karina attended various summer programs such as ABT Irvine, City Ballet San Francisco, Kirov Academy of Washington, D. C., and the Royal Danish Ballet Summer school with Miss Peggy in the summer of 2019. Karina’s passion for ballet stems from a love of portraying each character’s story and the beauty of dance.

 

In 2016, Karina began assisting with Twinkle Toes, later teaching and substitute teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes around 2018. As a dancer and teacher, Karina has choreographed for Peter and the Wolf, Carnival of the Animals, the Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Seasons. She finds great joy in watching dancers grow and discover their love for dancing. In 2019, Karina started working towards her Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, participating in their Theatre and Dance Department’s Winter and Spring performances, and returning to Ballet Petit as a Parent in the 2019 Nutcracker. She’s been grateful to continue teaching ballet virtually while at school and remains excited to see what the future holds.

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DIANA BARBACIORU

Instructor

Diana started dancing at three years old, taking classes once a week at her preschool. Eventually, in first grade, she found her second home at Ballet Petit. She has spent the last 11 years training here, graduating in the Spring of 2021. 

 

During Diana’s time at Ballet Petit, she had the amazing opportunity to attend various summer intensive programs, such as Bolshoi Ballet, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, The Rock School of Dance Education, and The Royal Danish Ballet Summer School. Over the years, she enjoyed embodying new characters for Nutcracker and the Spring shows, some of her favorites being Clara, the Sugarplum Fairy, Swanhilda (while it lasted due to the pandemic), and Fairy of the Golden Vine. 

 

She taught for a short period in 2019 and is very excited to return in Fall 2021. While she wishes she could spend all her time dancing and sharing her love for ballet with others, Diana is attending UC Berkeley studying as a political science major. 

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EMILY ALLENDORF

Instructor

Miss Emily started training at Ballet Petit in 2004, when she was five years old, and continued until she graduated from high school in 2017. During that time, she was a member of the Junior Company and performed roles such as Swanhilda in Coppelia, Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, and the Arabian Princess, Snow Queen, and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. She also had the privilege of learning from renowned visiting artists such as Laura Alonso and Mark Foehringer.

 

When Graham Lustig assumed the role of Artistic Director of the Oakland Ballet, Emily was one of the first in a group of Ballet Petit dancers to perform as students in his Nutcracker, and she continued to do so for eight years, alongside Ballet Petit's Nutcracker.

 

Upon graduating high school, Emily attended UCLA and spent four years as a member of the student-led HOOLIGAN Theatre Company, where she was cast in musicals like Cabaret, Sister Act, FAME, and Guys and Dolls. Now that she has graduated, Emily is thrilled to return to her classical ballet roots and teach at Ballet Petit.