Leadership & Board

The Berkeley Ballet Theater Board of Directors provides governance and oversight of the school’s business and operations. It is a voluntary body that is comprised of adult dancers, parents of students, and interested members of our community at large.

Executive Director

ED HeadshotAli Taylor Lange

Ali Taylor Lange is a journalist and classical ballet dancer by training with substantial experience in non-profit development and administration. Born and raised in Napa, California, Ms. Taylor Lange began her ballet training at age 3. She quickly discovered a passion and studied ballet through college, including summer programs with Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. She majored in literary journalism at UC Irvine before getting an MA in magazine writing from New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Ms. Taylor Lange’s work has been published in Men’s Health, Esquire, and Outside magazines as well as several regional publications on both coasts. She joined the front office of the Berkeley Ballet Theater in 2012 and left BBT as its General Manager to work as the Development Director for the Seattle-based Inspire Youth Project, a non-profit devoted to providing mentorship and training for children affected by HIV, abuse, neglect, and homelessness. Upon her return to the Bay Area, she worked in corporate partnerships and institutional grant writing for the San Francisco Symphony, before returning home to BBT.

Operations Manager

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset Rebekkah Speller

Rebekkah (Bekkah) Speller grew up in Eastern North Carolina and earned a B.A. in Psychology and Jewish Studies from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before moving to California to join her sister, a graduate student at UC Berkeley. Bekkah performed modern/lyrical dance in high school and college, and is now a singer/songwriter.

Executive Committee

image16 Daniel Abrahamson,  President

Dan was introduced to classical dance when his son, then age five, began downloading ballet videos from YouTube and busting out pirouettes on the kindergarten playground. Not long after, Dan discovered the magic of BBT and the pure joy BBT brings both children and adults through his son’s involvement.  He joined BBT’s board in 2014 and currently serves as Board President.  When not laying Marley flooring, Dan is the legal director for a national nonprofit founded by the philanthropist George Soros devoted to civil and human rights and criminal justice reform, and engages in litigation and legislative drafting worldwide.  He received his undergraduate degree from Yale, and graduate degrees from Oxford University and New York University.

image11 (1)Matthew Schiffgens, Vice President

Matthew is the Media Relations Manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Prior to joining the bank, he served as National Director of Issues and Brand Management for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. He has an MA in Public Policy from the City University of New York Graduate Center and a BA in Political Science from Hunter College. He joined Berkeley Ballet Theater’s Board of Directors in 2011 and is the parent of a Youth Company dancer.

image04Lorna Kollmeyer, Secretary

Lorna was raised in Torrance, California. She earned a BA in British History and Literature at Colorado College, where she was also named All-American in Women’s Basketball. After playing basketball for a year in Avignon, France, she settled in the Bay Area. Her company, Lorna Kollmeyer Ornamental Plaster, is in its 33rd year as a mainstay of the Bay Area architectural restoration community. She is a musician and performs regularly at local venues. Lorna dances in BBT’s Adult Division and has been a member of the Board since 2013, presently serving as the Board’s Secretary.  Lorna also serves on the Fundraising subcommittee, and chairs the Adult Action Committee.

Board of Directors

image19Fraser Bonnell

Fraser has been a member of the Board since 2006.  He has a love for photography, dance, classical music and BBT.  Prior to retiring, Fraser worked as a software engineer.  He has a BA in philosophy from UCLA, an MA in mathematics from UC Berkeley, and a JD from Boalt Hall.  He is also an inactive member of the State Bar of California.

BrownMartinphoto-croppedDarcy Brown-Martin

Darcy is a longtime student member of BBT’s adult dance division and the proud parent of a BBT youth division dancer. She is also Director of Corporate Relations for Playworks, a national nonprofit leveraging play in schools to transform children’s physical and emotional health and improve school culture. She is delighted to combine her love of dance and nonprofit development in service to BBT. Darcy is a graduate of Brown University.



image09Wendy Chow

Wendy has been volunteering with BBT since 2009, when her daughter started as a Level 2 dancer.  She joined as a Board member in 2014.  Having studied classical music herself as an undergraduate, Wendy is thrilled to be part of a thriving, community-based arts organization that has provided a nurturing yet challenging program for her own young dancer.  Wendy is a mother of three children, while also serving as the Chief Legal and Contracting Officer for Hill Physicians/PriMed Management, a health care organization based in the East Bay.  Wendy received her BS in Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University and her JD from Georgetown Law Center.

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 3.14.49 PM  Mimi Leinbach 

After earning a BA from Georgetown and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, Mimi spent many years creating and marketing educational technology, then realized her dream of becoming an entrepreneur when she launched an organic clothing line for children. Mimi has two daughters currently dancing in BBT’s Children’s Division, and has recently worked in fundraising at various schools.


image17Adele Sales-Canteras

Adele works for Chevron’s Travel Services Department, and has been involved with the travel industry for more than 25 years.  She has been a BBT parent since 2003, and a member of the Board since 2012. Her daughter Zoe graduated from the Youth Company in Spring 2015.  Adele is an avid gardener, and has chaired BBT’s Flower and Concession Committee for many years.



 Richard Sterling 

Richard was born and raised in London, UK where he saw his first classical ballet at the age of ten. From then on he has sought out and attended performances in every city he has been to. Richard came to the United States an an electronics engineer, and retrained in the Humanities at the City University of New York, earning a BA in English Literature. He recently retired as the Executive Director of the National Writing Project, and Director of Professional Programs and Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Graduate School of Education. He joined the BBT Board of Directors in 2016.


image13Yukiko Yamanishi

Yukiko is originally from Tokyo, Japan. She holds a BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Golden Gate University, and worked in the hospitality industry for several years before becoming a fulltime mom. She is a life-long ballet student and dancer, and has attended Berkeley Ballet Theater as an adult student since 1997. Yukiko joined BBT’s Board of Directors in 2006 and is a member of its Fundraising subcommittee. She has acted in many volunteer positions such as Dance for Parkinson’s Program Teacher Training Luncheons, and is the chair of BBT’s Annual Silent Auction.


Contact Us

To contact members of the Board, review Board By-laws, or to request to review Board meeting minutes please contact us at bbtboard@berkeleyballet.org.