Berkeley Ballet Theater’s legacy of excellence is carried on by the world-class faculty and artistic staff it employs. Our staff comes from a variety of backgrounds, having enjoyed professional careers in the Paris Opera Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Bejart Ballet, ODC/Dance, Monte-Carlo Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Australian Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, Ballet Met, Ballet Arizona, New York City Ballet, Post:Ballet, and more. Their knowledge and expertise uphold the professional caliber of BBT’s training.
Robert Dekkers, Artistic Director
Named “25 To Watch” by DANCE Magazine and dubbed a “mad genius” by Huffington Post, Robert Dekkers is Artistic Director of Berkeley Ballet Theater as well as founder and Artistic Director of Post:Ballet. Collaborating with eclectic artists to present performances that are “anything but risk averse” (SF Chronicle), Robert has created new works for Post together with artists in film, visual art, animation, architecture, sculpture, fashion design, and new music.
Robert has received commissions from Kansas City Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, Smuin Ballet, sjDANCEco, San Jose State University, Southern Methodist University, and Quixotic Cirque Noveau, where he recently premiered an evening-length production of Firebird set to an orchestrated arrangement of music by Radiohead. His work has been presented at venues including Tanzsommer Festival (Vienna), Ballet Builders Showcase (New York City), and West Wave Dance Festival (San Francisco). Robert was resident choreographer with Novaballet from 2008-2009 and is currently resident choreographer at Diablo Ballet, where he has created nine original works since 2013. Robert’s works for Post:Ballet have been featured at the SF International Arts Festival, Jacob’s Pillow’s Inside/Out Festival, and Seattle’s Against the Grain Festival. Post was named “Best New Dance” of San Francisco by 7×7 Magazine and has been nominated for three Isadora Duncan Awards.
Robert danced professionally with Ballet Arizona, ODC/Dance, Company C Contemporary Ballet, and Diablo Ballet. He was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award for “Outstanding Performance- Individual” for his 2012-13 season with Diablo Ballet, where he danced leading roles in works by choreographers including George Balanchine, José Límon, Val Caniparoli, KT Nelson, Trey McIntyre, Septime Webre, and Mario Radacovsky. Robert has also performed work by Twyla Tharp, August Bournonville, Maurice Causey, Lar Lubovitch, Dominic Walsh, Jodie Gates, Ib Andersen, Paul Taylor, Brenda Way, and Julia Adam.
Robert has been a faculty member at Berkeley Ballet Theater since 2013 and regularly teaches company classes for LINES Ballet, Smuin Ballet, and ODC/Dance. In addition to his work as a choreographer, teacher and dancer, he holds a degree in business from Rio Salado College.
Elizabeth Farotte Heenan, Associate Artistic Director
Elizabeth Farotte Heenan (Liz) received her early training in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, and was awarded marks of Honors or Distinction on eight RAD examinations with a scholarship to study at their New York program. She furthered her training on scholarship with Ballet San Jose and the Cleveland Ballet, with additional studies at the Boston Ballet and San Jose Dance Theatre. As recipient of the Donald McKayle Medal Scholarship, a member of McKayle’s Etude Ensemble, and a two-time UC UROP Grant recipient, Liz graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Dance. She was awarded for “Outstanding Dance Performance” and was chosen by UCI to perform principal roles in works by David Allan, George Balanchine, and William Forsythe while on exchange at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris.
Liz has danced with BalletMet, toured works by several Bay Area choreographers, and was a member of ODC/Dance. With ODC, she participated in and taught during a U.S. Department of State cultural diplomacy tour to Southeast Asia and engaged in outreach programs with public schools, universities, and 7 Tepees. She has taught for the Oakland Ballet and Solad Dance Center, choreographed for South Valley Civic Theater and Limelight Actors Theatre, and continues to teach Pilates to clients ranging from aspiring professional dancers and competitive weight lifters to those with injuries and post-surgical conditions. In 2010 Liz worked with ODC Theater to coordinate a celebration of dance for camera and volunteered with Spark, a non-profit youth empowerment organization. She worked on advertising, sponsorship, and donation campaigns for the 2013 San Francisco Dance Film Festival and Ballet Austin’s fundraising auction. In 2014, she and KT Nelson co-founded RoundAntennae, a choreographic mentorship program serving new and emerging artists.
Sally Streets, Artistic Director Emerita
Sally Streets, renowned for her teaching and choreography, has been part of Berkeley Ballet Theater since 1981. Before coming to Berkeley, Ms. Streets performed with Mia Slavenska’s Ballet Variante and The New York City Ballet. In the Bay Area, she held positions as Ballet Mistress and principal dancer with the Oakland Ballet and Pacific Ballet. Her teaching background includes positions as company teacher with the San Francisco Ballet and guest teacher with the Royal Ballet, Ballet Rambert, and the New York City Ballet. She has also participated as Artistic Advisor for the Diablo Ballet in Walnut Creek. Ms. Streets continues to teach for BBT and enjoys choreographing ballets for BBT productions.