In 2015, Misty Copeland made history by becoming the first African-American female principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre in New York. She performed with the singer Prince and the pop group TLC. As well as appearing in commercials for Diet Dr Pepper and Coach handbags and she was named national youth of the year ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Misty has her own dancewear line and is a spokesperson for Under Armour sports clothing brand, and Simon & Schuster published her memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina”.
“My introduction to ballet was far from conventional. The discovery was made possible by an outreach program through the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Pedro, California in collaboration with Cindy and Patrick Bradley, Artistic Directors of the San Pedro City Ballet. This program changed the trajectory of my life. Because of San Pedro City Ballet’s mission of bringing ballet to the Los Angeles community, I was trained in four short years to go on to dance with American Ballet Theatre in New York City, America’s National Ballet Company. The nurturing I received from the San Pedro City Ballet family is something that I believe is vital to every child in every community. I received mine through dance.
“Coming from a single-parent home with very little money and opportunity, my path would have been far from that of a ballerina in a world-famous ballet company. I was given an opportunity to dream, work, be dedicated and become something great. I have now been a professional ballerina for thirteen years with ABT, making history in 2007 by becoming the third African American female in the company’s 75-year history to reach the rank of Soloist. I feel that it is my duty to share my art through similarly structured programs, thanks to Cindy and Patrick Bradley and the San Pedro City Ballet.”
Becky Armor Campbell
Becky Armor Campbell studied with Cindy and Patrick Bradley throughout her childhood and high school dance career in the South Bay, joining the San Pedro City Ballet in its nascency in 1994. Her fondest performance memories include Swan Lake, Don Quixote, all seasons of The Nutcracker, and Patrick Bradley’s original work affectionately remembered as “Bolero.” After moving with her family to Georgia in 2000, Becky studied at both the Academy of Dance and Dance Arts Studio of Macon, Georgia, where she danced lead roles for The Nutcracker of Middle Georgia, and productions of Dracula and original works. She also won choreography awards for staging local productions of The Music Man and Cabaret. Becky capped off her dance career at the University of Georgia, where she minored in Dance and History and earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Becky parlayed her passion for the arts into a career in fundraising consulting at Coxe Curry & Associates in Atlanta, Georgia. After a 3-year detour to New York City, where she lived with her sister, Rachel Armor Jansen, a fellow San Pedro Ballet School alumna, Becky and her husband returned to Atlanta. Becky now raises their young daughter, Augusta, and serves as president of the Greystone Garden Club. She can’t wait until Augusta is old enough for her first pair of ballet shoes. Becky and Rachel’s mother, Mary Armor, remains on the Board of San Pedro City Ballet after nearly two decades.
Milena Grgas is a graduate student at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and Claremont’s Drucker School of Management pursuing a degree in Art Business, studying the development of art market centers. Although visual art and academia have always been primary focuses for Milena, she is grateful for her time as a member of the San Pedro City Ballet. She began her training at the age of fourteen, when she took a few classes at the San Pedro Ballet School to strengthen her ankles after a basketball injury. Instantly falling in love with dance, Milena became a member of SPCB II that fall and was promoted to senior company status the following year. In college, Milena continued to pursue her dance studies while a student at New York University, taking open courses under the instruction of former Joffrey, NYCB, and ABT dancers and faculty. Dancing to original choreography under the direction of Cindy Bradley, Milena is a three-time Miss America local titleholder and three-time state finalist in the Miss California Pageant. Additionally, she was a member of NYU’s Ballroom & Latin Dance Team, winning numerous prizes at UPenn, Harvard, Columbia, and NYU Syllabus Competitions.
Holding a self-designed degree in Mediterranean Cross-Culture, with a minor in Art History, Milena is working toward her ultimate career goal of becoming an Art Conservator-Restorer. Upon graduation from Sotheby’s, Milena plans to promote LA-based artists on the gallery scene while pursuing her next degrees: an advanced certificate in Art Conservation and a PhD in Art History. In her “spare” time, Milena serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the San Pedro City Ballet, is an active alumna of Alpha Sigma Tau National Sorority, the Design Team Lead for TEDxClaremontColleges, VP of Events for the Drucker School Student Association, and sits on the committees of both the Miss Beach Cities Organization and the Miss Central California Regional Organization.
Kalani Hicks is originally from Palos Verdes, CA, where she trained at San Pedro Ballet School for 13 years. Many of her fondest memories from growing up take place at the Warner Grand Theater during The Nutcracker and Spring performances. She was also a member of the Palos Verdes High School Choreo Team for four years under Kathleen Mastan.
In 2015, Kalani received her BFA in Dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara, training under Nancy Colahan, Christopher Pilafian, and Valerie Huston. There she studied subjects such as choreography, improvisation, and performance; in her final year of school she received the Corwin Award for Choreography, and the Arnhold DEL Scholarship. Additionally, Kalani was a member of the UCSB Dance Team, traveling to national jazz and hip-hop competitions, and serving one year as captain. She also earned her BA in Environmental Studies, volunteering as a Snowy Plover Docent at the Coal Oil Point Reserve, and a group leader for the Kids In Nature program. In 2013, she traveled to Belize for six weeks with Wildlands, an environmental field school program. Post-graduation, Kalani attended the Dance Education Laboratory at 92nd Street Y in New York and the ODC Next Moves Summer Intensive in San Francisco.
In September of 2015, Kalani moved to San Francisco, where she currently works at DocuSign as Site Coordinator. She joined Peter & Co., a contemporary dance company, in 2016.
One of the original members of San Pedro City Ballet, Heather Lawson trained with Cindy and Patrick Bradley starting at age seven. After high school, Heather attended the University of Oklahoma on a ballet scholarship, where she was a member of the Oklahoma Festival Ballet. As a member of the Oklahoma Festival Ballet, Heather performed in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Graduation Ball, Sleeping Beauty, George Balanchine’s Serenade and many other original works. She also toured with the company to France three times, performing in Bordeaux, Claremont-Ferrand, and Nice. Heather graduated with Distinction in 2000 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Ballet Performance.
After graduation, Heather returned to San Pedro where she managed the San Pedro Ballet School, taught classes and rehearsals, and continued to perform. She also discovered and fell in love with the Pilates method. Heather completed her full certification for STOTT Pilates and she has gone on to become a Lead Instructor trainer for STOTT Pilates in Mat, Reformer, Cadillac Chair and Barrels, Injuries and Special Populations, and Total Barre. She has taught internationally, including in Brazil, Indonesia, and Canada, and has presented multiple times at the IDEA World Fitness Convention. Heather has also been featured on several STOTT Pilates DVD’s and manuals and is a member of their programming team.
Currently, Heather resides in Long Beach, California and teaches at John Garey Fitness and Pilates. While no longer active in ballet, she treasures the friendships and memories made while dancing with San Pedro City Ballet.
Adrienne O’Melveny Jaffe
Adrienne O’Melveny Jaffe received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from USC in 2011 and currently works on the Cedars-Sinai Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit. One of the founding members of the San Pedro City Ballet, she credits the fundamentals of hard work and dedication to body awareness that the San Pedro City Ballet instilled in her for directly impacting her life path for the better.
After high school, Adrienne attended the University of California, San Diego, dancing throughout her time there and training with Jean Isaacs, Thor Sutowski, and Tony Caligagan, among others. She also choreographed pieces for student productions. After college, Adrienne moved to New York with fellow SPCB member Sarah Posalski, training at the Paul Taylor Dance Company School, Dance New Amsterdam, Steps, and anywhere Stephen Petronio was teaching. Adrienne also worked for Ballet Tech in collaboration with the NYC Department of Education, auditioning elementary school children for entrance into this unique public school dance program.
During her time in New York, Adrienne became a Stott Pilates Mat certified instructor. While studying human anatomy, she became interested in physical therapy, as it combined her love of science and dance. She was inspired by years of attention to movement analysis in the dance world, which could be transferred to helping people recover from injury. She decided to continue her education in order to become a physical therapist.
Today Adrienne works primarily in the field of neurologic physical therapy, assisting individuals with motor recovery and function with a variety of diagnosis such as stroke, traumatic and non-traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, SCI, Parkinson’s Disease, and limb loss. Adrienne is forever thankful for her early training with SPCB as she continues to use movement and movement awareness to help people recover function post-injury (she also uses her dance skills to provide endless hours of entertainment her little girl!).
Angeliki Papadakis currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of modern and ballet technique with the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Prior to joining the Kaufman School, Angeliki directed the USC School of Dramatic Arts Repertory Dance Company’s productions of Spring Dance Migration (2011), Dancing through an Arabian Night (2011), A Wonderland of Dance (2012), and the United Kingdom of Dance (2013).
Angeliki began her training in the South Bay with Cynthia and Patrick Bradley and was a member of Dance Peninsula under the direction of Patricia Standar. She went on to join the San Pedro City Ballet and performed principal roles with the Company for over a decade. Angeliki continued her training with Charles Maple, Stanley Holden, Cynthia Gregory, Denise Leitner and many others in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York. She has performed with the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre in Las Vegas and Hubbard Street Dance 2 in Chicago and has danced in the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics. She has attended the RDA National Choreography Intensive and choreographed and performed in the Los Angeles Inner City Games.
Angeliki graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in History and Political Science. While at USC, was a member of USC’s Repertory Dance Company and received awards for outstanding choreography. She earned her J.D. at Pepperdine University School of Law, where she authored law review articles exploring legal issues dealing with copyright and choreography. She graduated Pepperdine magna cum laude and is currently an active member of the State Bar of California.
Alexis Petru is proud to have been an original member of San Pedro City Ballet. When an injury rendered her unable to pursue a professional dance career, she applied the discipline she learned in the studio to her other passions – sustainability and writing. At UC Berkeley, she graduated summa cum laude in cultural anthropology and founded a campus reuse center for secondhand office and school supplies. After college, Alexis coordinated environmental programs for various cities and counties in the San Francisco Bay area for seven years. Now she works as a journalist specializing in environmental issues and sustainability; her work has appeared on The Huffington Post, Earth911.com, Patch.com and TriplePundit.com.
Alexis has always treasured her time with SPCB. Being a self-described “weird” teenage girl was difficult, but Cindy and Patrick fostered an environment where Alexis and her fellow dancers were allowed to express their individuality and creativity. The Company was a second family. Even though Alexis’ injuries prevent her from continuing intense ballet and modern training, she will always maintain a love of dance. She tries to dance whenever she can, even if it’s just in the living room with her toddler son, who has already learned to do an arabesque and a plié.
Tara Sattler trained and performed for over a decade with the San Pedro City Ballet. Her experience on stage motivated her to pursue a career in entertainment law and she credits the discipline she learned in the studio with enabling her to be successful academically and professionally.
Tara is a Senior Associate at the boutique entertainment law firm Ramo Law PC in Beverly Hills, California. She graduated magna cum laude from Hofstra University Honors College in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance, and minors in Business Management and Legal Studies, and cum laude from Southwestern University School of Law in 2011. During her time at Southwestern, she studied entertainment law through the Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute, participated in the National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition, and served as the Entertainment Vice President of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society. Her paper “Plagued by the Paparazzi: How California Should Sharpen the Focus on Its Not So Picture Perfect Paparazzi Laws” was published in The Southwestern Law Review. Tara speaks at engagements and on panels in the areas of entertainment law, independent film financing and production, and film distribution and has worked with California Lawyers for the Arts and Westwood One’s Grammy Radio Remote.