Damara Bennett teaching at SF Ballet School
© Erik Tomasson
Ms. Bennett received her formal ballet training under the direction of Lila Zali in Laguna Beach, California, where her early dedication and talent won her a Ford Foundation Scholarship from the School of American Ballet. In 1971 Ms. Bennett joined San Francisco Ballet, under the direction of Lew Christensen and Michael Smuin. In 1987 Ms. Bennett founded City Ballet School in San Francisco, where she served as artistic director and offered a comprehensive curriculum incorporating the Vaganova syllabus. Many of Ms. Bennett's students have gone on to dance with professional companies such as Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and Dutch National Ballet, on Broadway, and in feature films like Center Stage.
Most recently, Ms. Bennett was the director of the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre under the artistic directorship of Christopher Stowell. Her responsibilities included establishing and overseeing the school curriculum for the school as well as training teachers, managing the apprentice and pre-professional programs, selecting the repertoire for the annual school performance and the apprentice outreach performances. In addition, Ms. Bennett taught all levels including pre-ballet and company class. Under Ms. Bennett’s directorship, students went to join professional companies and schools such as Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Ballet Austin, Les Ballet de Monte Carlo, San Francisco Ballet, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Oregon Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, Northern Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet.