SF Ballet School Alumni Spotlight: Alan Takata-Villareal


SF Ballet School alumnus and Bay Area native Alan Takata-Villareal has been working with SF Ballet for over 20 years, as the logistics manager in the artistic department. He is responsible for scheduling the Company’s busy rehearsal schedule and making sure the ballets make it to stage on time. We caught up with him to learn about his transition from being a student at SF Ballet School to a staff member with the organization.


Alan Takata-Villareal and students at SF Ballet School.

How did you come to SF Ballet School?
SF Ballet School was my first ballet school. When I was a kid I was very interested in musical theater, so throughout grammar school and into the beginning of high school, I performed in many musical productions. I always wanted to have formal dance training and SF Ballet School seemed like the right place. I started when I was 13 years old, taking classes in the adult ballet program which were taught by Mary Wood. Later on, I auditioned–and was accepted–into the professional division of the School. I also had a Christensen family connection when I was growing up. My father and Lee Christensen, Harold’s son, were very good friends. I grew up with Lee Christensen’s children.

Where did you go after attending the School?
I was in SF Ballet School for six years and then danced with Oakland Ballet for two and a half years. Betsy Erickson was my ballet master at that time. Unfortunately, I injured by knee while on tour, so my performing career came to an end; ACL replacements weren’t very common at the time.

How did you land an administrative job at SF Ballet?
I worked at Café Corbas which was located around the corner from SF Ballet. While working there and recuperating from my injury, I was told about a job opening at SF Ballet for a night-time receptionist. I was hired and proceeded to hold many jobs at SF Ballet during the ensuing years, including assistant to the company manager and ballet shop assistant. I also worked in the marketing department, the finance department, and finally the artistic department as the rehearsal manager for the Company.

What has been the biggest highlight for you working in the artistic department?
What is wonderful is that I’m still able to be involved creatively with the ballets that are performed on stage. As a student I watched and admired many ballet stars. I never imagined that, 30 years later, I would work with many of the same dancers whom I idolized.

Any words of wisdom you would like to share with ballet students today?
Going through the School and not being taken into the Company was heartbreaking. I now know that my dream of joining the Company did in fact come true, just not in the way I expected it to. So, remember that when the situation looks dim, pick yourself up and keep going. Your dream can still come true.

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