ASPEN SANTA FE BALLET Begins a Three-Year Residency at VPAC!

ASPEN SANTA FE BALLET Begins a Three-Year Residency at VPAC!

Contemporary Dance Company Celebrates 20th Anniversary Season with Three Los Angeles Premieres:

Choregraphy by Fernando Melo

Human Rojo
Choreography by Cayetano Soto

Silent Ghost
Choreography by Alejandro Cerrudo

SATURDAY, APRIL 16 at 8:00pm

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (ASFB) celebrates its 20th Anniversary at Valley Performing Arts Center with a program of new works that commemorates the company’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of contemporary dance.  To launch its three-year residency with VPAC, ASFB unveils two new company commissions: Re:play by the Brazilian choreographer Fernando Melo and Human Rojo by Cayetano Soto, his third work for ASFB and a recent AFSB commission and last summer’s audience favorite, Silent Ghost, by Alejandro Cerrudo, on Saturday, April 16 at 8:00pm

“Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is one of the most innovative dance companies in the American West and it is very exciting to bring them to VPAC knowing that they will be on campus for three consecutive years,” said Thor Steingraber, Executive Director of VPAC.  “The company has a deep commitment to curating new ballets, and cultivating choreographic talent, as evidenced by Cayetano Soto’s third commission on our first program.  In the coming two years, VPAC will collaborate with ASFB to commission two new ballets, created by Los Angeles choreographers.  This partnership is filled with great promise.” 

This multi-year residency by a major performing arts company furthers the mission of Valley Performing Arts Center to become the cultural hub of the San Fernando Valley.  Long-term relationships between artists and audiences are crucial to the success of emerging arts institutions and the communities they serve.  Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, one of the nation’s most important contemporary ballet companies, is the first company to embark on a residency at VPAC.  ASFB is presently enjoying worldwide renowned with a recent debut at Teatro La Fenice, the historic opera house in Venice, Italy, and will open the season at Jacobs Pillow, one of the most important dance festivals in the world. 

About Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

ASFB was founded 20 years ago by Executive Director Jean-Philippe Malaty and Artistic Director, Tom Mossbrucker, both former principal dancers at The Joffrey Ballet.  Described by the New York Times as “A breath of fresh air,” Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company stands out as a model of what a small ballet company should be with its “musicality, athleticism, and technique-conscious delivery.”

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s repertoire, ranges from accessible to sophisticated, resonating with energy and eclecticism. A house-style emerges across this diverse dance menu, layering American athleticism on a base of European refinement. The company’s identity is tethered to its repertoire, which speaks a complex language, challenges audiences, and advances the art form.

The company’s pioneering spirit arises from a dual set of home cities: Aspen, nestled in the Rocky Mountains, and Santa Fe, gracing the Southwestern plateau. Shaping the cultural landscape of these communities – and influencing the dance field at large – is a contemporary ballet company now two decades old.


Tickets for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet range from $40 – $75. Tickets can be purchased by visiting ValleyPerformingArtsCenter.orgor calling (818) 677-3000.  Valley Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of California State University, Northridge (CSUN),18111 Nordhoff Street Northridge, CA 91330-8448, at the corner of Nordhoff and Lindley. 

About Valley Performing Arts Center

Now in its Fifth Anniversary year, VPAC’s mission is to present a wide variety of performances that not only includes new and original work from the Los Angeles region, but also work from around the world that appeals to all of LA’s rich and diverse communities.  The Valley Performing Arts Center’s 2015-16 Season signals a new era for the premiere event venue.  Under the leadership of Executive Director Thor Steingraber, VPAC expands its programming to include new and original work, and outstanding multi-disciplinary performances. Located on the campus of California State University Northridge, VPAC’s season offers a vibrant and diverse performance program of nearly 50 classical and popular music, dance, theater, family and international events that will serve to establish VPAC as the intellectual and cultural heart of the San Fernando Valley and further establish itself as one of the top arts companies in Southern California.  The award-winning 1,700-seat theatre was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers and was recently cited by the LA Times as “a growing hub for live music, dance, drama and other cultural events.


Calendar Listing for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet

Venue:                 Valley Performing Arts Center

                                18111 Nordhoff Street

                                Northridge, CA 91330


Date:                     Saturday, April 16 at 8:00pm


Tickets:                Prices: $40 – $75

                              In Person: VPAC Ticket Office, located in the VPAC Courtyard

      By Phone: (818) 677-3000


Photo Credits:   Silent Ghost – photo by Rosalie O’Connor

                                Re:play – photo by Michael Alvarez


About Tom Mussbrucker, Artistic Director

Tom Mussbrucker, has been artistic director of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet since 1996. For the past eighteen years Tom has built a prestigious arts organization sharing two homes in Aspen and Santa Fe. In his role as artistic director, Tom cultivates highly sophisticated and challenging works of contemporary ballet. His shining achievement is ASFB’s roster of 28 ballets created on commission by leading global choreographers. Tom began to dance at four, studying tap in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. He pursued classical ballet training at the School of American Ballet and Joffrey Ballet School. His twenty years as a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, performing in over 70 ballets under the direct coaching of founders Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, coincided with a period of high artistic achievement for the company. Tom danced in works by great twentieth century choreographers: Fredrick Ashton, George Balanchine, Laura Dean, William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, Mark Morris, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp. Signature roles included Iago in Jose Limon’s The Moor’s Pavane; Champion Roper in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo; Billy in Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid; and Romeo in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. This rich dance heritage Tom brings to coaching dancers today. In 2013, Tom shared an honor with Executive Director Jean-Philippe Malaty when the Santa Fe Community Foundation bestowed its Piñon Award on the company. In 2010, in recognition of ASFB’s contribution to the field of dance, Tom and Jean-Philippe were honored with the Joyce Theater Foundation Award. A former board member of Dance USA, Tom currently serves on the board of The Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey Foundation.

About Jean-Philippe Malaty, Executive Director

Jean-Philippe Malaty was born in the Basque region of France. After receiving his baccalaureate in dance, he accepted scholarships to study at Mudra, Maurice Béjart’s school in Brussels and at John Cranko’s ballet academy in Stuttgart. Invited by acclaimed instructor David Howard to study in New York, Jean-Philippe traveled to America under Howard’s tutelage. Jean-Philippe’s performance career began with Joffrey II. He also danced as a guest artist with Los Angeles Classical Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Jean-Philippe segued from the stage to an administrator role while still in his twenties. A key member of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s start-up team, Jean-Philippe has been central to developing the company’s unique dual-city business model. He directs operations in two locations, overseeing a $4.2 million budget that he allocates to the company, two schools, an esteemed presenting series, and an award-winning folkloric outreach program. In a daring managerial move, in 2014, Jean-Philippe added Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe as a second performance company under the ASFB umbrella. Over the last decade, Jean-Philippe has received multiple accolades from the field. He has served as panelist for both the Colorado Council for the Arts and National Endowment for Arts. The Denver Bonfils-Stanton Foundation granted him their Livingston Fellowship in recognition of his significant leadership role in Colorado’s non-profit sector. Jean-Philippe and Tom were also co-honored with the Joyce Theater Foundation Award in recognition of ASFB’s contribution to dance. He shared an honor with Artistic Director Tom Mossbrucker when the Santa Fe Community Foundation bestowed its Piñon Award on the company. Jean-Philippe’s first love is teaching, and when his schedule permits, he teaches company class and is a guest instructor at schools and universities. A naturalized U.S. citizen, Jean-Philippe is proud to have forged a dance company infused with American energy, invention, and eclecticism.

About Cayetano Soto, Choreographer: Human Rojo

Born in Barcelona and based in Munich, Cayetano Soto has created work for major companies worldwide. His technical, high-pitched and unpredictable choreography can be seen at international festivals in Europe, USA and Canada.

Soto started his dance education in Barcelona at the Institut del Teatre and continued his studies at the Koninklijke Conservatorium in The Hague. After receiving his degree in Classical Dance, Soto danced with IT Dansa Barcelona in 1997, before joining Ballet Theater Munich a year later where he created several successful ballets and one of his first signature pieces, Fugaz.

Since 2005, Soto has worked as a freelance choreographer with Nederlands Dans Theater, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Balé da Cidade de São Paulo, BJM Montréal, Introdans, Introdans voor de Jeugd, Ballet BC, Gauthier Dance Company, Companhia Nacional de Bailado, Perm Opera and Ballet Theater, Národní Divadlo Brno, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Tanz Luzern Theater, Ballet Hispanico and Northwest Dance Project in Portland. He also created several ballets with German companies including Stuttgarter Ballet, Staatstheater Braunschweig, Augsburg Ballett, Ballett in Revier, Staatstheater Nürnberg and Ballett Dortmund.

In 2009, he began a continuous collaboration with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Introdans voor de Jeugd, creating a number of new ballets. For Ballet Dortmund he created a new full evening version of Carmen. Due to the success in Dortmund, Národní Divadlo Brno in Czech Republic staged Carmen in 2010. Soto also choreographed Dancing Mozart’s mass in c-minor with live orchestra for 4 dancers in the Church of St. Egidean in Nürnberg.

Fascinated by the German American fashion label Talbot Runhof, Soto started to collaborate with the designers in several projects. Talbot Runhof designed the costumes of Carmen for Dortmund Ballet and Soto choreographed a new solo work to present their new collection at the Fashion week in Paris. The costumes of the new creation Sortijas for Ballet Hispanico of New York will be also designed by the duo.

Soto was awarded the First Prize for his ballet 24FPS by the choreographic competition Uncontainable Project 2006 of the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Canela Fina, commissioned by Bale da Cidade de São Paulo, was awarded as best dance production of 2008 by the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. In 2011, Soto was nominated for the Golden Mask Award in Russia, for his choreography Uneven.

About Fernando Melo, Choreographer: Re:play

Fernando Melo is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the age of 16 he was awarded a scholarship to train at the Vienna state opera ballet. He has been in Europe ever since, building his career as a dancer and choreographer and creating works around the world. Among the companies he has choreographed for are: Göteborgsoperans Danskompani (Sweden), where he is also currently rehearsal director; Deutsche Oper Am Rhein Düsseldorf (Germany), Introdans (Holland), Staatstheater Am Gärtnerplatz München (Germany), Luzerner Theater (Switzerland), Luna Negra Dance Theater (U.S.A), and Norrdans (Sweden).

Fernando also choreographs and directs dance film. His most recent film “nonstop” screened at Cinedans in the Netherlands. Prior to this, he created “Mahjong”, which screened at several international film festivals and received the 2010 audience award at the San Francisco dance film festival. In addition, Fernando choreographs for opera. His recent projects include “Die Schöpfung” by Joseph Haydn for Vocal Futures, London, (U.K.), “Daphne” by Richard Strauss at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, (France) and Solaris by Detlev Glanert at the Oper Köln (Germany).

About Alejandro Cerrudo, Chorgrapher: Silent Ghost

Born in Madrid, Spain and trained at the Real Conservatorio Profesional de Danza de Madrid. His professional career began in 1998 and includes work with Victor Ullate Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater 2. Cerrudo joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2005, was named Choreographic Fellow in 2008, and became the company’s first Resident Choreographer in 2009. Thirteen works choreographed to date for Hubbard Street include collaborations with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Nederlands Dans Theater. These pieces and additional commissions are in repertory at companies around the U.S. as well as in Australia, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands; touring engagements have brought his work still further abroad, to audiences in Algeria, Canada, Morocco and Spain. In March 2012, Pacific Northwest Ballet invited Cerrudo to choreograph his first work for the company, Memory Glow, upon receiving the Joyce Theater Foundation’s second Rudolf Nureyev Prize for New Dance. Additional honors include an award from the Boomerang Fund for Artists (2011), and a Prince Prize for Commissioning Original Work from the Prince Charitable Trusts (2012) for his acclaimed, first evening-length work, One Thousand Pieces. Cerrudo is one of four choreographers invited by New York City Ballet principal Wendy Whelan to create and perform original duets for “Restless Creature,” and he was recently announced the 2014 USA Donnelley Fellow by United States Artists.