Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre Artistic Directors Robert Kelley and Diane Cypher

Artistic Director Diane Cypher 

Known during her performing career by her maiden name, Diane McLarty, Diane trained with Barbara Crockett and the Sacramento Ballet. At age seventeen, she joined the Santa Barbara Ballet and toured the country dancing one of her favorite roles: Myrtha in "Giselle." She performed as Swanhilda in "Coppelia" at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland before returning to her hometown and joining the Sacramento Ballet as a charter professional member.

Under the direction of Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda Cunningham, Diane had a long and rewarding career with the Sacramento Ballet. She danced leading roles such as Odette/Odile in "Swan Lake," the Lilac Fairy in "Sleeping Beauty" and the Sugar Plum Fairy in "The Nutcracker." She was featured in contemporary works, most notably the Balanchine repertoire, in roles as diverse as The Siren in "The Prodigal Son," Choleric in "The Four Temperaments," the Sylph in "Scotch Symphony", the soloist in "Rubies" and "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux."  She enjoyed dancing ballets choreographed by Ron Cunningham, her favorite being "Etosha, Place of Dry Water".

Under the tutelage of her mentor, Barbara Crockett, Diane's teaching career began in 1983. She taught throughout her dance career in Sacramento as a member of the Crockett Dance Studio faculty and later for San Jose Dance Theater. She shared the directorship of both The Studio School of Classical Ballet and Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre with her former ballet partner, Robert Kelley, from 1998 to 2019.  Diane stages classical ballets such as "Swan Lake" and "Giselle," and rehearses the company in all of its repertoire.  Diane and former Co-Artistic Director Robert Kelley were honored in 2009 with a Gail Rich Award for their contribution to the Santa Cruz arts community.

Diane has been an instrumental member of The Ballet Alliance, helping the organization truly support its member companies, dancers and artistic directors.  Go to The Ballet Alliance page for more information on this association of pre-professional ballet companies.


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