Artistic Directors

During the 2006-2007 season, Contra Costa Ballet celebrated twenty years of guidance by Artistic Directors Richard Cammack and Zola Dishong. Under their leadership the company has developed into a major regional company offering two seasons each year at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.

Richard Cammack

Artistic Director

Richard Cammack's formal, classical-ballet training began at the Interlochen Arts Academy and Butler University, where he graduated with honors, receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Dance. In 1969, he contracted with the American Ballet Theatre and during his five years with the Company danced an extensive repertoire with many soloist roles such as "Pillar of Fire" (Anthony Tudor), "Pulcinella"(Michael Smuin), and "Les Patineurs" (Fredrick Ashton).

In 1973, Mr. Cammack joined Michael Smuin and Lew Christensen, Artistic Directors of the San Francisco Ballet, as Company Regisseur to rehearse, teach and coach the Company dancers. When Harold Christensen retired as School Director in 1975, Mr. Cammack assumed that position which he held until 1986. During his tenure, over 125 students graduated into the ranks of the San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and other major companies throughout the United States and abroad.

Mr. Cammack served for two years as the American representative on the jury of the "Prix de Lausanne," a prestigious international ballet competition, and has lent his services as master teacher and adjudicator for several ballet festivals in the United States.

Emily Borthwick

Associate Artistic Director

Emily Borthwick received her training from The Dance School of Scotland, Scottish Ballet and The Royal Ballet School, London. In addition she has studied at The Vaganova School, St. Petersburg, Russia, and has had the opportunity to study and with many wonderful teachers and choreographers including Dame Alicia Markova, Valerie Adams, Pamela May, Lynn Seymour, Christopher Wheeldon, David Long and William Glassman.

Before moving to the US, Emily performed and taught throughout London and Belgium. On arriving here she taught for eight years at The Charlotte School of Ballet, NC and performed many roles with The Charlotte Youth Ballet as a guest artist. She was also a member of Kinetyx Dance Company as well as performing with Columbia City Ballet, Opera Carolina, Central Piedmont Theatre, and many televised performances with Eddie Mabry Dance.

Emily has been a guest teacher for the Cecchetti Council of America, and Ballet Theatre Lancaster, PA. She holds her advanced level teaching qualifications from The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), The Cecchetti Council of America (CCA), The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) and The Royal Ballet School (Dip RBS, TTC).

Zola Dishong

Artistic Director (1987 - 2011)

Zola Dishong has enjoyed an extensive career in dance as a performer and educator. At age fourteen, she received one of the first Ford Foundation Scholarships to the San Francisco Ballet School where she studied with Anatole Vilzak and Harold and Lew Christensen. At seventeen, Ms. Dishong became a member of the San Francisco Ballet and toured with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev on his first USA tour. After moving to New York, she joined American Ballet Theatre where she performed soloist roles in most of their classical repertoire and toured throughout Europe, Japan and the U.S.

After returning to San Francisco, Ms. Dishong was a principal dancer with Pacific Ballet and began her teaching career as head of the Ballet Department at San Francisco State University. In 1974, she joined the faculty of the San Francisco Ballet School, where she taught all levels for 13 years and helped to train many prominent dancers. Ms. Dishong has been recognized for her coaching skills, has taught a variety of master classes and has been called on to judge ballet competitions around the country.

For the last 20 years, Ms. Dishong has devoted herself to teaching and directing in the Contra Costa Ballet Centre, where she has staged and coached Petipa and Balanchine repertoire. She has this past year resigned as Artistic Director of the Contra Costa Ballet Company and has enjoyed the process of mentoring Emily Borthwick into that position. Ms. Dishong now focuses on the directing of the Contra Costa Ballet Centre.

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