Ballet master / Choeographer
Following a celebrated career as a Principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet, Ms. Drayer’s life has been devoted to mentoring, teaching and studying the art of ballet to inform and inspire dancers of all ages.
At 17, Ms. Drayer was one of an elite group of young dancers picked to join Ballet Repertory Company in New York City, the touring and second company of American Ballet Theatre.
Immediately following, she was chosen by director Ben Stevenson to join the Houston Ballet where she was quickly promoted to Soloist. Visiting choreographer, Helgi Tomasson, invited her to San Francisco Ballet when he began his directorship, promoting her to Principal three years later. Her signature roles in San Francisco Ballet’s repertoire include works by Balanchine, Feld, Taylor, Bintley, Tomasson, Forsythe, Kudelka, Kylian, Smuin, Christensen, and Jacobson. Ms. Drayer and her husband Andre Reyes were fortunate to be cast as partners in many of their roles.
Upon retiring from SFB, Ms. Drayer attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where she studied Art History and Interior Design. She has displayed her design skills in the staging and direction of numerous ballet and school theater productions.
Ms. Drayer served on the faculties of Cornish College of the Arts, Washington Academy of Performing Arts, and Marin Ballet, before becoming co-director of the Santa Clara Ballet with her husband Andre Reyes. In 2003, Ms. Drayer and Andre founded their own school, Volee Dance, in Palo Alto, California.
Ms. Drayer returned to the stage with the San Francisco Opera and made her national television debut on Great Performances as ‘Lolo’ in the Opera’s production of The Merry Widow. She was also featured in the groundbreaking world premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic with renowned theatre director, Peter Sellers. Her final performance in 2006 was the featured Pas de Deux in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.
In 2007, Ms. Drayer was invited by Mikko Nissinen, to become the Classical Ballet Program Head of the Boston Ballet School. From 2012 – 2016 she served on the Pre-Professional faculty of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. In 2016 Ms. Drayer and her husband Andre were selected from a national search to co-direct the new Hardesty Center for Dance Education at Tulsa Ballet. She returned to California in 2018 to direct the School of Sacramento Ballet.
Ms. Drayer credits the foundation and inspiration of her work to master teachers Henry Berg, Pat Hon, and Svetlana Afansieva.
I blend the tradition and classicism of the Vaganova method with my diverse and eclectic American ballet background. I believe in the harmonious balance of discipline, rigor, and respect combined with joy, inspiration, and kindness. My experience in ballet encompasses many methodologies and schools of thought that I have cultivated into my own philosophy to prepare students for the demands of current dance culture in a happy and inspiring way.
Ballet master / Choreographer
Andre Reyes is a San Francisco Bay Area native and received his early dance training from his parents, Benjamin Reyes and Josefa Villanueva, at Santa Clara Ballet School before continuing on at Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, School of American Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet School.
Reyes, a longtime favorite of Bay Area audiences, performed as a Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. During his career he worked with world-renowned choreographers Glen Tetley, Jiri Kylian, Michael Smuin, Elliot Feld, James Kudelka, and David Bintley. Special invitations include San Francisco Opera’s “Fol de Rol,” San Francisco Symphony’s “Arts for Life” benefit and “Symphony Pops” series. Reyes has also performed in numerous international gala performances. His major television appearances include: Cinderella (Dance in America -WNET), Suites by Smuin (KQED), Symphony in Three Movements (KQED), and The Tempest (Dance in America-WNET).
Reyes has served on the faculty of Cornish College of the Arts, Washington Academy of Performing Arts, and San Jose State University. He was guest faculty for Kansas City Ballet, and Boston Ballet’s Summer Dance Program through 2007. He co-directed the Santa Clara Ballet from 2000 – 2001 and co-founded and directed Volee Dance in Palo Alto, CA from 2004 – 2007. Reyes served on the Pre-Professional Faculty at Boston Ballet School from 2007-2012, where he developed the Boys Program Elementary Syllabus. In 2012, he was invited to join the Pre-Professional Faculty at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School where he taught until 2016. In 2016 he and his wife, Cynthia Drayer, were chosen from a national search to direct Tulsa Ballet’s new Hardesty Center for Dance Education. Reyes returned home to California in 2018 to serve as Ballet Master and School Co-Director of Sacramento Ballet.
He has been a guest lecturer for Stanford University, University of Santa Clara, San Francisco State University, Boston College, Harvard University, and the American College Dance Festival Association. He has had the honor of serving as adjudicator for Dance Masters of America and the Japan Grand Prix, as well as a guest instructor for Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and English National Ballet School.