The administrator of the school of marine arts resigns
SAN ANSELMO, CA – Founder of a marine arts school is stepping down from an administrative role.
The Stapleton School of the Performing Arts announced Monday that Virginia Stapleton will be retiring as artistic director.
His retirement will take effect in the summer of 2021, the school said in a statement.
Stapleton founded the school in 1988 and a decade later developed the Stapleton Youth Company to provide a semi-professional experience for the school’s advanced students who helped them prepare for the professional dance circuit.
Stapleton’s mission to provide top-quality ballet and performing arts training in an inclusive and supportive environment has not gone unnoticed.
The Marin County Board of Directors honored Stapleton on the school’s twentieth anniversary three years ago.
“Ms. Stapleton has been a dynamic force in the Ross Valley community supporting dance, drama and the arts starting in 1980 with the creation of a ballet program for the San Anselmo Department of Parks and Recreation… and continues to this day, ”the board said. in a report.
“[We thank] she for her invaluable contributions to youth, the arts and the cultural community.
“Talent doesn’t come in just one physical body type, but in many different forms,” says artistic director Virginia Stapleton. “We don’t stereotype or discourage students because they don’t fit a mold. We just let them dance and celebrate the gift of our diversity as humans.”
Ms. Stapleton received her professional dance training at the San Francisco Ballet School under the tutelage of American ballet pioneers William and Lew Christensen.
She began touring with the San Francisco Ballet Company and the San Francisco Opera Company in 1961, performing in works such as Swan Lake; Symphony in C and Concerto Barocco, choreographed by George Balanchine; and Caprice and Con Amore, choreographed by Lew Christensen.
Eventually, she shifted from performing to teaching, embarking on a vast teaching career giving advanced classes and master classes for the Petaluma Ballet and Stamps School of Ballet in Albany.
“Talent does not come in just one physical body type, but in many different forms,” Stapleton said in a statement.
“We don’t stereotype or discourage students because they don’t fit a mold. We just let them dance and celebrate the gift of our diversity as humans.”
Stapleton School has presented annual Nutcracker productions for over thirty years. This year’s show will take place on December 4 and 5 at the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael after a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Other highlights included a school visit to the USSR in 1988, where forty Stapleton students participated in a Russian ballet training program.
David McNaughton’s Tom Sawyer’s production of Stapleton won Best Show of the Week at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in 1992. In 2018 the school moved into a new state-of-the-art facility at 70 Greenfield Avenue. in San Anselme.
Ms Stapleton partnered with North Bay Theatrics Director Ashley Kimball in 2018 to deliver youth and multigenerational theater as part of a comprehensive performing arts program at the school. The next production will be Disney’s Lion King Jr., with performances November 19, 20 and 21 at the San Anselmo Playhouse.
Wilhelmina Frankfurt, a former New York City Ballet dancer under the direction of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, will succeed Ms. Stapleton as the second artistic director in the school’s history. Ms. Frankfurt is best known for her roles in the ballets now known as “Balanchine Black and White”.