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Evelyn Cisneros: 1959—: Ballerina

Debuted With The San Francisco Ballet

Cisneros's dedication paid off at the age of 15 when she was offered an apprenticeship at the San Francisco Ballet. After finishing high school she accepted the position and arrived in San Francisco on February 1, 1976. Two days later she was onstage. A dancer had been injured and Cisneros was asked to step in. She learned the dance in five hours. She wrote on Evelyn Cisneros's Web Page, "I was terrified, but I knew that this was my big opportunity and that if I proved that I was capable of learning a ballet and performing it well in that short amount of time, that I could make myself invaluable to the company."

Michael Smuin, the San Francisco Ballet's artistic director and choreographer, took the shy Cisneros under his wing and became her mentor. "Michael made me what I am," Cisneros told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1999. "He created so many roles for me. He gave me the chance to become the dancer I have become. I adored him." The adoration was mutual. In the same San Francisco Chronicle article, Smuin said, "I can tell you honestly that there were times when I was choreographing when it was Evelyn who showed me, in the way she could move, the direction a dance could take." Cisneros proved herself to be a dramatic dancer and a wonderful actress. She was the perfect vehicle for Smuin's highly theatrical choreography. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, "the two flourished side by side."

Cisneros soon became the company's favorite dancer. Dance Magazine wrote, "Most of all, there is the audience, whom Cisneros has transported to many a ballet dreamworld with her dancing, her sheer physical beauty, and her ability to project emotions across the footlights." However it was more than the audience that fell sway to her charms. Cisneros was universally loved by fellow dancers, choreographers, board members, and community leaders. "She's extremely generous," Anthony Randazzo, a regular dance partner of Cisneros told Dance Magazine. "She's very inclusive.

She really dances with me, looks into my eyes, responds to me. She doesn't say, 'This is the way I see it, and you're my partner and you better just follow my lead.' She makes me part of the whole dance." In the same article, Cisneros's husband, San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Stephen Legate added, "She is always there for the audience. She has such a warm and wonderful heart that it can't help but come through."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Ciara Biography - Wrote Out Goals to Elizabeth David (1913–1992) BiographyEvelyn Cisneros: 1959—: Ballerina Biography - Began Dancing To Overcome Shyness, Debuted With The San Francisco Ballet, Improved Reputation While Adapting To Change