Cynthia Drayer

Hardesty Center for Dance Education Co-Principal

Born in Boulder, Colorado, Cynthia’s life has been devoted to dancing, teaching and studying the art of ballet.

Chosen by Michael Maule and awarded a full scholarship, she began her serious training at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois.

At 17, Cynthia 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.

In 1980, Director Ben Stevenson asked her to join the Houston Ballet where she was quickly promoted to soloist. Visiting choreographer Helgi Tomasson invited her to join San Francisco Ballet when he began his directorship in 1985, promoting her to Principal Dancer in 1987. Her signature roles in San Francisco Ballet’s repertoire include, Balanchine, Feld, Taylor, Bintley, Tomasson, Forsythe, Kudelka, Kylian, Smuin, Christenson, and Jacobson.

Upon retiring from SFB, Cynthia attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where she studied art history and interior design where her love of design flourished. She later continued to use her design skills in the staging and direction of many school drama productions in Palo Alto, California.

Cynthia has served on the faculties of the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington Academy of Performing Arts and Marin Ballet before becoming co-director of the Santa Clara Ballet with her husband Andre Reyes.

In 2003, Cynthia and Andre founded their own school, Volee Dance, in Palo Alto California.

Cynthia 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 part of the ground breaking world premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic with renowned theatre director, Peter Sellers. Her final performance in 2006 was in the featured Pas de Deux in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus.

In 2007, Cynthia 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 and was recently a guest instructor for Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Metropolitan Ballet Academy.

Cynthia brings her diverse professional experience and her expertise from extensive research and study with master teachers Henry Berg, Pat Hon and Svetlana Afansieva in her exploration and creation of children’s ballet syllabus and progression.