Brett Conway and Laura O'Malley Will Succeed James Sofranko at SFDanceworks
In advance of its fifth anniversary season next year, SFDanceworks announces new leadership: Brett Conway and Laura O'Malley will succeed founder James Sofranko as co-artistic directors. Sofranko's decision to pass the baton comes one year after moving to Michigan to serve as artistic director of Grand Rapids Ballet. Together with former associate artistic director Danielle Rowe, Sofranko will continue on as an advisor to SFDanceworks in its next chapter.
After performing with some of the most highly regarded contemporary ballet companies in Europe and North America, Conway and O'Malley have for several years made San Francisco their home base. And for the last three years, they have served as core members of SFDanceworks, both as dancers and choreographers. For each of them, the role of co-artistic director will be their first stint leading a company, though it's one, said Sofranko, they are well prepared for.
"Brett and Laura have been important collaborators in SFDanceworks, integral to its success. I am fully confident in their artistic sensibilities and operational savvy," said Sofranko. "The decision to step away from the company I founded was not easy, but after a year at the helm of Grand Rapids Ballet I know it is the right one to ensure that SFDanceworks continues to grow and flourish. I feel honored that Brett and Laura have agreed to lead the company into the future."
O'Malley trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. before joining the Stuttgart Ballet and Dutch National Ballet, where she performed the title roles in Giselle and La Sylphide, in addition to principal roles in ballets from John Cranko, Christian Spuck, John Neumier and Mauro Bigonzetti, among many others. Upon returning to the United States, she danced for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and SFDanceworks.
Conway began his professional career with LINES Ballet where he earned an Izzie Award. In 2010, he joined Nederlands Dans Theater, collaborating with choreographers including Jiri Kylian, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, Mats Ek, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin and Sharon Eyal. Since relocating to San Francisco in 2015, he has freelanced with LINES Ballet, Opera Parallèle, the San Francisco Opera and SFDanceworks, among others.
"After 'retiring' from full-time dancing with LINES Ballet in 2016, I didn't expect to work with some of my idols," said O'Malley, "but I'm so happy that James invited me to join SFDanceworks. It's been one of the most fulfilling and enriching experiences of my career. Brett and I are committed to advancing the ideas of contemporary dance artists. Ultimately, we would like to turn it into a year-round company."
It's an exciting opportunity to work alongside Laura," said Conway. "We share James' vision for SFDanceworks to be a world-class contemporary dance company, presenting works from established artists from around the world while also cultivating new choreographic voices."
Co-presented by ODC Theater in San Francisco, SFDanceworks' fifth anniversary season will take place August 13 - 16, 2020. For more information visit sfdanceworks.org.