State Street Ballet is a vibrant, innovative professional dance company based in Santa Barbara, California. Known for combining the rigors and timeless beauty of classical technique with updated looks, special effects and digital technology, the company produces original works that captivate today’s diverse audiences. By melding familiar storylines with exciting dance movement and state-of-the-art sets, production design, and lavish costuming, State Street Ballet gives each tale a modern, passionate and unique twist. This heady mix of movement, music, lighting, scenery and acting is successfully reaching new audiences, introducing dance as mainstream entertainment while honoring classical training, style and tradition.
Artistic Director Rodney Gustafson
Mr. Rodney Gustafson brings vision, energy and mastery of the classics to State Street Ballet, propelling the company to explore new and untapped areas of entertainment. Gustafson holds an undergraduate and master’s degree in business, enhanced by a successful dance career with American Ballet Theatre. He continues his association with American Ballet Theatre as a coordinator for their national education program. He is a Certified Instructor in Primary through level 7 for American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum. As a dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Gustafson worked with many of the greatest dancers of our time including Mikhail Baryshnikov and famous choreographers like Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Rudolf Nureyev, Jerome Robbins and Antony Tudor. He also appeared in the films Turning Point and Nutcracker (Baryshnikov) and several Live from Lincoln Center productions. Rodney and Allison Gustafson founded State Street Ballet in 1994. During his tenure as Artistic Director, he has created several full-length ballets for the company, including Romeo and Juliet, Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book.
Maria Fliagina Ballet Master and Choreographer
Ms. Maria Fliagina was born in Russia, Ms. Maria Fliagina graduated with distinction from the Perm State College of Choreography in Russia. In 1990, she was admitted to the Moscow State Theatre Kremlin Ballet where she worked with the renowned Vladimir Vasiliev and Ekaterina Maximova. She has performed roles in many famous classical ballets and has toured internationally with the Russian Imperial Ballet, Moscow Classical Ballet, and the Moscow Festival Ballet. Ms. Fliagina joined State Street Ballet as a dancer in 1998, and was promoted to Ballet Mistress for the 2000-2001 Season. In addition to her duties as Ballet Mistress for the company, she continues to appear in character roles such as the Nanny in Robert Sund’s Alice in Wonderland, and the Nurse Maid in Rodney Gustafson’s Romeo and Juliet.
She has worked with the Fresno Ballet Theatre School since 2009, though a VPAC sponsorship. Local dancers have benefited by her coaching in productions of Sleeping Beauty Act III ,The Little Humpbacked Horse and La Sylphide.