Last Thursday, a little Walnut Creek dance company known as Diablo Ballet traipsed down south to appear in Los Angeles' first-ever ballet festival, Ballet Fest 2000. Diablo was the only Northern California company to share the festival's three programs with Southern California's usual suburban-based suspects: Santa Barbara's State Street Ballet, Orange County's Francisco Martinez Dancetheater, Riverside's Inland Pacific Ballet, and a handful of others. Though the performance had yet to take place as of this writing, based on the reputations of each company Diablo may well be sending those other troupes back to suburbia with their tutus between their legs. Diablo's dominance says a great deal about L.A.'s long-parched dance scene, to be certain, but it says even more about Diablo and the great leaps forward it has taken over the last three years. Bay Area critics have raved about Diablo's progress for years, but few San Franciscans have trekked to the East Bay to see for themselves. This fall, after seven years of preparation, Diablo will open its 2000-01 season cityside, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Sept. 15 and 16. You can get a sneak peek this Sunday at "The Best of Diablo Ballet," a free program at the... More >>>