MCKAYLE TEAM BIOGRAPHIES
KENNETH L. KEITH, Lighting Designer / Technical Director
Kenneth L. Keith’s career spans 34 years and three continents. Audiences for ballet, modern dance, opera, theater, musical theater, and concerts have enjoyed his designs. His lighting talents came to San Jose in the 2000 Inaugural Season of the new company, and in 2004, his rst scenic design was viewed with PIRATES OF PENZANCE. Mr. Keith also serves as Technical Director for the Company.
Mr. Keith’s design venues include Edinburgh Festival Fringe, American Dance Festival, Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival and New York’s Riverside and Lincoln Center Dance Festivals. Lighting design credits for Artistic Director Dennis Nahat’s Ballet San Jose include THE NUTCRACKER, COPPÉLIA, BLUE SUEDE SHOES, CELEBRATIONS AND ODE, MIDDLE KINGDOM–ANCIENT CHINA and A POLOVTSIAN TALE and dozens of others.
He was responsible for an unprecedented 8-city tour to major cities in China as Technical Director and Lighting Designer for Ballet San Jose in 2008 lighting CARMINA BURANA, THE FIREBIRD, MENDELSSOHN SYMPHONY SWAN LAKE, and ONTOGENY. He was also responsible for George Balanchine’s THEME AND VARIATIONS and APOLLO, Martha Graham’s APPALACHIAN SPRING, Roland Petit’s CARMEN, Flemming Flindt’s RED SHOES or LEGS OF FIRE and MIRACULOUS MANDARIN, Daryl Gray’s PIRATES OF PENZANCE and CINEMA SOUNDTRACKS, Michael Smuin’s STRAVINSKY PIANO PIECES, THE TEMPEST and SHINJU. A long time lighting designer of the Donald McKayle repertory among them, DEATH & EROS, DISTRICT STORYVILLE, GAMES and RAINBOW ‘ROUND MY SHOULDER, HOUSE OF TEARS, BITTERSWEET FAREWELL, UPROOTED: pero REPLANTADO, and CROSSING THE RUBICON: Passing the Point of No Return. Lynn Taylor-Corbett’s DIARY, Ulysses Dove’s VESPERS, Mary Giannoe’s AUTUMN, and many of the great 19th century classics. Mr. Keith works out of his studios in Dayton, Ohio, and in Lexington, Michigan, overlooking Lake Huron, Michigan.
JOHN GERBETZ, Photographer / Stage Imaging / Videographer
John Gerbetz, a native Clevelander, now hailing from San Jose, California, attended Cleveland State University (CSU) and received B.A. degree with major in Mass Media Communication.
As a youth he was an industrious home film maker, beginning with neighborhood features, then school projects, culminating in full-length presentations to high school faculty and student body. Thus from an early age he began developing a pattern for public presentation. He took private piano lessons in childhood and to this day maintains a strong interest in serious music with a library of over 2000 works, consequentially holding a deep and cross- disciplined respect and appreciation for the fine arts and performing arts in general. His knowledge and practical skill follow through a variety of avocations including photography, writing, broadcasting and performance in Modern Dance theater and television broadcasting. He is a self-taught technician in color and black and white photography laboratory work and has used this both for personal and professional application over a span of nearly five decades. He was a dancer with CSU Modern Dance Company and founding President of the CSU Dance Committee, which promoted student involvement in dance. He served as Publicity Director for the Festival of Modern Dance and produced original audio-visual material for Cleveland State University Dance tours back in the day.
Gerbetz established media connection to Cleveland Museum of Art and a wide variety of dance exhibitions and performances, conducting radio interviews with international luminaries, always including local artists and performers as well.
Mr. Gerbetz was the official in-house photographer and music technical editor at Cleveland Ballet, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley and Ballet San Jose. His skills as music editor extend deep into the repertory editing numerous works for the stage with the Chinese Performance Arts of America, the USA Jackson Mississippi Ballet Competitions, Menlo Ballet, Company C. His latest work is seen in Donald McKayle’s CROSSING THE RUBICON: Passing the Point of No Return. Currently, Gerbetz is writing the script for a new film.
BRET YAMANAKA, Rehearsal Director to Donald McKayle
Bret Yamanaka is a Lecturer in Dance at University of California, Irvine, acting as Donald McKayle’s Rehearsal Director and Choreographic Assistant for the Etude Ensemble. He graduated from UC Irvine with his BFA in Dance Performance and Dance Choreography in 2015. Prior to his appointment as Lecturer at UC Irvine he was invited as both a Guest Performing Artist and Guest Lecturer, performing and and restaging Donald McKayle’s historic repertory. During his time as an undergraduate Bret was a member of Donald McKayle’s UCI Etude Ensemble wherein he performed in a number of his classic works such as MINSTREL MAN (chor. 2006), RAINBOW ‘ROUND MY SHOULDER (chor. 1959), SONGS OF THE DISINHERITED (chor. 1972), and HOUSE OF TEARS (chor. 1992), as well as originating a number of roles in McKayle’s more recent works. His mentors include former and current faculty such as Jodie Gates, Loretta Livingston, Tong Wang, Shaun Boyle, Diane Diefenderfer, and Lisa Naugle. While studying he was awarded the Glorya Kaufman Scholarship and Sylvia Reines Scholarship for Dance Choreography, the Medici Fellowship for Dance Research, the William Gillespie Scholarship for Dance Performance, and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts 2015 award for Excellence in Dance Choreography.
JOSHUA D. ESSTRADA-ROMERO, Teaching Assistant to Mr. McKayle
Joshua D. Estrada-Romero began his dance training at Cal State University, Fullerton. While at Cal State University, Fullerton he performed and choreographed for the annual fall and spring concerts. He was also a member of CSUF’s Dance Repertory Theatre and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance in fall of 2008. His extensive experience in dance, music, and arts evolved through his dance memberships and trainings with Palindrome Dance Company, RhetOracle Dance Company, BARE Dance Company, Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company and DeFore Dance Center. He also worked with very well known artists of Limon Dance Company, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, and choreographer Victor Kabaniev. Joshua is the founder and artistic director of FUSE Dance Company based in Orange, CA, whose mission is to support and foster the growth and development of the performing arts in Southern California through performances, dance education, and dance community collaboration programs. FUSE has participated in many Southern California dance festivals and events including the Vox Dance Theatre Showcase in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Dance Festival, Nebula’s HHII Dance Festivls in Santa Barbara, Raw Orange County Showcase, MixMatch Dance Festi- val and twice for the Palm Desert Choreographer Dance Festival. For five consecutive years FUSE has performed for the Lineage Dance Festival in Pasadena and The SoCal Dance Invitational produced by Nannette Brodie, FUSE has also had the privilege in performing in Boston MA, Austin TX, NYC, and Seattle WA. Joshua currently shares his passion as an instructor/choreographer to all dance students of Maple Conservatory of Dance, Orange County School of the Arts, and Claylees Dance Academy. Joshua has begun the Masters in Dance program at University of California, Irvine and will be completed in spring of 2017.
Photo credits: John Gerbetz