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Dance Career


San Francisco

New York City

On a dare, I took my first ballet class with Shirley Carson Ray, a former ballet dancer with the San Francisco Ballet. I took an immediate love to the expression of one's self through body movement. This was also my first exposure to classical music. As in most things I studied hard and excelled. Not particularly talented, but I certainly made up for it in hard work. Within a year and a half, I was dancing lead roles with the Silverado Ballet Troupe under the direction of Mrs. Ray. Noting my enthusiasm for the dance, Mrs. Ray facilitated an audition for the summer session with San Francisco Ballet. I was accepted on full scholarship and commuted five days a week from Napa to the San Francisco Ballet school.

When the summer session ended I knew that I would one day be a professional ballet dancer. I subsequently received a scholarship for the next summer session and then the school offered me a scholarship for Fall 1972. During my senior year of high school, I would attend academic classes at Napa High School from 7:00 am until 1:00 pm, then drive ninety minutes to San Francisco take two ballet classes and be back home about 11:00 pm. This arrangement didn't last long and I ended up moving to San Francisco and graduated from George Washington High School in January 1973. I remained in San Francisco the next year and a half where I eventually became an apprentice with the San Francisco Ballet. Not satisfied with my training in San Francisco, I did as many dancers did set my sights on New York City, the center of the dance world.

Robert Woods, Debra Bernard in pas de deux by Shirley Carson Ray, Silverado Ballet Troupe, Napa (1972).

Ellen Mingst, Robert Woods in ballet by Shirley Carson Ray, Silverado Ballet Troupe, Napa (1972).


Frankfur​t, Germany

Zürich, Switzerland

While performing in a recital at the New York School of Ballet, I was selected to dance the poet in a classical ballet known as Les Sylphide. I was honored that Ricard Thomas and Barbara Fallis, my teachers, selected me for this role. After the performance, Mr. Thomas pulled me aside and introduced me to Alphonso Catà, director of the Frankfurt Opera Ballet in Frankfurt Germany. Mr. Catà offered me a one-year contract as a member of the corps de ballet. So within four weeks I made a hasty trip to California to bid farewell to my family and arrived in Frankfurt in late July of 1974. The company had many American dancers so I felt right at home. I spent the next three years dancing many different roles in classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Coppelia; neo-classical ballets especially ballets of George Balanchine including Serenade, Allegro Briliant, Divertimento Number Fifteen, and La Valse; modern ballets various artists including Kent Stowell, John XXX. At the end of my second year with the company, I was promoted to soloist. I had the good fortune to tour with the company to Birmingham England, Lichtenstein, Belgrade Yugoslavia, and Brighton England. At the end of my third year, the management changed and I left the company for the Zürich Opera Ballet in July 1977.  

The Zürich Opera Ballet was quite a different experience. Aside from living in the cleanest, charming, old world town, the theater was ​subsidized by the Swiss government and produced lavish productions both opera and ballet. Mr. George Balanchine, of the New York City Ballet, selected the Zürich Opera Ballet to be the European sibling of his world famous New York City Ballet. He would come to work with our company once or twice a year. He selected former New York City Ballerina, Patrica Neary, to run the company. Our repertoire was filled again with classical, neo-classical and modern dance works. We performed the following works by Mr. Balanchine; Agon, Symphony in C, Western Symphony, Midsummer’s Night Dream, Who Cares, La Valse and Bugaku just to mention a few. Our classical repertoire included Rudolph Nurevey's full length ballet Don Quixote. Mr. Neurevey often danced the lead role with a number guess ballerinas including Cynthia Gregory, Eva Ednokimiva, and Yoko Morishito. We performed experimental pieces in various venues around Zürich with Mata Hari by Jürge Burth as one my favorites. I left the company in June of 1980 to head back to the United States. I spent my final two weeks with the Zürich Opera ballet performing Don Quixote at the London Coliseum. It was a fitting end to my six years in Europe.

Kevin Donnaley, Don Edwards, Trudi Campbell, Robert Woods in Three Preludes by Kent Stowell, Frankfurt Opera Ballet (1976).

Zürich Opera Ballet in Don Quixote, Colliseum, London England. (center left to right) Dame Ninette de Valois, Rudolph Nureyev, Patrica Neary (1980).

Irene v Klenau Robert Woods in Divertimento #15 by George Balanchine, Frankfurt Opera Ballet (1976).

Robert Woods in Divertimento #15 by George Balanchine.  Frankfurt Opera Ballet (1976).

Gisella Schneider, Robert Wo​ods in Divertimento #​15 by George Balanchine, Frankfurt Opera Ballet (1975).


Curtian call after Zürich Opera Ballet performs Don Quixote.  From left to right: Rudy Budavary, Rudolph Nureyev, James Jones, Cynthia Gregory, and Cathy Prescott.  Zürich, Switzerland (1979).

Floris Alexander, Jonas Kage, Alain Debrus, Robert Woods (left to right, front to back) in Agon by George Balanchine, Zürich Opera Ballet (1978).

Maureen Horrigan, Robert Woods, Ilka Doubek (front), Gerrard Synja, Lucio Zarlenga (back) in neoclassical ballet by Alfonso Catá, Frankfurt Opera Ballet Kammerspiel (1974).

Trudi Campbell, Maria Gurero, Don Edwards (rear), Wilhelm Burman, Robert Woods (front) in Divertimento #15 by George Balanchine, Frankfurt Opera Ballet (1975).

Original Costume Sketch for Robert Woods from Schemenstadt by Jürge Burth, Zürich Opera Ballet (1977).

April Anderson, Robert Woods in Imperial Ballet by Alfonso Catá, Frankfurt Opera Ballet (1974).

Los Angeles Ballet​​ - Pacific Northw​est Ballet

Under Construction

Under Construction


Ballet Pacifica - South Coast Ballet

Under Construction

Under Construction

Jillana in Liebeslieder Waltzes by George Balanchine (1965).

Jennifer Morgan, Cynthia Strang, Leslie Wiesner, Robert Woods, Yvette De Marco in Cyndi Lauper Ballet by James Jones (1985).

Jillana,  James Jones in The Four Temperaments by George Balanchine (1983).

Article in Orange County Register

Public relations article written by Chris Paslas announcing South Coast Ballet's performances at the Southland Home and Garden Show in Anaheim, California (1985).

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