Former San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Evelyn Cisneros-Legate has been named academy director of Irvine-based Ballet Pacifica. She will take over as head of the company's school from husband and wife John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow when their contracts expire at the end of July.
Gardner and McKerrow are former American Ballet Theatre principal dancers hired last year by artistic director Ethan Stiefel, who resigned in March after the company's 2006-07 season was canceled.
Cisneros-Legate will also be artistic director of an annual "Nutcracker" to be danced for the next three years at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, the company said. The choreographer for that production, Dec. 8-24, has yet to be announced.
Cisneros-Legate joined San Francisco Ballet as an apprentice in 1976 and danced with the troupe for 23 years. She is married to San Francisco Ballet principal Stephen Legate, who retired Friday. That company's season ends this weekend.
Also, Ballet Pacifica interim managing director Melody Wolfgram has been named executive director, effective immediately.