extended bios from Meet The Faculty
Owner/Artistic Director of Riverside Ballet Arts.
Glenda Carhart is also founder and Director of BRAVA, (Ballet Resource Active Volunteer Association). Ms. Carhart is a native Californian who received her beginning training in Riverside at Riverside Ballet Arts (formerly Mary Lynn’s Ballet Arts). Ms. Carhart left Riverside at the age of 15 to continue her training on a full scholarship at the school of the Harkness Ballet in New York City. The following year took her to Toronto, Canada on scholarship with the National Ballet School. She joined the National Ballet of Canada, performing her first professional roles in Rudolf Nureyev’s Sleeping Beauty at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.
While at the National Ballet she performed in Edward Villella’s Harlequin for a nationwide CBS Television special presentation and in full-length productions of Swan Lake, Coppelia, and the Nutcracker. She was featured in Serenade and Offenbach in the Underworld, and gained experience working with top professionals Mikhail Baryshnikov, Peter Martins, Fernando Bujones, Erik Bruhn, Rudolf Nureyev, Rudi Van Dantzig and Celia Franca.
Returning to Riverside in 1977, Ms. Carhart was guest artist for numerous companies and schools in California, and danced as principal soloist with California Riverside Ballet before her appointment as Artistic Director for both California Riverside Ballet and Riverside Ballet Arts in 1984. Glenda spent the next twenty 26 years developing California Riverside Ballet, providing performing experiences and collaborating projects with many Riverside organizations including her school, Riverside Ballet Arts.
During her tenure with California Riverside Ballet Glenda was responsible for providing educational out reach programs to over 130,000 elementary school children in the Inland Empire area, directing David Allan’s annual production of the Nutcracker and developing creative opportunities to a number of emerging choreographers.
Glenda brought Mr. David Allan, former partner and colleague to Riverside in 1991 to begin mentoring and performance programs to aspiring youth. Glenda resigned from California Riverside Ballet to pursue her dream of the newly formed non-profit, BRAVA, (Ballet Resource Active Volunteer Association). As owner and Director of Riverside Ballet Arts, and proud supporter of BRAVA, Carhart directs a faculty and staff of up to ten professionals and an enrollment of approximately 300 students. Ms. Carhart’s commitment to excellence, over the last 35 years, has provided the foundation for her students receiving scholarships to the most prestigious Ballet company schools in North America. She has continued her own training as a teacher through workshops with National Ballet of Canada and is a certified trainer utilizing Pilates based techniques and apparatus.
Glenda continues to maintain close professional contact with international companies and schools, the School of American Ballet, (official School of the New York City Ballet) and the National Ballet School (official School of the National Ballet of Canada) as such, she has brought world stars and master teachers Canadian Ballerina, Veronica Tennant; Russian Ballerina, Maya Plisetskaya; American Ballerina and Riverside alumni, Darci Kistler; dance star and Riverside alumni Stephen Legate; NYC Ballet stars, Peter Martins; Edward Villella and Katrina Killian.
Elizabeth Apgar Updegraff began her ballet training at the age of seven at the San Diego School of Ballet under the guidance of Robin Morgan. At the age of fourteen she was asked by Lola De Avila of the San Francisco Ballet to come and study with the ballet school under full scholarship. She stayed at SFB for three years as a student and apprentice with the company. Jillana, one of George Balanchine’s protégés, became her mentor and selected her for her first major role as Dewdrop when she was just fifteen. After being invited to return to the San Diego Ballet as a principle dancer, Elizabeth spent the bulk of her career dancing in classical roles and contemporary works created for her by artistic director Javier Velasco. In 1996 Elizabeth was chosen by Baryshnikov to appear on the first cover of his newly started catalog, Baryshnikov Dancewear. She has also been featured as a model in Dance Magazine on several occasions, and in one instance Dance Magazine published a review of her and the late Ricardo Peralta’s lead performance in Opus Swing, a ballet set to the music of Duke Ellington performed in the San Diego Ballet’s 1997 season. Anne Marie Welsh, dance critic for the San Diego Union Tribune, once wrote: “Apgar’s got legs out to here and real magnetism. She demands attention in every role.” Elizabeth appeared as a ballet dancer in the NBC TV movie Jonathan, the Boy Nobody Wanted, and she danced in the West Coast Emmy Awards hosted by David Caradine. She has also choreographed ballet pieces that have been performed by professional and pre-professional dancers. The Triangle Incident is one of her favorites, a ballet in three acts based on the devastating fire at the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory in New York. That ballet was performed in June 2007 at the San Diego Ballet Company. Elizabeth has been teaching ballet for over twenty years and loving every minute of it. She has taught for schools in San Diego, Long Beach, Orange County, and Riverside, California, and also in Columbia, Missouri, instructing professionals as well as students ranging from adult beginners to kids as young as three. Elizabeth also loves to act and has been involved in numerous theatre productions in California as well as Missouri. She won the award for best supporting actress in the 2005-2006 season for her performance as Elsa Greer in Agatha Christie’s Go Back for Murder, staged by the Lamplighter’s Theater in San Diego. Before returning to teach in southern California, Elizabeth was the ballet mistress at the Missouri Contemporary Ballet Company. She joined the faculty at Riverside Ballet Arts in 2014. She loves teaching the tremendous students here and having the opportunity to choreograph new works on them.
David Allan was born in Boston. He was formerly an Associate Professor and Director of Ballet at the University of California, Irvine. Mr. Allan was trained at the National Ballet School of Canada. He entered the National Ballet of Canada in 1974, where he was a Soloist from 1977-88, performing all over the world in ballets by Rudolf Nureyev, Erik Bruhn, George Balanchine, Sir Frederic Ashton, John Cranko, Roland Petit, Sir Kenneth MacMillian, Anthony Tudor, and many others. He has choreographed over fifty ballets since 1983, eight of which were commissioned by the late Erik Bruhn for the repertoire of the National Ballet of Canada. He has many works in the repertoire’s of such ballet companies as New York City Ballet, Ohkura Ballet of Tokyo, Italy’s Rome Opera House, Ballet British Columbia, Ballet Pacifica, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Nashville, and Hartford Ballets as well as for opera, film, musicals, and television. He is the recipient of the 1989 Jean A. Chalmers Choreographic Award in Canada and the 1997 Choo-San Goh Award. He was he Associate Artistic Director of the California Riverside Ballet from 1991-1996. Mr. Allan has been a Guest Teacher/Ballet Master for San Francisco Ballet, London Rambert Dance Co., Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Basel Ballet of Switzerland, National Ballet de Lorraine in France, among others.
Mr. Allan’s 15 years as a Choreographer, as well as being the first evening length ballet produced in the Dance Department’s history. Mr. Allan has begun directing an International Exchange program between the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris and the University of California, Irvine, Dance Department.
Mr. Allan choreographed a new solo in March of 2000 for American Ballet Theatre’s Ethan Stiefel, commissioned by William Gillespie; its world premiere was on March 12, 2000 at the Orange County Performing Arts Center accompanied by the Pacific Chorale and Pacific Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Alexander. Recently in March 21 of 2001, Mr. Allan premiered a new ballet Palladio for the Junior Ballet Classique of the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris. A Paris magazine – Danse, Danse, Danse, states: Palladio is a light and lively piece to the ‘Diamond Music’ by composer Karl Jenkins. The second section, an adage with ample and free movement, revealed, through a rigorous construction, focused dancers who perfectly mastered all the subtlety of the choreography in complete osmosis with the musical score.”
Damien Diaz is a native of Los Angeles California and started his first ballet lessons at the age of 14 in Miami, Fl with Thomas Armour and Rene Zintgraff. He was a scholarship student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, the Alabama School of Fine Arts, the Houston Ballet Academy and the School of American Ballet in New York City. At the age of 17, Damien danced his first full length “Swan Lake” as Prince Siegfried, the Cavalier to the Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker” and Romeo in “ Romeo and Juliet “ with Ballet South Company under the direction of Dame Sonia Arova. After Ballet South, Damien danced with the Zürich Ballet of Switzerland and the Leipzig ballet in Germany under the direction of European choreographic prodigy Uwe Scholz. As a principle dancer in Leipzig, Damien was the muse for many creations of Uwe Scholz, most notably the lead in “America” and Prince Desiré in the full length “Sleeping Beauty”. As a guest artist, Damien has danced principle roles for the Tokyo Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, the Warsaw Ballet, the Dallas Ballet,the Stuttgart Ballet and the world famous Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo touring major cities such as London, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Moscow. Damien was resident choreographer and ballet master of the California Riverside Ballet under the direction of Glenda Carhart. There he created works such as “Urban Evolution”, “Moon Dance” as well as the musical production of “The Silence is Broken” at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles. Damien currently freelances as a guest ballet artist and choreographer, dances for the Luminario Ballet of Los Angeles and teaches ballet and Pilates. Damien is thrilled and grateful to be a part of the BRAVA production of David Allan’s “ The Nutcracker “ this holiday season.
Darci Kistler was born in Riverside, California, the youngest of five children and the only girl. Always athletic, Ms. Kistler enjoyed many sports, including skiing, waterskiing, swimming, tennis, football, and dirt biking, before she began studying ballet at Riverside Ballet Arts. At the age of 12 she began studying with Irina Kosmouska in Los Angeles, and that same year she attended a summer session at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet. Two years later, she received a full scholarship to SAB.
Ms. Kistler participated in two SAB Workshops. In the first, in 1979, she danced a principal role in Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s HAYDN CONCERTO, choreographed especially for the Workshop, and danced the pas de deux by August Bournonville from the opera WILLIAM TELL, staged by Stanley Williams. In 1980, Ms. Kistler danced the principal role in George Balanchine’s one-act SWAN LAKE. She prepared for the role by studying extensively with Alexandra Danilova.
Ms. Kistler joined New York City Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in April 1980, was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1981, and became a Principal Dancer in 1982. She has danced leading roles in many Balanchine ballets.
Ms. Kistler has been seen on national television in PBS’s “Dance In America” series in both the “WILLIAM TELL pas de deux” from BOURNONVILLE DANCES and in SERENADE, and the pas de deux from SWAN LAKE on the “Kennedy Center Honors” program as part of a tribute to Alexandra Danilova. She was also seen in PBS’s “Dance In America” program of “The Balanchine Celebration.” Ms. Kistler starred as the Sugarplum Fairy in the 1993 film version of New York City Ballet’s production of GEORGE BALANCHINE’S THE NUTCRACKER™.
In addition to her performing career, Ms. Kistler has been a member of SAB’s faculty since 1994. During the Winter Term, she teaches Intermediate and Advanced Girls technique and variations classes. She is also a member of the Summer Course faculty.