The Willis Ballet
Kleiman, a graduate of Texas Christian University with a BFA in Ballet,
has performed professionally with Cobb-Marietta Ballet in Marietta,
Georgia, the Texas Tech Ballet and the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy. She has
performed in the USA with the Fort Worth Ballet, and also in Europe with
the Cobb-Marietta Ballet. She has appeared on Regional Television in
dance programs with the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy where she also Director of
the School. She also starred, with Sergui Stefanschi, in the role of
Leiselle, in the full length ballet Dracula: the ballet which
played nationwide on PBS in 1982.
Sheila Willis Kleiman, grew up in Panama City Beach, Florida, graduating in 1968 from Bay County High School. She was a Semi-Finalist in the Sweetheart of the Beach Contest in in 1966. In 1967, she was awarded Second Runner-up in the Miss Panama City Beauty Pageant. She also won First Place in the Talent competition. During that pageant, she performed Espana, an original ballet solo, choreographed for her, by her sister Peggy Willis-Aarnio. This event began the dance collaboration direction for the Willis sisters.
entered Texas Christian University in 1968, and earned her Bachelor of
Fine Arts, with a major in Ballet with a minor in Theatre in 1972.
During her enrollment at TCU, she was awarded the prestigious Norden
Foundation Scholarship from the Music Department, (the same department
which awards the Van Cliburn Piano Competition at TCU). Sheila was a
soloist with the Fort Worth Ballet, and the TCU Ballet Division.
While earning her BFA degree, she studied with Victor Morneo, Fernando
Schaffenburg, Maggi Moar and Jerry Bywaters Cochran. She performed
in featured roles of Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, The
Nutcracker, and on other performing productions with various
professionals such as Violette Verdy, Edward Villella (New York City
Ballet) and with such noted artists as Beverly Sills in Faust.
Other productions included Romanza, various operas, many university events
and tours, and many original ballets such as Fantastical, A Classical
Fantasy, choreographed by her sister.
Upon graduation, Sheila relocated to Georgia and joined the Cobb-Marietta Ballet (now known as the Georgia Ballet) as soloist. She was assistant director from 1973 until 1978. During that time she directed more than 50 recitals, choreographed more than 60 dances, and performed in more than 200 performances for the Cobb County schools, featuring excerpts from all the ballet classics for the school in the arts. In 1974, Sheila performed as a soloist in Coppelia, choreogaphed by Michael Fokine, Graduation Ball, staged by Igor Schwetzoff and was a Principal in Swan Lake, staged by Sergui Stefanschi. In 1977, as Assistant Director and soloist, she was a performing member of the Italia a Musica de'Arti Tour of Italy, where she danced in over 20 cities throughout the Abruzzi Region of Italy, for this cultural exchange program.
Upon her return from Europe, Sheila relocated to Tallahassee, Florida, where she worked with the Tallahassee Civic Ballet, as assistant director, staging Graduation Ball as well as performing various solo roles such as Myrtha in Giselle. At this time, she was a guest artist and a master teacher for various ballet companies in both the Southeast and the Southwest Regions of the United States.
In 1979 until 1985, Sheila joined the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy as a soloist, choreographer, and became the Director of the Alloy's Training School. At this time, she also worked as a professional in Modern Dance and performed in more than 50 productions, touring in the eastern United States and Canada. She continued to perform on various modern programs and with various ballet companies. She was a guest artist with the Texas Tech University Ballet; PBS aired the production of Dracula: the ballet, in which she held a lead role with Sergui Stefanschi, of the National Ballet of Canada. She performed avant guard modern pieces working with noted choreographers as Ed Henry, Gael Stephanic, J Michael Kane, Jerry and Sara Pearson, while collaborating with "new music" composers such as David Stock, in Pittsburgh.
A former ballet artist and talented performer, Sheila is also a prolific choreographer with numerous original works to her credit nationwide and presently serves as Vice President and Choreographer for the Willis Ballet in Panama City Beach, Florida. In addition to her dance skills and talents, she is also a gifted artist who is multi-talented in graphics and design. Today, Sheila resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Maury and their son Jeremy. Sheila greatly enjoys her role with the Willis Ballet, and continues to create new works for their repertoire. Recently, she has created two new original modern ballets, Rainbow and Mosaic using unique musical selections for these contemporary works. Sheila is active in artistic organizations and holds a board position with IIDA Northern California Chapter for Philanthropy in the Bay Area. Sheila and her husband, Dr. Maury Kleiman have one teenage son. Living in the San Francisco Bay area, her family enjoys the outdoors, downhill skiiing, and traveling.
Mosaic, Original Work for the Willis Ballet Rainbow, Original Work for the Willis Ballet
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