You don’t have to travel to San Francisco to see stars from the San Francisco Ballet perform in  The Nutcracker because Festival Ballet Theatre is proud to present not one, not two but three guest artists from the company. Vitor Luiz returns to the Irvine Barclay Theatre to dance with Festival Ballet dancer Tara Ghassemieh on December 15 (7pm). He will also perform with fellow SF Ballet dancers on December 16 with Frances Chung and December 17 with Maria Kochetkova.

Here is some information about our guest artists:


Vitor Luiz has danced major roles in Tomasson’s Giselle (Albrecht), Nutcracker (King of the Snow and Grand Pas de Deux Prince), Romeo & Juliet (Mercutio), and Swan Lake (Prince Siegfried); Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote (Basilio); Balanchine’s Coppélia (Franz); Cranko’s Onegin (Onegin); Scarlett’s Frankenstein (The Creature); Balanchine’s Prodigal Son (Son) and many more. He has guested with the English National Ballet and has performed at galas in the U.S. and Dominican Republic. Indeed, he has even performed at our Festival Ballet Gala of the Stars!

Vitor Luiz with Maria Kochetkova, Photo by Erik Tom


This year will be the first time ballerina Frances Chung will be a guest artist at a Festival Ballet show and we cannot be happier. Frances Chung’s major roles include Giselle and Myrtha in Tomasson’s Giselle; Sugar Plum Fairy and Grand Pas de Deux Ballerina in Tomasson’s Nutcracker; Enchanted Princess in Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty; Odette/Odile in Tomasson’s Swan Lake; Kitri in Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote among others.

In 2013, Frances received the Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance (Individual) and in 2000, she received the silver medal at the 2000 Adeline Genée Awards.


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A post shared by Frances Chung (@franadian) on


Fashionista ballerina Maria Kochetkova will join us once again onstage at the Irvine Barclay Theatre!  Kochetkova was born in Moscow and trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School for eight years before dancing with The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet in London. She joined the San Francisco Ballet as a Principal Dancer in 2007. Her classical repertoire includes the title role in Giselle, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin, the title role in Alice in Wonderland and Nikiya in The Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadère and many more.

You may remember her from her performance of the  Grand Pas de Deux in San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker which was broadcast by PBS in 2008. That performance  won  her the solo gold medal in the NBC series Superstars of Dance which was watched by over 10 million viewers. Or perhaps you remember her from her popular VISA TV commercial.

She has won numerous prizes and awards including the Isadora Duncan Award for the role of Giselle and medals at the International Ballet Competitions in Seoul (Gold, 2005), Rome (Gold, 2005), Riety (Gold, 2005), Luxembourg (Gold, 2003), Varna (Silver and the Press Jury Prize, 2002), Moscow (Bronze, 2001) and the Prix de Lausanne (2002).

Maria Kochetkova / Festival Ballet Theatre


Get your tickets to The Nutcracker Ballet here.

Tara Ghassemieh, Festival Ballet Theatre
Vitor Luiz, San Francisco Ballet
Friday, December 15 at 7pm

Frances Chung, San Francisco Ballet
Vitor Luiz, San Francisco Ballet
Saturday, December 16 at 2pm
Saturday, December 16 at 7pm

Maria Kochetkova, San Francisco Ballet
Vitor Luiz, San Francisco Ballet
Sunday, December 17 at 1pm
Sunday, December 17 at 6pm