A longtime dancer and instructor, Sharon Hess took over as Artistic Director of Contessi Ballet in December 2018.
Marcella Contessi-Smith provides her students with the opportunity to study classical ballet. At the age of seventeen, she became a soloist with the ballet company of the Opera House Communale in Florence, Italy. She danced opera and classical repertoire and innovative ballet under the direction of Kyra Nijinsky, daughter of Vaslav Nijinsky.
She danced at the Theatre Liroco of Milano and Qurino of Rome and internationally for 26 years. She was chosen to dance for the President of Mexico, Miguel Allemand, while with these companies.
Over 40 years ago, Mrs. Smith came to Petaluma and opened her own ballet studio. She has taught and choreographed many large productions including Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, The Magic Flute, Peter Pan, and The Nutcracker.
Mrs. Smith continues to teach classes and oversee productions. In December, she directed her fortieth Nutcracker performance.