Cynthia Pepper - Biography
Cynthia Pepper was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1961. As a child, she toured with Virginia Tanner’s internationally recognized Children’s Dance Theatre for 15 years performing throughout the United States, including The White House Conference on Children (for President Richard Nixon) in 1970 and The Kennedy Center for visiting international dignitaries.
Cynthia worked as a magician’s assistant for both Robert C. Pritikin of The Mansion Hotel in San Francisco and with Dan Summers at The Magic Castle in Los Angeles.
Cynthia graduated from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) receiving her BFA in dance and a Master’s Degree from San Francisco State University from the Inter-Arts Program.
Her performance career highlights include the Olympic Arts Festival with the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company, The Utah Opera Company, Donald Byrd Dance Company and Loretta Livingston and Dancers.
Cynthia created FOOTAGE Dance Film Festival that thrived from 1997 to 2011. FOOTAGE was the first dance film festival in the West Coast showcasing international dance films touring to Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Rafael, Salt Lake City, Utah and Berkeley, California. Cynthia teaches both dance and filmmaking as a guest teaching artist at San Francisco State University, UCLA, Cyprus College, Mills College, CalArts, Cal Berkeley Dance Department, California Film Institute, Marin Ballet, San Francisco Acting Academy, The Book Passage, and most recently a day-long workshop for the Stanford University S.T.E.P. graduate education department. Sent by San Francisco Ballet DISC Program, Cynthia and her teaching colleague shared with the students techniques on how to bring dance and movement into their teaching programs.
While teaching at Marin Ballet (16 years) and Marin Dance Theatre for (7 years), Cynthia created 2 dance outreach programs that are still thriving called Let’s All Dance! and Project D. is for Dance. Both nationally recognized outreach programs were funded by the NEA, The Marin Community Foundation, and over 30 private foundations.
Her award-winning short film collection entitled: Films That Dance™ is sold worldwide through Ameba TV, Google and Amazon. It has been a feature at numerous film festivals and has been purchased by many university libraries including the Museum of Modern Art Film Archives in New York. Since the summer of 2000, Cynthia has choreographed 13 Equity productions for The Marin Shakespeare Company and a ballet for Lawrence Pech Dance Company performed at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Cynthia is a founding partner in Xanadu Entertainment, Inc. a dance film production company currently creating dance films for PBS, commercial television, independent commercials and films, Chabot Science and Space Lab, Sesame Street™ and all innovative collaborators that come their way. Xanadu produces yearly children’s events for the California Film Institute and The Mill Valley Film Festival. Cynthia is in partnership with Melinda Darlington-Bach and they teach a 2x-yearly course for teens in the Young Critics SUMMERFILM series. Recently, “The Big Picture” directed by James Redford, one of their casting and producing projects, was purchased by HBO, after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival and has screened at over 150 venues worldwide.
Cynthia served as the interim (DISC) Dance In The Schools Supervisor at San Francisco Ballet for the 2014-2015 school year. Her position included supervising and training 5 Dance Teaching Artists (DTA’s), managing 4 musicians and creating all correspondence with 36 schools and for the Education Director. Cynthia also taught between 6-12 classes weekly and was the substitute for the award-winning international program. The San Francisco Ballet DISC (Dance In The Schools and Community) program brings free dance, music and performances to over 3500 2-5th grade children of the San Francisco Unified School District.
Cynthia is currently a dance teaching artist with San Francisco Ballet Dance In The Schools Program.
Name: Cynthia Z. Pepper
Lives in: San Rafael, California
Occupation: Choreographer and Director
California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA)
San Francisco State University (San Francisco, CA)