About Us
About Us

About Us

Presidio Performing Arts Foundation’s mission is to create cultural change, global dialogue and human connection through the artistry of dance.

PPAF preserves, enhances and presents dance, music and theatre traditions in their historical context, increasing public knowledge and appreciation of peoples and art forms throughout the world. 

The Presidio Performing Arts Foundation was founded in 1997 by Judy Bretschneider, Robert C. Leefeldt, Nancy Johnson, and Jeanne Shimmon. Led by Judy Bretschneider’s vision of providing quality arts education programs to underserved Bay Area youths, PPAF formed a partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District, and DANCEOUT! was born. DANCEOUT! began offering free, on site, after-school dance classes in collaboration with SFUSD. PPAF developed a reputation, through a multitude of public performances, as SF’s “youngest cultural ambassadors”. 

In 2005, led by Artistic Director, Sherene Melania, PPAF launched Presidio Dance Theatre, the foundation's premiere performance company and school. Our outreach work remains the heart of our mission as we expand the scope of our programs to create original works with the Bay Area dance community and beyond.


Our greatest impact is to facilitate, through the language of dance, the development of empathy, tolerance, and appreciation for the myriad of international communities residing in the Bay Area and beyond. We provide scholarships to underserved students and offer free public performances, lectures, and community classes for SF Bay Area residents and visitors. 


Our pre-professional Youth Company is an elite program for youth who want to explore dance and individual self-expression in a nurturing environment. PDT provides extensive performance opportunities grounded in cultural education and connection. Our main objective is to provide high-quality training with an emphasis on cultural diversity, training the next generation of global citizens. We offer year-round classes in addition to specialty master classes, dance intensives, and summer camps.


PDT is widely recognized for its signature style of Ethno-Classical Ballet. Our adult company develops and presents original productions for the stage. Our repertoire of full- length original productions includes Beyond the Land of SweetsTM ; The Little Lantern® Ballet; and Dancing Across CulturesTM. We also present commissioned new work in collaboration with various national and international organizations. Company artists represent over 12 different nationalities; each individual shares his or her culture, adding to our collective wisdom.


PDT sees dance as the most fundamental vehicle for promoting compassion, understanding, and equity. We have been commissioned to choreograph and perform for a panoply of humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations, International Red Cross, UNESCO, Assyrian Aid Society, UCSF’s Brain Cancer Research Center, and Make- A-Wish Foundation.

Contact Us Today

For more information about Presidio Performing Arts Foundation or Presidio Dance Theatre, please be in touch.