Sherene Melania

Artistic Director and Executive Director

“Not since Isadora Duncan was born in downtown San Francisco has our city seen a social activist, such as Sherene Melania, who can also take dance to a whole new level.”

–Marina Times, San Francisco

Sherene Melania, Artistic Director of Presidio Dance Theatre, is an accomplished performing artist, choreographer and arts educator. She specializes in youth development and cultural diplomacy through dance. Sherene serves on the San Francisco Arts Commission, representing the fields of dance and arts education.

Sherene holds a Master of Arts in Education from Harvard University. She earned a Certificate of Ballet Direction Specialty and Choreography from the Saint Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia, and a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in Performing Arts and Social Justice from the University of San Francisco, where she received the Dean’s Medal for Excellence in the Arts.

Sherene has performed and choreographed for dance companies at home and in Europe. She has been commissioned to present pieces for the United Nations, European Parliament, the International Red Cross and PBS. Her work has been recognized by the press nationally in Dance Magazine and Dance Teacher, and internationally broadcast. 

Having excelled in artistic creation and innovative forms of cultural preservation, Sherene received a “Certificate of Honor” in recognition of outstanding achievements in the arts from the City and County of San Francisco, and a “Proclamation of Honor” from Stanislaus County for her Assyrian cultural preservation and humanitarian work. She is fluent in English, French and Russian.

Judy Bretschneider

Founder and CEO, Emeritus

“There’s nothing like lifting hearts and spurring imaginations!”

Our much-loved executive director and founder Judy George Bretschneider died May 19, 2018, after a valiant battle against cancer.

Miss Judy, as her dancers called her, was a native San Franciscan who founded the Presidio Performing Arts Foundation in 1998. She also was the executive director of the Assyrian Arts Institute and had a long history of activism in the Bay Area. She sat on the Board of Governors of the National Association of Non-Profit Organizations and Executives, was a certified Non-Profit Consultant, Development and Program Planner, and earned numerous awards for her efforts towards Assyrian cultural preservation. She also received Mayoral awards for her sustained commitment to youth development through the arts.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Judy was a member of the California Heritage Council, held board and committee positions with the Peninsula French-American School, Castilleja School, Town School, San Francisco Ballet Auxiliary, Children As Peacemakers and the Bay Area Parents Coalition. She was the first student to receive the City of San Francisco’s Human Relations Award in 1969 for outstanding achievement in the field of human relations, as the creator of International Nations Day — an event celebrating ethnic groups within San Francisco.  In recognition of her service, Judy received the 2006 Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service, considered the Nobel Prize for Community Service.

Judy held a Master’s Degrees in Developmental Psychology from San Francisco State University, and studied piano and music technique at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, earning a Minor in Music. While at Stanford, her groundbreaking work in the field of seniors’ sexuality and behavior earned her numerous national and international speaking engagements. Her work was published in numerous publications, including Psychology Today.

PDT established the Judy Bretschneider Legacy Fund in Judy's honor. If you would like to contributing to the Presidio Performing Arts Foundation please visit the donate page or eamil info@presidiodance.org, (415) 561-3958. 

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If you want more information about Presidio Dance Theatre or you want to join the Company, please don’t hesitate to reach out with the buttons below or call us

(415) 561-3958