Ilona McHugh grew up in Southern California. She attended a small ballet school and spent summers at national training institutions. Ilona moved to Marin Dance Theatre from where she joined American Ballet Theatre in 1997. She continued to study while dancing with the company, receiving coaching from Charla Genn, David Howard, and Susan Jaffe. Some of her memorable roles with ABT include “Big Swans” in Swan Lake and “Olga” in Kenneth MacMillan’s Anastasia, dancing hand-in-hand with such ballet greats as Viviana Durante and Alessandra Ferri. Ms. McHugh enjoyed working with Paul Taylor and Mark Morris as a member of the original casts of Black Tuesday and Gong.
Since retiring, Ilona has earned a Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley. She was Artistic Director of Berkeley Ballet Theater for six years during which her coaching lead to an invitation for the BBT Youth Company to perform with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra in 2013 and in 2010, NY Times Dance Critic, Alastair Macaulay featured BBT in his Nutcracker Chronicles. Ms. McHugh is a certified teacher with the ABT National Training Curriculum and very much enjoys being a part of the San Francisco Ballet faculty.