PITTSBURG -- Sharon Sobel Idul continues to put her best foot forward in bringing the beauty and passion of ballet to her hometown.

The Pittsburg native and resident recently moved her Delta Ballet Academy from its longtime location in Antioch to Pittsburg's Old Town.

"It feels right," Idul said of the academy's new digs at 329 Railroad Ave.

"It's very inspiring to get in, teaching and choreographing. I'm excited to see the kids come through the doors and really experience my love for dancing and bringing the arts downtown."

In 2009, after other ballet touring companies stopped staging their productions of "The Nutcracker" in the old Creative Arts Building in Pittsburg, Idul and Black Diamond co-founder Michael Lowe kept the classic Christmas tradition alive by bringing a local production of the show to Pittsburg.

The Black Diamond production of "The Nutcracker" returned to Pittsburg in 2012 after renovation work on the Creative Arts Building was completed.

"It's a beautiful production and we are fortunate to have such a great venue," Idul said.

Right now, the academy offers professional instruction in various dance forms for children at least 3½ years old and adults. But the academy also plans to offer voice and music lessons by the end of the year. To reflect the new offerings, the academy will change its name to Pittsburg Performing Arts Academy.

"It's kind of a homecoming of sorts and a fresh start," Idul said. "We are not only going to offer dance lessons, but we are going to branch out into music."


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Idul, 30, was first enchanted by ballet as a 2-year-old after her mother took her to see a production of "The Nutcracker" at the old Creative Arts Building. She pestered her mom for lessons and a year later Idul was taking them through a city recreation program at Hillview Junior High.

Idul continued her ballet studies under Helga Ishikata, former owner of the Delta Ballet Academy, which opened in Antioch in 1989.

After graduating from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in dance in 2007, Idul purchased the academy from Ishikata that same year.

"Dancing is definitely ingrained in me. It is my passion and I am very fortunate to make it my career," she said.

The new site for the academy is leased from the nonprofit Pacific Community Services Inc., where ongoing work to restore a theater organ that once accompanied silent movies at the now-refurbished California Theatre is taking place, along with occasional art shows.

"I think it's a wonderful match because we have always done art and cultural things in the back," said Tom LaFleur, executive director of Pacific Community Service Inc.

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