California native Evelyn Cisneros-Legate began studying ballet at the age of eight and as a teen received full summer scholarships to San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet. Upon completing her high school education early, she began her apprenticeship with San Francisco Ballet in 1976.
In 1977 she joined San Francisco Ballet and soon began dancing principal roles. Cisneros-Legate was one of the most prominent American ballerinas, performing leading roles in a diverse repertoire such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, La Sylphide, La Fille Mal Gardeé, The Tempest and Cinderella as well as works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Jiri Kylian. Numerous resident and visiting choreographers created works for her including Michael Smuin, Helgi Tomasson, Val Caniparoli, James Kudelka, Stanton Welch and Mark Morris. She toured the world performing with the Company and as a guest artist.
Cisneros-Legate has been featured on the covers of Dance Magazine, Ballet News and Hispanic Magazine, and received numerous awards for her community activism and artistic achievements, particularly in the Bay Area Hispanic community. Cisneros-Legate co-authored Ballet for Dummies and holds honorary doctorate degrees from Mills College and the California State University Monterey Bay.
Following retirement in 1999, Cisneros-Legate became an artistic consultant with San Francisco Ballet, and was appointed Ballet Education Coordinator for San Francisco Ballet Center for Dance Education. She has staged the ballets of Val Caniparoli and Michael Smuin for many companies throughout the world. In 2005, Cisneros-Legate served as Academy Director for Ballet Pacifica in Irvine California, and as Ballet Pacifica’s Company Artistic Director presenting 21 performances of The Nutcracker at the University of California’s Barclay Theater. Cisneros-Legate moved to Marblehead, MA with her husband, Stephen Legate D.C., and their children to join Boston Ballet School as the North Shore Studio Principal in 2010.