A Tribute to
Lorilee Silvaggio

Founder: Lorilee Silvaggio

Lorilee Moser Silvaggio was the owner, founder, and director of the Academy of Dance, and the Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo. She had, and will always have, an energy that is unmatched. Larger than life, and utterly unbound. The kind of teacher that sticks to your bones, forever.

Some of her history:

Lori founded the Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo in 1978. The company is still flabbergasting audiences over 40 years later. The company, now run by Andrew Silvaggio, her beloved son, continues to delve into arenas, both classical and contemporary, igniting both audiences, and participants alike.

In 1997, Lori took eighteen of her finest dancers to represent the United States at the International Festival de Danza in Bareclona, Spain. Her choreography was displayed in a touring festival featuring performers from all over the world. In 1999, twenty-eight selected dancers traveled to the People’s Republic of China, and by decree of the Ambassador of Culture, danced a four-city tour, beginning in Beijing and culminating in Shanghai. NBC affiliate anchor Tony Cipolla accompanied the troupe. His documentary entitled “In Step With China” garnered an Emmy nomination in January of 2000.

In year 2000, Lori’s dancers, by invitation of the Cuban government, performed in Havana, Cuba at the Hotel National, and at the Teatro National in Revolution Square. History was made, recorded by NBC affiliate KSBY News and CNN International, as these dance events marked the first time since 1957 that an American troupe of entertainers performed in Cuba. This is now a part of the legacy of American dance.

In 1994, Governor Pete Wilson recognized Lori as California’s Representative of Dance Excellence. Lori was also awarded “Most Inspirational Teacher of 2000” by Carrie Burbank, President of Dance in Action, a national organization dedicated to providing professional dance education for aspiring leaders in the industry.


Lori held a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies, a graduate degree in Behavioral Sciences, a lifetime California Secondary Teaching Credential, and a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology (complete in 2005).

A mother, a wife, a creative, a therapist, a friend, a teacher, and an explorer not only of the world, but of her own consciousness, Lorilee did it all full out. Always, all ways. To anyone she encountered, and those she never met, she would like to remind us all, “Hey, this is paradise. Make sure you have your dancin’ shoes.” Let’s keep dancing San Luis Obispo, let’s keep dancing.

Lorilee Moser Silvaggio 1948 – 2020

In Memoriam

Lorilee Moser Silvaggio left her body on November 27th, 2020. In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation to the nonprofit she began over 40 years ago, The Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo.

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3422 Miguelito Court
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401