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Our Story

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Carmel-by-the-Sea has long been a favored destination for husband-and-wife team Grant and Lillian Barbeito. Their fondness for the area’s breathtaking scenery and quaint familiarity grew over countless visits, and their stays became longer with fewer months between. Over the years, local acquaintances became beloved friends.

During their many visits, the Barbeitos began to wonder how they could best serve the Carmel community they had fallen in love with. When they inquired, the community’s response was a resounding request for dance — they had plenty of wine, abundant good food, fine art, music, golf, and theatre — but Carmel needed movement.

The Barbeitos founded Carmel Dance Festival in 2021, with a commitment to carrying on the legacy of the arts in Monterey County. The festival will unite its expertise in dance and production with a relentless love for the environment, and they aim to ensure the Carmel Dance Festival’s sustainability for many years to come. 

Husband & Wife Team

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Grant and Lillian first met in bustling New York City. She was a senior at The Juilliard School;  he was a graduate of School of Visual Arts, working at MTV. They shared a love of nature, both hailing from the southwest. 


The tragic events of  9/11 prompted a need for new scenery, and the pair moved to the opposite coast together to pursue dance and film in the City of Angels.  Lillian co-founded BODYTRAFFIC, a world-class dance company that toured the globe and served as Cultural Ambassadors of the United States. Grant made documentary films and worked on television shows and documentaries. Meanwhile, at home, the Barbeitos started a family.


 Now, after ten years in New York and twenty years in LA, Lillian and Grant are looking to slow down (a bit) and live a more peaceful lifestyle, where they can be connected to nature and surrounded by a cozier community. They are delighted to put down roots in Carmel and share their expertise in dance and film. 

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brings more than 35 years of dance experience as an artist, producer, director, and educator to her role as Founder and CEO of Carmel Dance Festival. During the course of her career, she has been a performer with contemporary dance companies, the co-founder of a world-renowned non-profit organization, and an internationally recognized, certified teacher of Countertechnique. 

Lillian grew up in the desert under the blues skies of Santa Fe, New Mexico where she trained with the Santa Fe Dance Foundation and worked with The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Southwest Ballet, and the Santa Fe Opera. She earned her BFA from The Juilliard School where she studied on a 4 year, full-tuition scholarship awarded by Tomorrow’s Leaders of America for her essay about the world dancing together in harmony.​

​Lillian had an extensive performance career that took her to Europe, New York, and then finally to Los Angeles, where she founded BODYTRAFFIC with Tina Berkett where she served as Co-Artistic Director and Director of Education for over 13 years. Under her Co-Direction, the company toured to sold-out audiences and international acclaim at theaters such as the Algiers Opera House, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Institute of Contemporary Arts in

Boston, Jacob's Pillow, New York City Center, The Broad Stage, The Hollywood Bowl, The Israeli Opera, The Joyce Theater, The Lensic in Santa Fe, ODC in San Francisco, Rothstein Theatre in Vancouver, The Wallis in Beverly Hills, Winspear Opera House in Dallas among countless other prestigious venues around the globe.


She has taught internationally for organizations such as CALARTS, Idyllwild Arts Academy, L'Artère, and L’ecole de Danse in Quebec City, Lyon Opera Ballet, Northwest Dance Project, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Southland Ballet Academy, The Wooden Floor, and UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. Barbeito is one of 36 teachers in the world who is certified to teach Anouk van Dijk’s groundbreaking Countertechnique. She has choreographed over 50 works for high schools, universities, competitions, regional ballet companies, and professional modern dance companies throughout the US and Canada.

She was a Senior Lecturer at Loyola Marymount University, where she taught various dance-related courses from 2010-2021.  Lillian is married to filmmaker and environmentalist Grant Barbeito. They relocated their two sons, Oliver who is 12, and Forest who is 8, two bearded dragons, and an Irish Doodle named Harvey to Carmel Valley in August of 2021.


Grant Barbeito is  the  CEO  of  Earth Protect TV, where he serves as director, producer and creative. His talents are in putting together world-class teams to accomplish big goals. Grant is currently the Creative Director and Founder of Earth Protect, a video-focused website and production company dedicated to “From Image to Action." He has a deep passion for sustainability and protecting the planet.

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