Jennifer Welch Cudnik
A native of St. Louis and an educator for twenty years, Jennifer Welch Cudnik holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Hollins University. She teaches at Webster University and Washington University St. Louis, is a faculty member and rehearsal director at COCA, as well as the director and co-founder of the nonprofit, Ballet Initiative. Jennifer is an ABT Certified Teacher who has taught ballet at Grand Center Arts Academy, Saint Louis Ballet School, Montana Ballet, Yellowstone Ballet, Hollins University, the Open Doors Dance Festival, the Teeter Workshop and Louisville Ballet School. Jennifer is a commissioned choreographer and a career consultant for aspiring professional ballet dancers. She has adjudicated dance and choreography competitions such as the Ohio Dance Festival. She is a grant recipient of Career Transition for Dancers as well as a fellowship recipient of Hollins University.]
Jennifer trained locally with Berkley Evans, Nathalie Levine and Alexandra Zaharias as well as Kansas City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. At age 15, Jennifer moved to New York City to study on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet. While at SAB, she performed in ballets by George Balanchine and August Bournonville, and originated roles in works by Christopher Wheeldon and Damian Woetzel. Upon graduation, Jennifer became a professional ballerina for a decade as a member of the Pennsylvania Ballet and as a principal with Saint Louis Ballet. She performed leading roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Allegro Brillante, Valse Fantaisie, Divertimento No. 15, and Who Cares?, in works by Dennis Nahat, Francis Patrelle, Gen Horiuchi and in The Nutcracker, the title role in Giselle, and as Aurora in the Sleeping Beauty. Jennifer has been a guest artist with Stamford City Ballet, Montana Ballet and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Her dance studies have also taken her to Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany.