Jennifer Welch Cudnik
A native of St. Louis and an educator for twenty years, Jennifer holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Hollins University. She is a COCA faculty member and Ballet Eclectica rehearsal director, a faculty member at Webster University as well as the director and co-founder of the nonprofit, Ballet Initiative. Jennifer is an ABT Certified Teacher who has taught ballet at Washington University St. Louis, Saint Louis Ballet School, Grand Center Arts Academy as well as at Montana Ballet, Yellowstone Ballet, Hollins University, and the Open Doors Dance Festival. Jennifer is a commissioned choreographer and a career consultant for aspiring professional ballet dancers. She is a grant recipient of Career Transition for Dancers as well as a fellowship recipient of Hollins University.
At age 15, Jennifer moved to New York City to study on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet. While at the School, 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.