Originally from St. Louis, Jennifer Welch Cudnik trained on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet; training under master teachers Stanley Williams, Hèléne Dudin, Elise Reiman, Antonina Tumkovsky, Suki Schorer, Kay Mazzo, and Suzy Pilarre, among others. Welch Cudnik danced professionally with Pennsylvania Ballet and Saint Louis Ballet for a decade. She had the honor of performing soloist and principal roles in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Serenade, Allegro Brillante, Who Cares? and Divertimento No. 15, as well as in classical ballets such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Coppélia, and the title role of Giselle.
A dance educator for twenty-five years, Welch Cudnik was most recently on faculty at Center of Creative Arts in St. Louis and has taught in universities, charter and public schools and directed and co-founded the nonprofit, Ballet Initiative. She is a commissioned choreographer, a career consultant for dancers, an adjudicator for dance and choreography competitions, and a curator for dance festivals and productions. She is certified with the American Ballet Theatre® National Training Curriculum through Level 5 and holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University. As an educator who teaches future generations of dance advocates, Jennifer passes on her love of dance with compassion and empathy, ensuring technique and artistry are instilled and achieved with pride and prowess. Welch Cudnik was appointed Principal of The Sarasota Ballet School in June 2023.