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Melissa Gelfin

Principal Dancer | Philadelphia, PA | Joined Cincinnati Ballet in 2014

Melissa Gelfin began her ballet training with Lisa Collins Vidnovic at Metropolitan Ballet Academy and continued with Barbara Sandonato and Andrea Long-Naidu at Barbara Sandonato School of Ballet. She joined the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre in 2009 and was awarded a National Training Scholarship with ABT. Prior to dancing with Cincinnati Ballet, Ms. Gelfin danced for Orlando Ballet II and Orlando Ballet Company from 2011-2014 and was a finalist in the 2014 Jackson International Ballet Competition. Gelfin joined Cincinnati Ballet as a New Dancer for the 2014-2015 Season and was promoted to Corps De Ballet in February of 2015. She was promoted to Senior Soloist in 2017 and Principal Dancer in 2018. As a dancer with Cincinnati Ballet, Gelfin’s repertoire includes classical and contemporary works by Septime Webre, Yuri Possikov, Victoria Morgan, Val Caniparoli, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Nicolo Fonte, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Adam Hougland, and Ma Cong. She has danced Principal roles in Septime Webre’s Alice in Wonderland, Victoria Morgan’s The Nutcracker, King Arthur’s Camelot and Romeo and Juliet, Kirk Peterson’s Coppélia, George Balanchine’s Rubies and Serenade, Devon Carney’s The Sleeping Beauty and originated roles in Penny Saunders Nannerl, Myles Thatcher’s Anamoly, and several works by Jennifer Archibald. Ms. Gelfin most recently choreographed and performed a solo work in the inaugural 2018 Female Choreographic Initiative Festival hosted by Houston Ballet and performs during the summer months as a dancer in Moving Arts Company.

Sponsor: Bernie & Mary Kay Calonge and Kelly & Tim Brown & Family

Touchet will never forget her 19th birthday. That was the day Victoria Morgan came to Pacific Northwest Ballet, to audition Touchet’s professional division. “Directors from everywhere auditioned us, but nobody ever picked me,” she says. “I remember thinking she wouldn’t like me anyway, so I told myself to just have fun, and after it was over, she said, ‘I’d like to talk to Janessa’.” Crossed wires with communicating Touchet’s acceptance of Morgan’s apprenticeship offer led to a planned spot with Memphis Ballet, but Morgan called one last time and Touchet was able to come to Cincinnati Ballet instead. “It was meant to be here. I started as an Apprentice and moved all the way through the ranks. I had always had my heart and mind set on Cincinnati Ballet.”

Favorite Roles

  • Juliet in Romeo & Juliet
  • Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty
  • Russian Girl in Serenade
  • Pas de Deux girl in Fancy Free

Competitions & Awards

  • National Training Scholarship American Ballet Theatre JKO School 2009 and 2010
  • Finalist Jackson International Ballet Competition 2014

Photography: Peter Mueller

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