B A L L E T
THEATER COMPANY OF NEW JERSEY
Copyright 2013. Rosemary Gorman. All Rights Reserved.
Jenna Galezniak has been practicing ballet for seventeen years. She began her training in the South Jersey area when she was four years old, and by twelve years of age she began her training at the Academy of Ballet NJ under the direction of David Gallagher. After graduating from the Academy of Ballet NJ in 2011, Jenna attended Rowan University to study Health and Exercise Science in hopes to pursue a doctorate degree in Physical Therapy. Jenna is currently a senior at Rowan University and will be graduating with her bachelor's degree in Health and Exercise Science in May 2015.
Ms. Yudenich performed with Pennsylvania Ballet in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew before becoming the first member of Pennsylvania Ballet II, the Joyce and Herbert Kean Trainee program. As a member of Pennsylvania Ballet II for two seasons, she performed in lecture demonstrations throughout the region, as well as in the Company’s full- length productions. She became an Apprentice in September 2003 and was promoted to the Corps de Ballet in September 2005 and to Soloist in 2007.
Ms. Yudenich has performed in many classical and contemporary ballets including Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake and Polyphonia, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and Push Comes to Shove, Matthew Neenan’s Carmina Burana, Jiří Kylián’s Forgotten Land (Black Couple), William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite (Pas de Deux 1), and many pieces from the Balanchine repertoire, including Who Cares?, The Four Temperaments (Choleric), and Agon (First Pas de Trois). Her lead roles include Myrta in Giselle, Lilac Fairy and Diamond in The Sleeping Beauty, Titania and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Sugarplum Fairy and Dewdrop in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. She also created a role in the world premiere of Jorma Elo’s Pulcinella.
Ms. Yudenich is a true product of Pennsylvania Ballet history. Her mother, Barbara Sandonato, was a star member of Pennsylvania Ballet throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, and her father, the late Alexei Yudenich, was also a leading member of the Company during that time. Her husband is former Company Member Thomas Baltrushunas. They welcomed their first son in February 2012. She retired from the stage in the Fall of 2013, culminating a 13 year career with the company.
A native of southern New Jersey, Gabriella Yudenich began her dance
training at age seven at The Rock School for Dance Education. She also
trained under the guidance of her mother, Barbara Sandonato, who was
the first dancer hired to be a member of Pennsylvania Ballet in 1963. Ms.
Yudenich attended The School of American Ballet under full scholarship
for two years. She also completed summer sessions at Central
Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, The School of American Ballet, and American
Ballet Theatre and performed with Dances Patrelle in New York City,
dancing soloist roles in the Yorkville Nutcracker.
David Gallagher, Director
In addition to teaching , David Gallagher has served as Artistic Director/Resident Choreographer of Ballet NJ since 1987. A native of California, Mr. Gallagher had his initial training with Valerie Huston and Tamara Usher. He first came to the east coast in 1976 to study with the Pennsylvania Ballet and teachers Lupe Serrano, Benjamin Harkarvey, Robert Rodham and Barbara Weisberger. His dance training was further augmented by studies with David Howard, Stanley Holden and Finis Jhung in New York. After a professinal dance career performing with the Santa Barbara Ballet, with Valerie Huston Dance Theatre and the San Dieg Ballet, Mr. Gallagher served as Ballet Master for the Santa Barbara Ballet. Moving back to the east coast in 1982, he joined the teaching staff for New Jersey Ballet. In 1984 he accepted a full-time faculty position at the school of the Pennsylvania Ballet, serving through August 1990. In addition to his teaching duties, Mr. Gallagher served as the Outreach Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Ballet. In January 1991, he became the director of the Academy of Ballet. In 2012, David completed certification as an American Ballet Theatre Primary Level Teacher.