The Herbert Kean, M.D. Soloist
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.
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.