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Former ABT Soloist joins company on September 12, 2011

(WASHINGTON, DC)The Washington Ballet (TWB) announces the appointment of Elaine Kudo as Ballet Master and Monique Meunier as Ballet Master of The Washington Ballet Trainee Program. A former American Ballet Theatre soloist and world-renowned Twyla Tharp repetituer, Ms. Kudo officially joins the company on September 12. A former New York City Ballet principal dancer, Ms. Meunier will replace Carlos Valcárcel as Ballet Master of TWB’s highly acclaimed training program.

“These appointments are great moves for The Washington Ballet’s artistic force,” said TWB Artistic Director Septime Webre. “Both Elaine and Monique come with amazing sets of experiences, and are brilliant teachers, coaches and mentors.  Monique’s impact has already been great on our Company artists, and now our Trainees will also benefit from her expertise, and our whole institution is eager to get to work with Elaine in our studios.  It’s a wonderful moment for The Washington Ballet.”

“I am honored to join the artistic staff of The Washington Ballet,” said Ms. Kudo, “With my past history as Ballet Mistress for Septime at The American Repertory Ballet and in working with the company in the past, I know the tremendous artistry and talent of these dancers, and look forward to deepening my relationship with them in the coming seasons.”

“I am looking forward to working with The Washington Ballet Trainee Program,” said Ms. Meunier, “and becoming an integral part of the school as well as the Company.”

Ms. Kudo was born in Koizumi, Japan and began ballet training at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School. She went on to study at the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre School. Ms. Kudo joined ABT in 1975 and was appointed a Soloist in December 1981. Her repertory with ABT included the Aya in La Bayadère, the Sweetheart in Billy the Kid, A Masked Lady in Mikhail Baryshnikov’s production of the full-length Cinderella, the Bride in Les Noces, leading roles in Aires, Duets, Fancy FreeGreat Galloping GottschalkPush Comes to ShoveSinatra Suite, and Voluntaries, and featured roles in EstuaryInterludesN. Y. Export: Op. Jazz, and The Little Ballet. Since her retirement from ABT in 1989, Ms. Kudo has worked as Ballet Mistress for American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp, The Jersey Ballet Company and The American Repertory Ballet Co. Considered one of the leading repetituer’s for Twyla Tharp’s works, she regularly stages works throughout the United States and Europe.

Ms. Meunier was born in Hollywood, CA. At the age of 15, she received a full scholarship to attend the School of American Ballet, and one year later, was asked to join the New York City Ballet. In 1997, she was promoted to soloist and reached the rank of principal dancer in 1998. There she performed numerous roles by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and William Forsythe as well as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. In 2002, Ms. Meunier joined American Ballet Theatre where she added the classics and works by Anthony Tudor and Jiri Kylian to her repertoire. In 2007, she joined Complexions Contemporary Ballet under the direction of Dwight Rhoden. Ms. Meunier has staged George Balanchine ballets for the Balanchine Trust and served as rehearsal director for Karole Armitage in 2009. She has also ventured into choreography and has premiered four works in 2009-2010 for Lake Placid and The Columbia Collaborative.

Ms. Kudo and Ms. Meunier join The Washington Ballet’s Artistic team that includes Artistic Director Septime Webre and Associate Artistic Director David Palmer.


Originally founded as The Washington School of Ballet in 1944 by legendary ballet pioneer Mary Day and incorporated as a professional company in 1976, The Washington Ballet (TWB) is one of the pre-eminent ballet organizations in the United States.  TWB built an international reputation presenting bold works by choreographers from around the world, including Choo-San Goh, Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and Nacho Duato, as well as Neoclassical masterworks and fresh stagings of 19th century classics. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Septime Webre and Executive Director Peter M. Branch, TWB has embraced a three-part mission: ensuring excellence in its professional performance company; growing the next generation of dancers through its Washington School of Ballet; and serving the community in which it resides through robust community engagement programs.  For more information, visit the Washington Ballet’s website.

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