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Elaine Kudo was born in Koizumi, Japan and began her ballet training at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School. She then studied for six years at the School of American Ballet. She also studied,
on scholarship, at the American Ballet Theatre School. Prior to joining American Ballet Theatre in 1975, she danced with Dennis Wayne’s Dancers. Kudo was appointed a Soloist in December 1981. Her repertory with American Ballet Theatre 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 Airs, Duets, Fancy Free, Great Galloping Gottschalk, Push Comes to Shove, Sinatra Suite, and Voluntaries, and featured roles in Estuary, Interludes, N. Y. Export: Op. Jazz, and The Little Ballet.
In the summer of 1982, Kudo, along with other members of ABT, appeared in An Evening of Jerome Robbins’ Ballets in Spoleto, dancing in Fancy Free and N. Y. Export: Op. Jazz. During her tenure with American Ballet Theatre (1975-1989), Kudo worked extensively with all the major choreographers of that period. She also appeared with Tharp Dance Co. and Baryshnikov & Co., and was Baryshnikov’s partner in Sinatra Suite and Push Comes to Shove in the PBS Great Performances special Baryshnikov by Tharp
Since 1989, Kudo has worked as Ballet Mistress for American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp, The Jersey Ballet Company and The American Repertory Ballet Co. (from 1997-April 2003). She has regularly staged Tharp works throughout the United States and Europe since retiring from the stage. Kudo began staging her own choreography in 1997 and has been an annual contributor to The American Repertory Ballet’s Dancing Through the Ceiling program designed to showcase the works of female choreographers. She has taught class for the dancers of the International Ballet Competition, open classes at American Ballet Theatre and has been on the faculty of the ABT Summer Intensive Program from 1998-2003.
As a teacher and co-director of Theatre Arts Dance America located in Verona, New Jersey,
she teaches intermediate and advanced level classes, and works with students of all levels on school and company (Theatre Dance America) productions. She has choreographed numerous pieces for her students at T.A.D.A. and ABT Summer Intensive. Kudo is continually adding to her choreographic repertory and has had her work performed by three different ballet companies.