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Jennifer Gelfand retires

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Press release from the company plus a statement (from the company) issued by Ms. Gelfand:

Boston Ballet Announces Principal Dancer Jennifer Gelfand's Farewell Performance

(BOSTON)- Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen has announced that Principal dancer Jennifer Gelfand will retire this Fall after a career spanning nearly two decades. Ms. Gelfand will give her farewell performances during Boston Ballet's 40th Anniversary Season opening production, Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote.

"Jennifer's dance career has been a phenomenal one. Her talent and grace have enraptured audiences for many years. She has been a very special part of our Company. Boston Ballet is proud of her many achievements throughout her career, which was propelled when she stepped into the role of Kitri for injured Principal dancer Laura Young in 1989. It is fitting that Jennifer end her outstanding career dancing this role," said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen.

She began her formal dance training at Boston Ballet School at the age of six. Her early teachers included E. Virginia Williams, Shanna Bereska, Bruce Wells, and Marie Paquet. Ms. Gelfand performed numerous children's roles with Boston Ballet, including Clara in The Nutcracker. Ms. Gelfand made her professional debut with the Eglevsky Ballet in 1985 dancing the role of the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker. In June of 1986, at the age of 14, she was awarded a Gold Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Among the pieces she danced at the Competition were the pas de deux from La Fille mal gardée, Don Quixote, and Roland Petit's Notre Dame de Paris. She joined Boston Ballet in 1989 as a Soloist, and was promoted to Principal dancer in 1990.

Ms. Gelfand has distinguished herself in roles in both the classical and contemporary repertoires. Her principal roles have included Juliet in Choo San Goh's and Daniel Pelzig's Romeo and Juliet, Irma in the Bournonville's Abdallah, the Ballerina in Harald Landers' Etudes, the title roles in Giselle, Coppelia, Ben Stevenson's Cinderella and Cleopatra, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Princess Aurora in Anna-Marie Holmes' The Sleeping Beauty, Olga in John Cranko's Onegin, Mercedes in Carmen, Gulnare in Le Corsaire, the Snow Queen, Dew Drop Fairy, and Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, a stepsister in Michael Corder's Cinderella, Kate in The Taming of The Shrew, Flora in Dracula, Gamzatti and Nikiya in La Bayadère, and Irina in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Winter Dreams. Gelfand's accomplishments have been noted in Dance Magazine, Boston Magazine, People, The New York Times, and U.S. News and World Report. In 1989, she was named a Presidential Scholar and received a Presidential Medal at the White House. Gelfand received her real estate license in 1999 and will pursue her real estate career with Gibson Domain Domain in Boston's South End.

ROMEO AND JULIET, May 8-18, 2003

Jennifer Gelfand will dance the role of Juliet on Wednesday, May 14, at 7p.m., and Saturday, May 17, at 8p.m. at The Wang Theatre, Boston *casting subject to change*

* * * [statement by Jennifer Gelfand]

Beginning in 1978, I spent most of my pre-professional life and essentially my entire professional career at Boston Ballet. I have worked with every artistic director in its history. For me it has been both an honor and a privilege to grow and develop as an artist with this company. I care deeply about its history, I have witnessed and been a part of its amazing growth. My wish for the future success of the company is genuine and heartfelt.

My love of dance has always had two components. There is my sheer love of the moment and artistry, but also the desire to connect with the audience. As important as each performance is to me, it is equally important to me that the audience leaves feeling that I have given them 100%. I wanted them to come back eager to see more. Boston Ballet audiences have given me, and this company incredible support over the years. This has been a source of tremendous pride and also of personal responsibility.

My love of dance and this company remain strong. I know that technically and artistically I can still bring an audience to its feet. For me it has been a passion, a love, and a wonderful part of my life.

It is with deep sadness that I am announcing my retirement from Boston Ballet. I am looking forward to performing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the conclusion of the season. Juliet was my first role as a company member. Then, I think fittingly, will look forward to my final performances at the start of Boston Ballet's 40th Anniversary Season. I will take my final bow where I entered- Don Quixote.

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