Yumelia Garcia



Yumelia Garcia was born in Caracas, Venezuela, beginning her professional ballet training at the Escuela de Ballet Gustavo Franklin, Vaganova School. Upon graduation, Vicente Nebrada invited Yumelia to join the National Ballet de Caracas at the age of 15, promoting her to soloist. Ambitious with a strong desire to see the world of dance in the United States, Yumelia auditioned with Ohio Ballet, a neo-classical dance company, and was hired by Heinz Pohl. There she first experienced iconic contemporary choreographers Paul Taylor, Laura Dean and Lucinda Childs, but her desire to expand her classical ballet training soon thereafter led her to Milwaukee Ballet, with artistic director Basil Thompson. After dancing breathtaking performances in Jimmy Gamonet’s Carmen, Garcia grew into a Milwaukee favorite and new artistic director, Simon Dow, promoted her to principal dancer. During her tenure with Milwaukee Ballet, eclectic choreographer Kathryn Posin created Scheherazade on Garcia. With critical acclaim she went on to perform classical principal roles in Milwaukee as Kitri in Petipa’s Don Quixote, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Michael Pink’s Giselle, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. She was featured in leading roles of George Balanchine’s Apollo, The Men I Love, Who Cares, Serenade, and The Four Temperaments, and worked with modern choreographers Alonzo King, David Parsons and Mark Godden. Continuing her quest to grow, Garcia joined Ballet Florida in 2005 where she had the opportunity to work with Ben Stevenson who cast her as Cleopatra. She continued to expand  her modern repertoire in works by Trey McIntyre, Lar Lubovitch and Val Caniparoli.


In 2009, Ms. Garcia was invited by Ashley Wheater to join Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. She hit the stage to critical success, most notably with her performance in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, staged by Wendy Somes of the Royal Ballet of London. Garcia’s portrayal of Cinderella was featured in Pointe Magazine as one of the “Best 10 Performances of the Year 2010.” She received acclaim in principal roles, as Valencienne in Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Gerald Arpino’s Nutcracker. Garcia’s repertoire includes leading roles in pieces by choreographers Christopher Wheeldon, Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Robert Joffrey and Twyla Tharp. The Chicago Tribune included her with the best dancers of  2010, and Chicago Magazine named her as one of the 50 most beautiful people in 2011. 


At the close of Joffrey’s 2014 season, Garcia formally retired from Joffrey Ballet. She continued to guest perform from Florida to Alaska, and in 2015, Garcia was included in the Chicago Sun-Times best performances in Gordon Pierce Schmidt’s Day of the Gypsy, a ballet created by Schmidt for Yumelia that premiered at the Harris Theater. She reunited with Kathryn Posin in New York in a commissioned piece with Meredith Monk for the Harkness Dance Festival in Manhattan.  


Garcia returned to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to complete a bachelor's degree in Communication, graduating with honors in 2017. After graduation, Garcia utilized her degree and bi-lingual skills by joining Futura Language Professionals, planning, organizing, and implementing Spanish curriculum for elementary students, integrating Latin and American cultures throughout the Milwaukee area.


In 2018 Garcia was invited by Victoria Morgan, artistic director of  Cincinnati Ballet to assist in staging her Nutcracker. Blessed with a critical eye for form, technique and strength, her teaching, training and coaching provides students and professionals with the beauty, style, and confidence that it takes for the pursuit of excellence. Garcia's extensive teaching repertoire includes Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago, Cincinnati Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Joffrey Texas, Paris Ballet Florida, Milwaukee Ballet School, Midland Festival Ballet International Ballet School. Garcia has served as part of the selective faculty for Regional Dance America and a judge in the American Ballet Competition. She teaches master classes by request across the U.S. 


Expanding her teaching and coaching skills she is now a certified ACE Personal Trainer and Barre Workout Fitness Instructor, a ballet-focused fitness regimen. She explores new ways to expand her insight for dance and fitness, tailoring her barre workout classes to all student levels and ages. She educates and trains students at Danceworks Milwaukee, Invivo Wellness, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and teaches master classes for the Department of Dance at UWM. Her devotion to dance and fitness has created a demand for her as a trainer, coach and instructor.

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Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, is the only training program owned, operated or endorsed by The Joffrey Ballet. The Joffrey Ballet is not affiliated with any other dance training or school program, including the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. The Joffrey Academy, located in the Exelon Education Center at Joffrey Tower in Chicago, Illinois is the only school that follows the organizational mission, training syllabi, and artistic vision of The Joffrey Ballet. No other program, including those holding the Joffrey name, is sanctioned by The Joffrey Ballet. For more information, please contact Academy Reception at 312.784.4600.