Erica Felsch’s Deep-rooted Connection to Ballet in San Francisco

Photo by Stephanie Williams

Photo by Stephanie Williams


Erica Felsch was born in Redwood City, California and has a deep connection to San Francisco. Generations of her family have lived in the city since 1906.

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Erica’s love of performing started at a young age


As a young girl, Erica was always full of energy and would constantly perform and put on shows for her family. Erica’s parents put her in gymnastics hoping to find an outlet for her tireless enthusiasm. At age nine, after moving to Missoula, MT (Michael Smuin’s home town), Erica began taking ballet classes to enhance her “floor routine” in gymnastics. From that point on she was hooked. When Erica wasn’t in the studio dancing, she would spend her time creating and performing musical productions with her brother.




Photo by Stephanie Williams

Photo by Stephanie Williams


At age fourteen Erica left home to attend North Carolina School of the Arts. Two years later she was offered a full scholarship to San Francisco Ballet‘s (SFB) pre-professional program and was the first generation of students and professionals to live in the renowned “Jackson” house. Whilst training with SFB, Erica performed in various company productions and also toured with the company performing in Don Quixote.




Erica's grandparents Celina Cummings-Felsch and Hans Felsch

Erica’s grandparents Celina Cummings-Felsch and Hans Felsch


A living example that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Erica comes from a diverse theatrical family. Erica’s grandparents were former San Francisco Ballet principals and performed in the very first production of the Nutcracker in the US.  Erica’s parents also met in the theatre performing in a production of Oklahoma. One of Erica’s greatest memories was having her grandmother see her perform with San Francisco Ballet in the Opera House where her Grandmother and Grandfather had once graced the stage.


Erica in Helen Pickett's Petal. Photo by Keith Sutter

Dancing in Helen Pickett’s Petal. Photo by Keith Sutter


After completing her formal training at SFB, Erica went on to dance with Colorado Ballet, Madison Ballet, Garage Contemporary Ballet and Ballet Arizona.  After three seasons with ballet Arizona, Erica spent some time in Hollywood filming commercials, a pilot for a television show, and was featured in an episode of Disney’s Shake It Up. Erica joined Smuin Ballet last January and her favorite productions thus far include Helen Picketts Petal and Michael Smuin’s Chants de Auvergne. Erica is greatly looking forward to furthering her career with Smuin Ballet and all that it has to offer.




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Erica with her husband Kevin

Erica spends most of her downtime with her husband exploring the city, enjoying art, nature, and looking for the best restaurants in town. As a self-made chef, Erica plans on writing a cookbook on creative and healthy recipes for dancers and athletes. Erica is also very passionate about teaching and in the future she hopes to teach the art and technique of ballet to young aspiring dancers.

** Written by Darren Anderson Smuin Ballet’s Community Relations Manager

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