Denise Lewis was born in Shelton, Connecticut, where at the age of 12, she was invited to study at the world-famous School of American Ballet in New York City. She studied there for seven years under the direction of George Balanchine and Peter Martins. Graduating in 1988, she became a member of American Ballet Theatre under the leadership of Mikhail Baryshnikov. She enjoyed 12 fulfilling years with ABT, dancing in all the major full-length ballets. Lewis’ corps de ballet and soloist roles included ballets such as; Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, La Bayadère, Cinderella, Othello, Coppélia, The Snow Maiden, Le Corsaire, La Sylphide, and the Nutcracker Suite. She worked with such notable choreographers as Twyla Tharp, Lar Lubovitch, James Kudelka, John Neumeier, Agnes de Mille, Glen Tetley, and Natalia Makarova. Lewis’ repertory work is extensive and ranges from George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, to Agnes de Mille’s Fall River Legend.
During her time at ABT, Lewis performed in all major venues throughout the United States and the world, including theaters in Tokyo, Athens, Paris, London, Madrid, Palermo, Genoa, Vienna, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, and Istanbul.
Upon retiring from her performing career with American Ballet Theatre, Lewis began teaching for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (JKO) in their Greenwich, Connecticut, studios. She maintained a full-time master teaching schedule with studios throughout Connecticut while guest teaching for Walnut Hill School for the Arts in their Summer Dance Program.
Lewis joined the dance faculty as Associate Director of Dance at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in 2010.
Lewis currently holds certifications in the JKO Training Curriculum, the National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), AAFA Group Fitness Instructor and TRX Suspension Training. She also specializes in National Academy of Sports Medicine Corrective Exercise Training (CES).