Samantha Riester

Corps de Ballet | Greenwood, IN | Joined Cincinnati Ballet in 2015

Born in Greenwood, Indiana, Samantha Riester started dancing at the age of four. In 2008, she began training at the Indianapolis School of Ballet under the direction of Victoria Lyras. She attended summer programs with the School of American Ballet and Miami City Ballet. She joined the School of American Ballet in the fall of 2012 and graduated in 2015, training under the direction of Kay Mazzo, Susan Pilarre, Suki Schorer, Peter Martins, Darci Kistler, Jonathon Stafford, and Arch Higgins. At her time at the School of American Ballet she performed in student choreographic projects, the New York Choreographic Institute, Winter Ball and lecture demonstrations. Upon her graduation, she danced in the end of year workshop in George Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie, and as the “Oboe” in Jerome Robbins’ Fanfare. 

She then was invited to dance in Cincinnati Ballet”s Second Company program in the fall of 2015. Given many great opportunities, she performed with the company in various productions by Artistic Airector Victoria Morgan, Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16, Nicolo Fonte’s Carmina Burana, Garrett Smith’s Facades, Kirk Peterson’s Coppelia, and George Balanchine’s Rubies and Serenade. She also performed principal roles in Second Company productions such as “Beauty” in Beauty and the Beast, “Odette” in Swan Lake, “Juliet” in an excerpt from Romeo and Juliet. Samantha was offered to join the main company as an Apprentice with Cincinnati Ballet in April of 2018.

Her apprentice year was full of exciting and humbling experiences such as being a part of both company dancers’ pieces in New Works by David Morse and Taylor Carrasco, as well as Myles Thatcher’s Anomaly. She then went on to perform in Septime Webre’s Peter Pan, Victoria Morgan’s The Nutcracker, danced as the “Beauty Fairy” in Devon Carney’s The Sleeping Beauty, Adam Hougland’s Rite of Spring and Firebird. Samantha’s season ended with Ma Cong’s Near Light, Victoria Morgan’s Dancing to Oz, and dancing a soloist role in Jiri Kylian’s Sechs Tanze which led to her getting promoted to first year Corps for the 2019-2020 Season. Samantha is always eager to learn and discover new parts of herself and her dancing. Her time at Cincinnati Ballet has given her the opportunity to grow as an artist in many ways, and is thankful to be a part of this organization.

Sponsored by: The Garcia Family & Spring Hill Nurseries

Fun Fact: Sammie loves working her way through her diverse queue of Netflix movies!

Her favorite candy is Rasinets!

Touchet will never forget her 19th birthday. That was the day Victoria Morgan came to Pacific Northwest Ballet, to audition Touchet’s professional division. “Directors from everywhere auditioned us, but nobody ever picked me,” she says. “I remember thinking she wouldn’t like me anyway, so I told myself to just have fun, and after it was over, she said, ‘I’d like to talk to Janessa’.” Crossed wires with communicating Touchet’s acceptance of Morgan’s apprenticeship offer led to a planned spot with Memphis Ballet, but Morgan called one last time and Touchet was able to come to Cincinnati Ballet instead. “It was meant to be here. I started as an Apprentice and moved all the way through the ranks. I had always had my heart and mind set on Cincinnati Ballet.”

Professional History

  • Indianapolis School of Ballet (2008-2013)
  • School of American Ballet (2012-2015)
  • Cincinnati Ballet: Trainee

Favorite Roles

  • Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie
  • Balanchine’s Western Symphony