Young local dancers perform with Cleveland Ballet April 17

School of Cleveland Ballet students from the Heights area will perform at Playhouse Square's Ohio Theatre on April 17. Pictured (from left): Tristan McCoy (on stool), Isabel Mearini, Anna Donsky, Anna Rose, Devyn Etling and Milana Mudra. Not pictured: Judea Lowe and Lillian Opsitnik.

It’s every young ballet student’s dream to perform on a professional stage with the best talent the ballet world has to offer. That dream is becoming a reality for eight local dance students from the Heights area, as they prepare to perform in a Cleveland Ballet production, Classic. Elegant. Timeless., on Friday, April 17, at 7 p.m., at Playhouse Square’s Ohio Theatre.

The young dancers are students of the School of Cleveland Ballet. Gladisa Guadalupe, once a principal dancer for the Cleveland Ballet under Dennis Nahat, and former artistic associate of the Cleveland San Jose Ballet, founded the school in 2001, following the ballet company’s departure in 2000.

The school, formerly the Cleveland School of Dance, was originally located on Lee Road, near Mayfield Road, in Cleveland Heights. As the school grew, it relocated to 23030 Miles Road in Bedford Heights. The school now has 75 students from all over Northeast Ohio, and educates young dancers in classical ballet training and provides intensive instruction in the highly structured and disciplined techniques of ballet. 

Guadalupe spent part of her career studying with legendary ballet figures, such as George Balanchine and Mikhail Baryshnikov. In 2013, she started a pre-professional company of dancers ages 14–19, known as the Cleveland Ballet Youth Company (CBYC).

The April 17 performance features local dance students Anna Donsky, Devyn Etling, Judea Lowe, Tristan McCoy, Isabel Mearini, Milana Mudra, Lillian Opsitnik and Anna Rose, many of whom started in the school’s Tiny Ballerina program, learning basic terminology, music and movement and self-discipline.

Highlights of the evening include performances by the CBYC and world-renowned guest artists Carlos Lopez and Adiarys Almeida, dancing the White Swan pas de deux from the ballet Swan Lake, with musical accompaniment by Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil. Lopez is ballet master of the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company. Almeida is a former principal ballerina with Cincinnati Ballet and first soloist with Boston Ballet. 

Live music on stage is provided by the Cleveland Ballet Orchestra, under the direction of Cleveland Orchestra assistant concertmaster Alexandra Preucil. Guest choreographer Robert Wesner, co-founder and artistic director of Neos Dance Theatre, will present a new world premiere, choreographed for the CBYC.

“Our desire is to fill the void left by the departure of Cleveland San Jose Ballet, and to re-introduce Cleveland audiences to the beautiful and powerful art of ballet,” said Guadalupe, who also serves as artistic director for the new Cleveland Ballet. “This performance is the key to re-establish the Cleveland Ballet as the city’s very own resident professional ballet company.” 

Tickets can be purchased through www.playhousesquare.org or by calling 216-241-6000 or 866-546-1353. There will be special pre-show activities for child ticket holders, ages 5–14, 5:30–6:30 p.m., and VIP ticket holders are invited to a post-performance reception at Bin 216 Wine Bar to mingle with dancers and musicians, while enjoying cocktails and light refreshments. 

For more information on the new Cleveland Ballet, visit www.clevelandballet.org.

Andrea C. Turner

Andrea C. Turner owns ACT One Communications, LLC, a marketing and communications consulting firm, currently representing the new Cleveland Ballet. She is the Heights Observer e-news editor.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 10:09 AM, 03.31.2015