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Cleveland Ballet Youth Company dances into the hearts of Clevelanders

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Cleveland Ballet Youth Company


History was made last night at the Hanna Theatre. After a nearly fourteen year absence, Cleveland Ballet (in the form of The Cleveland Ballet Youth Company) took the stage. The title of the show was “Where it all Began” and commemorated Hanna Theatre performances by the Cleveland Ballet Company from years past.

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The current Cleveland Ballet Youth Company is the dream child of Gladisa Guadalupe who is the Artistic Director of the Cleveland School of Dance that is located in Bedford Heights. Her dream is to form a true professional company of dancers from local talent rather than have them “fly away” to other companies around the country. Judging from last night’s performance, they are well on their way to success.

With nine members of the Cleveland Orchestra situated stage right, various age groups of the school came on stage to perform. The first selection was “Diamante” that was choreographed by Gladisa Guadalupe (who also choreographed the following two numbers) with music by Karl Jenkins. It was done in three movements: “Allegretto” with dancers Victoria Watford, Megan Carciappopo, Cailla Martin, Taylor Martin, Emma Nelson, Carli Petrus and Hannah Pughely. This was followed with “Largo” with dancer Madeline Taylor as well as guest artists Brian Murphy and Lieneke Matte of Verb Ballet. The third movement “Vivace” featured Brian and Lieneke with Victoria Watford and Madeline Taylor.

The second work was “Dances to Violin and Cello” and was done in three movements. Tuning and Gavotte Air featured Sarah Cotter, Chloe Firedland, Gabriela Horwath, Sofia Sallee and Ainsley Snyder. The second movement was “Minuet” featuring dancers Isabella Fragnoli and Judea Lowe while the third movement, “Minuet” had Nicole Precil, Anna Rose, Claire Sanses, Devyn Etling, Tristan McCoy, Isabel Mearini and Dima Smith.

After a twenty minute intermission the younger members of the school came on stage for an interpretation of “Pachelbel’s Canon” with dancers Lauren Davis, Anna Donsky, Marla Minadeo, Milana Mudra, Lillian Opsitnik, Sophie Papovich and Harper Sammet. This was followed by the finale “Concerto” done in three movements by the older students. The first movement featured dancers Victoria Watford, Madeline Taylor, Megan Carcioppolo with Carli Petrus, Hannah Pugely, Calla Martin, Taylor Martin, Emma Nelson and Elizabeth Venorsky. The second movement brought back Brian Murphy teamed with Victoria Watford for a pax de duex while the third movement featured the entire cast of eleven dancers. Concerto was choreographed by Medhi Bahiri with music by Johann Sebastian Bach and was staged by Judith Fugate.

The members of the orchestra consisted of Violinists Alexandra Preucil (Artistic Music Advisor), Katherine Bormann, Mark Dumm, Jiah Chung Chapdelaine, Carolyn Gadiel Warner, Jeffrey Zehngut and Kallen Bierly with Cellist Martha Baldwin and Bass Scot Dixon.

What made this performance so special was the fact that each and every dancer and musician actually resides in northeast Ohio and did not have to be “imported” from such far flung locals as New York City, Miami, Chicago, Utah or California. Just as Cleveland and surrounding areas are blessed with huge amounts of professional actors and crew, so too is it true concerning dancers. As was shown last night, the young dancers performed well beyond their years due mainly to the hard work and encouragement of the instructors at the school. It is the dream of many to have a true “homegrown” company of professional dancers who can match proficiency with the best dancers in the world. For more information concerning the new “Cleveland Ballet Youth Ballet” and “Cleveland Ballet” go to

Following the show there was an exclusive VIP reception catered by Executive Caterers that featured tables of delicious “bites” to feed the hungry crowd as well as an open bar.

Speical thanks to all those who donated time, money and talents that made this performance and VIP reception possible. It was truly worth the effort.