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The New Cleveland Ballet and Neos Dance Theatre Announce Collaborative Partnership

by Grace Day
August 11, 2015
PlayhouseSquare - Ohio Theatre
1511 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 771-4444
The new Cleveland Ballet proudly announces an exciting collaborative partnership with Neos Dance Theatre, to launch the start of its preview season at Playhouse Square and beyond for fall 2015.

The new Cleveland Ballet—under the artistic direction of former Cleveland Ballet principal ballerina Gladisa Guadalupe—begins rehearsals August 17, with newly hired professional dancers, the first since the company announced its re-establishment under new leadership. Neos Dance Theatre, the most up and coming dance company in Northeast Ohio, under the direction of Bobby Wesner, joins forces with the Cleveland Ballet dancers to present an exciting season of classical and contemporary works by some of the most innovative choreographers, both locally and nationally.

Audiences can witness the premiere debut of this collaboration as the two companies launch their collaborative season in a full evening of traditional and innovative dance titled, "Past. Present. Future." on Saturday, October 3, 7 p.m. at Playhouse Square's Ohio Theatre. The integration of these two ballet companies promises to entertain and engage audiences with diverse taste in dance as they perform classical, neoclassical and contemporary works. Tickets for this performance are on sale now through playhousesquare.org or call 216-241-6000.

"We are thrilled to be joining forces with one of the highest caliber dance companies in Northern Ohio to expand our repertory and delight ALL dance lovers. Neos has consistently presented cutting-edge choreography and a fine group of talented professional dancers that never cease to amaze local audiences," said Guadalupe, artistic director of the new Cleveland Ballet and the School of Cleveland Ballet. "We first hinted at this collaboration at our April 17 performance, "Classic. Elegant. Timeless." at the Ohio Theatre, when Bobby choreographed a world premiere piece for the Cleveland Ballet Youth Company." Cool Cleveland dance reviewers Elsa Johnson and Victor Lucas wrote this of Neos' performance after this summer's Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival in Akron, "…Good thing we got to this concert on time because this first dance on the program displayed a dazzling group of dancers to maximum advantage….This is an unusually good-looking local ballet company." The review concludes with, "Our only complaint about Neos is that they come to Cleveland too seldom." Read more of the review here: http://coolcleveland.com/blog/2015/08/dance-reviewneos-dance-theatre-at-akrons-firestone-park/

With this collaboration, audiences can see more ballet performances in Cleveland and elsewhere—as both companies travel throughout the state to perform together. The companies perform Wesner's version of "Count… The Legend of Dracula" on October 17, 8 p.m., at the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield, and again on October 30, at Akron's Civic Theatre, 8 p.m. Other performances are scheduled for winter 2015 and spring 2016.

A native of Puerto Rico, Guadalupe moved to New York City's School of American Ballet, graduating as a scholarship alumna, while studying under the celebrated George Balanchine, father of American ballet and of the modern ballet movement. In her professional career, she performed under legendary choreographers Dennis Nahat, Ian Horvath, Margot Sappington, and Louis Falco, touring North and South America, Asia and Europe. In July 2015, Peter Martins, artistic director and chairman of faculty at the School of American Ballet, official school of the New York City Ballet, invited Guadalupe to serve on the Alumni Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

"We have always had a great respect for Gladisa and the generations of classically trained ballet dancers she's launched from the Cleveland area. This collaboration will help to build the resident classical ballet company that Cleveland has gone too long without, and will help us expand our audience base in the Northeast Ohio dance community," said Wesner, artistic director of Neos Dance Theatre.

"Cleveland is in a renaissance … and every great city needs a great ballet company," says Dr. Akram Boutros, president and chief executive officer, MetroHealth System and Cleveland Ballet board member. "We have accomplished more than what others have said we can do—that is one more thing we (Cleveland) can add to the list—bringing back a tremendous ballet company." Boutros added, "I'm not an expert on ballet, but I'm an expert on leadership and Gladisa is the real thing."

The new Cleveland Ballet has enjoyed successful collaborations with other fine arts institutions, including members of The Cleveland Orchestra, several of whom make up the Cleveland Ballet Orchestra, led by Alexandra Preucil, Assistant Concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra. "To have a ballet company we can call our own and do really special and unique things—that's something to be proud of here in Cleveland," commented Preucil.

This collaboration piggybacks off of the best of what the old Cleveland Ballet and the Ohio Ballet offered years ago in terms of highest artistic excellence. But, it has transformed into a leaner business model designed to be financially sustainable, benefiting dance audiences now and for future generations. Pete Savoy, Neos Dance Theatre's former board vice president and former board member of Ohio Ballet, had this to say of the current announcement, "The collaboration of Neos Dance Theatre and the Cleveland Ballet will achieve true synergy where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

For more information on these and upcoming performances, visit clevelandballet.org or call 216-320-9000 or visit neosdancetheatre.org or call 419-651-4938. Stay connected with us on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram.
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