Ballet in Cleveland is committed to the revitalization of performances by the highest quality national professional classical ballet companies in the city of Cleveland. Ballet in Cleveland promotes the art of classical ballet through the presentation of these companies as well as through presenting ballet-centered programming featuring nationally recognized professional ballet dancers. Ballet in Cleveland provides Northeast Ohioans access to nationally acclaimed ballet professionals from companies such as New York City Ballet and Ballet West. Through cultivating its history to ensuring its future, Ballet in Cleveland is committed to just that: classical ballet, and the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
When establishing as a nonprofit, Ballet in Cleveland saw the need to serve an even higher cause than what it could accomplish as Ballet in Cleveland LLC, alone. Ballet in Cleveland developed The Cleveland Classical Ballet Association with the goals to:
- ensure that presentations of classical ballet performances by the highest quality professional ballet companies occur on a regular basis in Cleveland, Ohio, particularly at PlayhouseSquare
- provide local dancers and ballet patrons with access to to nationally acclaimed ballet professionals through performances and programming
- promote and cultivate interest in the art of classical ballet through collaborating with individuals, organizations, and corporations in the city of Cleveland through partnerships, events, and outreach
Ballet in Cleveland is a presentation company. It researches and recruits the best professional classical ballet dancers and companies for events and performances in Cleveland. We plan ballet-centered, engaging performances and events that provide entertaining and educational opportunities for Northeast Ohioans, primarily at Cleveland's performing arts center, PlayhouseSquare. Ballet in Cleveland is not a school, and not a ballet company with its own dancers. Ballet in Cleveland presents the best professional companies and dancers in the nation, thus rebuilding the classical ballet scene in the city of Cleveland. With office headquarters in the heart of PlayhouseSquare, Ballet in Cleveland is not only reestablishing a home for classical ballet in the city, but is additionally adding to the economic development downtown Cleveland.
Jessica Wallis has enjoyed a life in the arts. She was an original company member of Children's Ballet Theatre (now Ballet Theatre of Ohio) and was a scholarship recipient of The Dance Institute of The University of Akron where she was granted a solo role in its premier production of The Snow Maiden. As a teacher at Martell School of Dance, she taught pre-school though adult level classes and created over forty pieces of original choreography for public performance. She is an honors graduate with both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Education from The University of Akron. Jessica is a former third grade teacher in the Solon City Schools. She is a certified Zumba Fitness instructor and an adjunct professor of dance at Kent State University. In 2012 Jessica was appointed as co-chair of the Cleveland Young Arts Professionals Network, and presented on panels for The Foundation Center and Great Lakes Theater. She is also a member of PlayhouseSquare Partners, The Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Cleveland, Engage!Cleveland and Cleveland ConneXion. Jessica is also a writer for the website DIY Dancer, and enjoys sharing role of ballet in her life with its readers. In 2013 Jessica was selected as one of the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club's "Top 25 Under 35" for its Northeast Ohio Movers & Shakers award.
When Jim Sebastian is not conducting the business operations of Ballet in Cleveland, he works for Southwest Airlines as a Boeing 737 First Officer. Jim earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University and currently enjoys the role of Adjunct Professor in the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology.
Additionally, he is a dedicated baseball coach for Cuyahoga Falls High School where he has coached both the Freshmen and Junior Varsity baseball teams. Jim and his wife Lori currently reside in Munroe Falls.
Mark Horning was born in Columbus and raised by parents who instilled a love of the fine arts at an early age. He moved to Cleveland after college, has been married for 32 years, and is father to two boys, both of which are Eagle Scouts. An Adult Scout Leader for over 35 years, Mark began writing about fine arts, rock and roll, and outdoor recreation several years ago and has been a professional photographer for over 35 years. Mark loves living in Berea and has a great appreciation of the cultural, sports and rock and roll scene in Cleveland.
Years of training, studying and observing have lead Alison Krejny to combine her two life passions of dance and marketing to create To The Pointe Marketing. Alison studied classical ballet techniques through her middle school and high school years at the former Royal School of Ballet and gained a Bachelor of the Fine Arts in Dance with the University of Akron as well as a degree in Business Management Technology. Since graduating, Alison has had a blossoming career as an online marketing professional at various agencies throughout Northeast Ohio. During these positions she grew a passion for display adverting, pay per click adverting, social media and search engine optimization. She hoped launch and execute campaigns for some of the largest organizations in the United States within verticals such as health care, consumer products and automotive services. While growing her online marketing career, Alison began teaching at local studios and has been responsible for teaching students K-12 ballet, modern and floor barre techniques.
Nichole Spates has worn many hats as an administrator, fundraiser, teacher of dance and English and a dancer/choreographer. She holds a B.S. Ed. in Dance from the University of Georgia and a M.S. in Dance from the University of Oregon. Nichole's experience in fundraising spans more than twelve years has included positions in the performing arts (dance and music), educational and parks-and recreation non-profit organizations and a major private university. Previously, she worked for four years as a dance educator at an elementary school and a university. More recently, she has worked in Budapest, Hungary, and Al-Khor, Qatar as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Nichole has also presented her choreography in small venues around New York City, and also in Florida, Oregon and South Carolina, and has performed in the work of colleagues. She understands firsthand the financial and administrative pressures facing artists and choreographers in the US today. She currently supports the creative work of several small dance companies and one theater company through freelance grant writing and fundraising consulting. When not working, she enjoys traveling, dancing and taking photographs.
Devin Wallis is currently a Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience major at the University of Michigan. She was responsible for the creation of Ballet in Cleveland's logo and continues to do graphic design work for the organization. Over the course of her college career, Devin has involved herself in activities such as volunteering at local juvenile detention centers, participating in political clubs, and mentoring international gifted youth as an intern at Northwestern University. Upon graduation, Devin hopes to do full-time marketing and promotional work for a professional sports organization while maintaining her position with Ballet in Cleveland.
Growing up in New York, Lori started dancing at age six and has always had a passion for ballet. Relying on her Russian ballet training and technique, she pursued Rhythmic Gymnastics while in high school and was invited to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Camp.
Lori is a graduate of Georgia Tech where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering. After graduating, she went on to flight school and began her commercial pilot career in 2001. She is currently a Captain on an Embraer Regional Jet for ExpressJet Airlines. Lori enjoys her role assisting with graphic design projects and fundraising events for Ballet in Cleveland.
The following individuals have joined Ballet in Cleveland as Founding Members through a generous donation to support the organization and its commitment to presenting dancers of the New York City Ballet and the choreography of George Balanchine in Cleveland. Without their support, these impressive endeavors would not be possible.
Mr. Thomas Baechle
Mr. Dick Blake and Mrs. Lorraine Blake
Mr. James Sebastian Sr. and Mrs. Margaret Sebastian
Mr. Thomas Baechle
Mr. Robert Higgins, Esq.
Ms. Laurie Humphrey, Esq.
Ms. Elizabeth Lewis
Mr. John Lynch
Dr. Isaac Richmond Nettey
Mr. Charles Obert
Mr. Jim Sebastian
Ms. Jevonne Smith
Ms. Jessica Wallis
Mr. Mark Zuranski
Mr. Richard Bennett
Ms. Pamela Dorazio Dean
Mr. Michael Holub
Ms. Maria Ianiro
Mr. James Levin
Ms. Shananne Lewis
Professor Raymond Weber
Ms. Marcia Custer
Ms. Madison Eddings
Ms. Jasmine McDonough
Ms. Catharine Lewis
Ms. Christina Uehlin