Coutney Laves-MeariniCourtney Laves-Mearini

Artistic and Executive Director

 

Courtney received her training in Houston, Texas studying primarily under Anne and Nicolas Polajenko, Gilbert Rome, ABT's Alexander Minz, Claire Duncan and James Clouser. She trained for a year at the University of Utah under Li-Chou Chang and had the opportunity to work with Sir Anton Dolin and Toni Lander, restaging Pas de Quatre in the role of Marie Taglioni. She danced with several companies including Atlanta Ballet, South Carolina Ballet Theater and Cleveland Ballet. She danced lead roles in Serenade, Paquita, Sleeping Beauty, Concerto Borocco, Raymonda Variations, and Lynn-Taylor Corbett's Appearances. She has been teaching ballet since 1978 for various studios, including teaching at the University of Akron's dance department. She received her B.A. in Anthropology and Communications from Cleveland State University in 1997 and has excavated for three field seasons on the Maya Mountain Archaeological Project in Belize, Central America with Dr. Peter Dunham.

 

 

 

 

Mark Otloski - Ballet Master

 

Former Cleveland/San Jose Ballet Principal dancer of 22 years, Mark Otloski. During his tenure with the company he also served as rehearsal assistant and as Ballet Master of Ballet San Jose of Silicon Valley. Mr. Otloski formally danced with GroundWorks Dance Theater but remains the current Educational Outreach Coordinator for the company. Mr. Otloski is on the faculty at Cleveland City Dance three days a week.

 

Andrea Blankstein-Otloski - Ballet Mistress

 

Ms. Blankstein began her ballet training with Mary Moe Adams at Adams Ballet Academy in Tempe, Arizona. At the age of sixteen she was awarded the Bartholin Prize at the Bartholin International Ballet Seminar in Copenhagen, Denmark. Upon the invitation of Peter Schaufuss she joined the Deutsche Oper Berlin in Germany where she danced a wide range of ballets and roles including a pas de trois created on her by Bill T. Jones and “Candide” in Sleeping Beauty by Peter Schaufuss. Ms. Blankstein danced with the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, Ballet Arizona, was a principal dancer with Virginia Ballet Theatre for two seasons and performed various leading roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy, Romeo and Juliet pas de deux, Sleeping Beauty pas de deux and the white couple from Les Patineurs. Andrea performed with Ohio Ballet for one season where Domey Reiter-Stoffer created the role of “Miss Jessel” for her in The Turn of the Screw. Ms. Blankstein regularly teaches at various studios and is working on her own dancewear line- TrikåDeSYn by Dre. Most recently she and Mark Otloski welcomed their daughter Sedona to Cleveland in October 2012.

 

Additional Guest Choreographers

 

Amy McKenney

Amy began her ballet training as a child in Tallahassee, Florida with Helen Salter, Nancy Abbey (Tallahassee Civic Ballet company) and with Richard Sias and Gwynn Ashton at Florida State University as a high school student. She spent summers at the North Carolina School of the Arts. At 16 she became a Joffrey Ballet Trainee and moved to New York City, where she trained with Jonathon Watts, Trinette Singleton and Francesca Corkle, and enjoyed the opportunity to perform with the company in occasional works including Romeo and Juliet. She left the trainee program to study with Wilhelm Burman as a scholarship student, and traveled Europe where she enjoyed learning new styles of contemporary ballet. Amy left ballet in 1988 and went to Brown University where she graduated with honors in Biology, and enjoyed studying modern dance with Julie Strandberg, choreographing and performing with the dance company "Extension." She went on to Harvard Medical School, a career in academic medicine as a Pathologist, and raising a family. She now enjoys the chance to take ballet class again at Cleveland City Dance, and create dances as a freelance choreographer.

 

Shannon Sterne

Shannon is returning to teach the Thursday Graham modern classes I & II. She performed with the San Diego Ballet before completing her Masters degree in nutrition at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She then earned a Masters degree in contemporary dance with a specialization in dancer wellness also from Case. She has performed in numerous works by Martha Graham including Steps in the Street, Primitive Mysteries, and in Verb Ballet’s major revival of Appalachian Spring. Shannon is a part-time lecturer in the Dance Program at Case where she teaches ballet, Graham-based modern, kinesiology, dancer wellness and ethnic dance.

 

Diana Braun

Diana Braun is an alumnus of Cleveland City Dance and has been training with the studio since she was 7 years old.  She is a recent graduate of Otterbein College where she received a B.A. in mathematics and a minor in dance.  At Otterbein, she was able to work with Randy Skinner in Otterbein’s production of 42nd Street.  She was also chosen to be the student choreographer for the 2009 dance concert “To Each, His Own”.  Diana has been teaching with CCD since 2009 including establishing the Musical Theater program.

 

Main Costumer

Raymond J. Zander II was born & raised in Northern Chicago suburb of Northbrook, IL.  He did his Undergraduate work at Northern Illinois University and began his professional career at John Kenley Players nearby in Warren, OH.  This was followed by three seasons working in the Costume Shop of the Tyrone Guthrie Theater and then a year of Graduate work at New York University.  While living in New York he worked at several of the major costume houses, including Michael-Jon Costumes as well as Grace Costumes.  Grace Costumes constructed the designs of David Guthrie for the Cleveland Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.  Artistic Director, Ian (Ernie) Horvath and Dennis Nahat invited him to join the staff of the Cleveland Ballet for a 20 year career as Costume Supervisor before financial woes caused the company to close their doors and move to San Jose.

 

Mr Zander has designed for The San Jose-Cleveland Ballet (Dying Swan, Corsaire, Flower Festival, Black Swan, A Fairwell to Ian Horvath), The Illusion Mime Theater, Groundworks Dance and the Tom Evert Dance Company. The latter garnered a review from the New York Times dance critic of "genius" for his costume design of Pigs and Roses.

 

He is a proud member of Wardrobe Local 883 which has allowed him to work with many of the national Broadway tours, as well as Radio City Music Christmas Spectacular.  Due to the fine work of Playhouse Square he has been able to work on national tours such as Footloose, On the Record and The Drowsy Chaperone, that began their tours in Cleveland.  Living in Cleveland also has allowed him to work in commercials and film, including A Christmas Story and Welcome to Collinwood (George Clooney Producer).

 

Courtney Laves-MeariniArtistic and Executive Director Courtney received her training in Houston, Texas studying primarily under Anne and Nicolas Polajenko, Gilbert Rome, ABT's Alexander Minz, Claire Duncan and James Clouser. She trained for a year at the University of Utah under Li-Chou Chang and had the opportunity to work with Sir Anton Dolin and Toni Lander, restaging Pas de Quatre in the role of Marie Taglioni. She danced with several companies including Atlanta Ballet, South Carolina Ballet Theater and Cleveland Ballet. She danced lead roles in "Serenade", Paquita, Sleeping Beauty, Concerto Borocco, Raymonda Variations, and Lynn-Taylor Corbett's "Appearances". She has been teaching ballet since 1978 for various studios, including teaching at the University of Arkron's dance department.She received her B.A. in Anthropology and Communications from Cleveland State University in 1997 and has excavated for three field seasons on the Maya Mountain Archaeological Project in Belize, Central America with Dr. Peter Dunham.  

 Mark Otloski- Ballet Master Former Cleveland/San Jose Ballet Principal dancer of 22 years, Mark Otloski. During his tenure with the company he also served as rehearsal assistant and as Ballet Master of Ballet San Jose of Silicon Valley. Mr. Otloski formally danced with GroundWorks Dancetheater but remains the current Educational Outreach Coordinator for the company. Mr. Otloski is on the faculty at Cleveland City Dance three days a week. Additional  Guest ChoreographersRachael Palmero Miss Widener studied under Scholarship at Cleveland City Dance with Paul Wilson and Linda Adolphi. Upon graduation from high school, Miss Widener began her performing career by touring as Dance Captain/Choreographer with such production shows as The Future of Magic, The Illusion Corps, and The Magic of Adam Williams, where she Directed shows for Adam Williams at the Magic Castle. Miss Widener has also choreographed for many local productions such as Amherst High School Pop Show, TRW, Tower City™s Holiday Magical Spectacular, and Workshop Players Theatre. After becoming Director of Midwest School of Ballet, Miss Widener returned to the University of Akron, where she will graduate with honors and receive her BFA in Dance in Spring 2007. Miss Widener has been teaching Dance at Midwest School of Ballet and numerous local private studios for over 15 years. Shannon SterneShannon is returning to teach the Thursday Graham modern classes I & II. She performed with the San Diego Ballet before completing her Masters degree in nutrition at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She then earned a Masters degree in contemporary dance with a specialization in dancer wellness also from Case. She has performed in numerous works by Martha Graham including Steps in the Street, Primitive Mysteries, and in Verb Ballet’s major revival of Appalachian Spring. Shannon is a part-time lecturer in the Dance Program at Case where she teaches ballet, Graham-based modern, kinesiology, dancer wellness and ethnic dance. Diana BraunDiana Braun is an alumnus of Cleveland City Dance and has been training with the studio since she was 7 years old.  She is a recent graduate of Otterbein College where she received a B.A. in mathematics and a minor in dance.  At Otterbein, she was able to work with Randy Skinner in Otterbein’s production of 42nd Street.  She was also chosen to be the student choreographer for the 2009 dance concert “To Each, His Own”.  Diana has been teaching with CCD since 2009 including establishing the Musical Theater program. 

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