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Cleveland patrons have enjoyed three different iterations of Cleveland Ballet throughout the city’s history. Ballet was first introduced to Clevelanders in 1935 by what was alternatively called the Popeloff Ballet. Thirty years after it closed in 1942, former American Ballet Theatre dancers Dennis Nahat and Ian Horvath created the second Cleveland Ballet which achieved international acclaim through tours and performing with the late Rudolf Nureyev during the 1990 Edinburgh Festival. The company left Cleveland in 2000 to relocate to San Jose, California.

The current ballet was formed by Michael Krasnyansky and Gladisa Guadalupe in 2014 and had its first performance in 2015. In just two years, Cleveland Ballet became a resident company of the prestigious Playhouse Square. The Balanchine Trust in 2023 awarded Cleveland Ballet the right to perform George Balanchine Serenade with a live orchestra.

In 2024, Timour Bourtasenkov with his extensive national and international credentials was appointed Artistic Director from his position as Director of Repertoire. At the same time, the Board of Directors named long-time board member, Larry Goodman, as the interim President and CEO to align the company’s vision with a sustainable business model.

Bourtasenkov has infused Cleveland Ballet with an elevated artistic caliber and expanded repertoire with acclaimed choreographers and productions. Now in its ninth season, Cleveland Ballet has established itself as a major player on Cleveland's cultural scene.

Nationally recognized for its commitment to innovation, diversity, and creativity, Cleveland Ballet is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of ballet enthusiasts through the Academy of Cleveland Ballet, its robust outreach program, and accessible programs such as Pay What You Can.

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