City Ballet of Cleveland-Alumni Updates

City Ballet of Cleveland is so proud of the success of its alumni. Some former dancers have pursued professional performing careers, while others have explored careers in medicine, public health, education, and film. The company recently asked alumni why they chose City Ballet of Cleveland and Cleveland City Dance. Here is what a few of the dancers had to say, and what many of the former dancers are doing today:

Alumni Marina Falcone recently described City Ballet of Cleveland and Cleveland City Dance as her second home: “In a literal sense because I spent so much of my time there. But also because it was a place where I always wanted to be. The girls I danced with were my closest friends, and Courtney was like my second mom. No matter what was going on at home or at school, dance was always there for me. I loved being in the company, but I also loved being able to take so many other different styles of dance too. Even though I am no longer a dancer, CBC taught me things that I have carried with me all my life. I learned about having body awareness which has been important as I’ve grown older. The most beneficial lesson has probably been discipline and knowing the value of hard work. I had to work hard if I wanted to improve and do well in the company. Plus, I need to know how to work hard at school so that I could spend so much time at dance. The lessons I’ve learned have helped me through undergraduate and graduate school, along with growing in my career. I will always cherish my time [with the company], and I will always be a dancer at heart.”

Sage Smith is currently majoring in Public Health at The Ohio State University, and will be working towards her masters in Epidemiology next year. She chose City Ballet of Cleveland due to the training offered by the school and company: “I made great friends and received exceptional coaching that allowed me to pursue opportunities all over the country”.

Lydia Havener “fell in love with dance early on and the love & support from all my teachers fed (and continue to feed) that passion! Courtney and all the staff created a safe and positive atmosphere in the company where I could learn, grow & be challenged in excellent technique and artistry but also as a person and in life. I never felt like I had to be anyone but myself. My fellow company members were more than the cherry on top! We supported each other, had endless laughs, helped each other during the hard days and cheered one another on! I couldn’t ask for better ladies to dance with! I’m so incredibly grateful for the training and lifelong relationships I’ve gained from City Ballet of Cleveland. I feel immensely blessed to call CBC home and I will always treasure my time spent there and the amazing opportunities and experiences inside the company.” Lydia is currently continuing her career in the entertainment industry as a dancer, actor, and model. She also teaches and choreographers for local studios in the Cleveland area. Lydia returned as a guest artist in the 2022 Uniquely Cleveland Nutcracker.

Maia Atzemis is currently dancing at the Atlanta Ballet Academy.

Adrienne Chan is attending Harvard University, class of 2025, and a member of the Harvard Ballet Company.

Barbara Craig is currently a freelance dancer and teacher. She and her husband will soon welcome their second child.

Abi Besse is a guest teacher and a parent.

Grace Bourdrez is a first year student at The Ohio State University.

Brier Bracken is a Ballet Met trainee.

Holly Burke is a third-year student at Point Park University.

Lydia Havenar is a teaching guest artist in Ohio.

Henry Harte is in his first year in Butler University’s dance program.

Grace Pindel is a first year student at Washington University in St. Louis and is studying visual arts.

Luca Sakiewicz is a first year student at The Ohiot State University.

Sage Smith is in her final year at The Ohio State University and will go on to a graduate program in Epidemiology.

Katerina Steiber is in her first year at Bryn Mawr College.

Diana Yohe Parr is a soloist with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Spencer Waldeck is a company member with Ballet Tucscon and returns to teach at Cleveland City Dance during the summer.

Shane Williams is currently training at the School of American Ballet.

Claire Zakrajsek is a senior at University Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.