What People Are Saying

Review on Cleveland Concert Dance from Elsa Johnson and Victor Lucas.
Read here: Cleveland Ballet’s Nutcracker, Reality and Dream

Elsa Johnson and Victor Lucas

Lauren Stenroos

It was outstanding!
I’ve seen the Nutcracker performed in several different cities, and by far the Cleveland Ballet’s rendition was the best!

Michael Estime

WKYC-TV Meteorologist

In short, I was enthralled tonight. I profoundly believe that the Carmen that Gladisa has created is nothing short of brilliant.

To wit: the stunning fusion of Bizet with Penella–– with never a key change missed in the careful editing–– including the blending of recorded orchestral score with live guitar; the competence of the company and the excellence of the principal dancers; the inventive choreography that was both joyous and dramatic set to the combination of rhythms; the contemporary flair of the femme rivalry; the inclusion of two extraordinary singers bringing the strength of opera into the mix; the colorful simplicity of the sets that reminded me of Miro’s paintings contrasted with the intricacy of the colorful costumes. And then, that breathtaking love scene choreographed and executed with sensuous intimacy that never went out of bounds.

I was simply spellbound for an hour. Although I might have wanted this incredible performance to last longer–– the staging, the score and the dancing left me truly and completely satisfied.

Thank you, and congratulations to everyone!

PS: You really should schedule a few more performances of Carmen in this season!

Carol Frankel

We had never been to the ballet before, and all I can say is WOW. We were totally impressed. The dancing was fabulous. The dancers who portrayed dolls – I just don’t know how they did that to look like “dolls” – truly amazing. And the expressiveness of the dancers to tell the story, incredible. And the lifts, the dancers looked like they were floating across the stage. I loved, loved, loved it! We are both looking forward to upcoming shows!

Mary R. Primrose


Dear Michael,

Thank you so much for what you have brought back to Cleveland!
This tradition is the highlight of so many, many Clevelanders!

Thank you! Bravo


I want you to know how much your teaching and mentoring has meant to me. For all the times you have challenged me and called out the very best in me, I will always be grateful.

Thank you for not only teaching me how to perform excellently on stage but encouraging that same excellence in life. I will always present myself well, pull up from my hips, and never let the tiger inside me fall asleep. These are just a few lessons I’ve learned from the hours you’ve invested in your students.

I pray many blessings over you and your family, and I pray that the Cleveland Ballet grows into all the dreams you have for it.

The picture is just a small token to say thank you and the mug is to hold the many cups of coffee I still owe you.

May God bless and keep you and may all your students thrive and grow under your guiding hand. Thank you,

Mikaela Sussman

I deeply appreciate everything you have taught me this year. I did not truly understand what it meant to be a dancer until I came to the Cleveland Ballet. The lessons I have learned here have not only changed my dancing, but also has helped me personally better myself in all aspects of life. Thank you for all you have done for me, may you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.

Rachael Sussman

It was an incredible performance your dancers and Neos did together and individually. I sat in the audience and I had tears in my eyes the performance was so beautiful. I was heart broken when Cleveland Ballet left but now I know with you they are back! All My Love and best wishes go out to you for all you have done and will continue to do.

John Busser

E. John Busser Ballet Scholarship

Thanks, Ms. Guadalupe! I was thinking of you today because I went to a 4 hands piano concert to hear Dvořák's Slavonic Dances and it brought back wonderful memories of dancing to that in 2007. Thanks for your excellent teaching and the many ways you inspired me back then. I'm enjoying watching what's happening with Cleveland Ballet now from afar!

Halle Thompson

Former student.

I cannot possibly express in a few words how my training at School of Cleveland Ballet has affected my life. Through diverse dance instruction, the Cleveland Ballet faculty helped me discover and nurture my passion for dance, a passion I would eventually turn into a career. Along with exceptional dance training, I found guidance, support, and encouragement in the faculty and staff during an formative period of my life. They, along with my fellow students, made Cleveland Ballet a second home to me.

Leanne Duge

Pacific Northwest Ballet, school graduate 2003

I began my dance training when I was 7 years old under the direction of Dennis Nahat and Gladisa Guadalupe at The School of Cleveland San Jose Ballet. I am happy to say that the discipline I received and work ethic I've learned have allowed me to become a successful person in and out of the dance world. While it was tough at times to be a dedicated dance student, nothing gave me more joy and satisfaction than performing on stage. All that hard work paid off and I felt I had to go back for more and more. 
As a teenager, it was certainly hard to juggle dance training with academic school and just being a curious teenager. At times when I thought I'd lost my way, I would come to the studio, take a ballet class and all the little things that seemed to plague me, simply washed away. The dance training I received was strengthening, therapeutic and lots of fun. The atmosphere Ms. Guadalupe created at the studio felt like a home away from home. It was a place I could leave other things aside and just focus on myself. I felt centered in my soul and happy in my heart after leaving a long day at the studio. Ms. Guadalupe knew that there was a love of dance inside me and my peers. She never gave up on me when I wanted to give up on myself. Dancing was the best thing that could have happened to me as a young adult and without words, Ms. Guadalupe reminded me of that everyday of my life. She sent me on a career path.
My time as a professional ballet dancer has been a difficult yet rewarding one. In 2003, I graduated high school and immediately began dancing with the Ohio Ballet. During my 2 seasons dancing in the company, I learned quickly how to jump into roles and figure out what type of dancer I could become. Some roles fit and some roles didn't. It was the opportunity I got to experience many different roles in ballets, that helped me figure out the type of dancer I was most comfortable being.
In 2005, I joined Ballet San Jose directed by Dennis Nahat. While the company was now solely in San Jose, California, it felt like I had moved closer to home. Mr. Nahat's first words to me upon stepping into the building for the first time was, Welcome home. I spent 7 seasons total there, 6 as a corps member and 1 as a soloist. I danced in the morning, I danced in the evening and when I thought I was done, I danced some more. I learned some of the most fun and most difficult ballets I could imagine. Nahat's choreography and the way he taught it to you really helped bring out the dancer inside. I performed principal roles I watched my mentors perform when I was a boy. I even wore the very same costumes. I also learned world renowned ballets which I felt so lucky to be apart of. My favorite roles I've performed are The Devil and Roasted Swan in Dennis Nahat's Carmina Burana, The Prince in Dennis Nahat's The Nutcracker. Her Lover in Anthony Tudor's Lilac Garden and Don Jose in Dennis Nahat's Carmen. 
Throughout it all, the highs, the lows and the in-between, I really have to thank Ms. Guadalupe and the dedication of her staff for being such supporting people in a young person's life. The training she provides with her staff is world-class. I was very lucky to be a part of it.

Seth Parker

Ohio Ballet, San Jose Ballet, School Graduate 2003

Looking back, I find that some of the most memorable moments of my career were having the pleasure to teach master classes for the Cleveland Ballet. It was a magical time at Playhouse Square and very exciting to see the performances of so many marvelous dancers. My wife and I are delighted to contribute to Cleveland Ballet in their pursuit of re-establishing a resident ballet company in Cleveland. Let’s all do our part to bring the magic, the artistry and the excitement back to our city!

Dick Blake

I just had the most amazing experience at a conference for dance teachers this past week and through the entire conference, I received constant reminders of just how fortunate I was to have received the rigorous, world-class training that I did at School of Cleveland Ballet under your tutelage. Over the course of four days, I was privileged to take classes in a wide variety of dance styles learning teaching methods from some truly amazing master teachers. As I started the first day, I recalled insights you shared in our old classes about company members and more advanced dancers taking our intermediate barre and body alignment classes to focus on their own technique and placement rather than speed or choreographic flashiness/complexity. With that in mind, I committed to my “45° extension/single pirouette” learning zone so that I could apply correct technique and really focus on the exercises and technical skills being taught. At the risk of sounding extremely judgmental, what I saw going on around me from many of my fellow attendees was a different story. A not insignificant number of my fellow teacher-trainees exhibited sickled feet, forced turnout, hitched up hips to fake extension, and a strange tendency to spin rather than turn and lift with any kind of control, among other technical faults. While they certainly weren’t the majority, I was astounded to see such bad habits from people responsible for molding technical skills in their dance students. Beyond the technical gaffes, basic comportment in a classroom setting seems to now be a rare thing, even among the technically strong teachers. I was stunned to see teachers leaning on barres, failing to start barre exercises in any kind of preparatory position, etc. during demonstrations, and failing to clap for instructors at the end of class. I realize that different studios have different standards, and that there is a significant difference between recreational and pre-professional studios. That said, I was so proud of the lessons in technique and classroom comportment you taught us at Cleveland Ballet that I’ve somehow been able to retain over the years. I will never be an amazing dancer myself, but the lessons in professionalism, technique, and self-presentation that you and the other instructors at SCB taught us were truly lasting. One thing this conference definitely brought home for me was just how vast the difference is between a good teacher and a bad one. Thank you for being an excellent one. I was never one of your more outstanding students, but I promise you, the lessons have stuck. While I’ve always been proud of my dance training, I have an even greater appreciation now for the standard of excellence you demanded of us all those years ago. I can only hope that I will be able to teach and inspire my own students to live up to such standards. Thank you for setting such an inspiring example. I’m so proud to have been one of your students.

Jessica (Meil) Alvarado

School graduate 2005

It is with great confidence that I attribute my current success to the classical training I received at Cleveland School of Dance. I studied with Gladisa Guadalupe for 12 years, and received an education that has shaped me into the young woman I am today. The training I received at CSD not only gave me the skills to succeed as a professional ballerina, but also instilled values that could be applied in any field. Dance taught me the value of hard work, focus, discipline, integrity and perseverance to achieve anything I set my mind to. Training 6 days per week from a very early age taught me to align priorities, remain organized, and set high standards for all areas of my life. After graduating from CSD in 2001, I continued my dance training at the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia where I had several opportunities to perform with the Pennsylvania Ballet. During this time, I spent two summers training at American Ballet Theatre’s intensive program in New York City. In 2003 I moved to Pittsburgh where I danced with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for 2 years. In 2005 I decided to continue my education and enrolled at The Ohio State University. Because of my focus from dance, I was able to graduate cum laude in 3 years with a bachelor of science in finance. I currently work in corporate finance for Fifth Third Bank in downtown Chicago.

Lauren Huefner

Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Fifth Third Bank Chicago - CSD Graduate 2001

My passion for dance began as a scholarship student at The School of Cleveland San Jose when I was five years-old. Ms. Guadalupe was my first ballet teacher at SCSJB who trained me until I graduated from high school. During my 13 years at SCSJB, Ms. Guadalupe was my ultimate role model. I simply adored her! I was always excited to take her classbecause it was challenging, inspiring, and fun. Ms. Guadalupe’s constant guidance, nurturing spirit, and tireless support shaped me into an accomplished young dancer. After graduating from high school, I left SCSJB to study dance at The Juilliard School in New York City. Now, I’m living my dream as a professional dancer and dance teacher. I have performed as a professional dancer in musical theater, and opera companies nationwide for companies such as: Paramount Pictures, NBC/Universal, Disneyland Entertainment, The Metropolitan Opera, The Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Opera, and Dodgers Theatrical. I have such fond memories of SCSJB and I’ll always be grateful to Ms. Guadalupe for the excellent training she gave me. I highly recommend Ms. Guadalupe and The School of Cleveland Ballet!

Alison Mixon

Professional Dancer

If it takes a village to raise a child, then Gladisa Guadalupe is the Mayor! Ms. Guadalupe was a huge part of our daughters upbringing. Not only is she a fantastic teacher of ballet technique, but also she is an inspirational guide and educator of life lessons. Because of Ms. Guadalupes guidance, love, support, and hands-on approach which supports our familys value system, our daughters developed into young women who have a strong voice, moral code, and positive outlook on life. Ms. Guadalupes ballet training instills self confidence and focus. Both Ali and Amanda have continued their passion for dance, each on a different path. Ali pursued a career as a professional ballet dancer and has danced with Texas Ballet Theater and toured the Pacific Northwest as a member of Eugene Ballet Company. She is currently a freelance dancer based in New York, working with various companies throughout the country. She is also enrolled at Columbia University, taking hiatuses as necessary when performing. Amanda is Associate Director of The University of Chicago Ballet Company and recently performed the lead role of Swanhilde in Coppelia. She sets choreography and teaches both ballet technique and body alignment classes. She is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Art History and Museum Studies. Ms. Guadalupe has had a positive influence on our daughters. She nurtured them and sent them out into the world as ambassadors of dance. She continues to play an active role in their lives, and for that, we are very grateful!

Stacy Block

Mother of former dancers Ali and Amanda Block