Cleveland City Ballet: Celebrating 75 years with Peter Pan
by Special to the Banner
Oct 14, 2012 | 1379 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland City Ballet
COMPANY DANCERS with the Cleveland City Ballet are seen performing in an "aerial" dance.
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In celebration of its 75th year of excellence in the performing arts, Cleveland City Ballet will produce “Peter Pan” in May 2013.

In 1937, Ms. Francis Gould opened a studio for the teaching of dance to young children in a small home on 8th Street near downtown Cleveland. This year marks 75 years of continuous dance instruction by the business originally begun by Gould.

The business has had four owners/directors during its 75-year run. Paula Duff followed Gould as owner and dance instructor, and held ownership until the turn of the century (2001). After a brief two-year ownership by Ronnie Comeau, the studio passed to Connie Gatlin, who has been artistic director since 2005.

Gatlin said, “It is a privilege to be a part of any business that has survived for 75 years, and particularly for an arts-based business. We hope to carry on this tradition of excellence for many years to come.”

To highlight the celebration of this 75th anniversary, CCB is planning an exciting spring production of the ballet “Peter Pan.” This ballet will incorporate the music of composer Carmen DeLeone, as well as traditional favorites associated with this literary work. The original book by James Barrie will be part of a yearlong emphasis at CCB.

“The characters, literary themes, and Victorian setting will be introduced to the students at CCB, as well as particularly endearing quotes from the book,” Gatlin said. “We like for this experience of a spring recital to also be an educational, enriching experience for the entire family. The arts and any arts involvement should encompass all aspects of a child’s life, and this opportunity really excites us.”

Perhaps the most exciting element of “Peter Pan” will be the flying. Several characters will be made to “fly” on the stage at the Dixon Center. “Flying by Foy” has been contracted to come to Cleveland, install the technical lines and tracking, instruct the dancers in the flying art, and supervise the rehearsals and performances.

This company first came to Cleveland to “fly” the performers of this studio’s first rendition of “Peter Pan,” directed by Paula Duff in 2001. Gatlin said, “We hope to live up to the example set by Ms. Duff at that time, and offer our audiences an exciting and memorable performance.”

The entire studio will be cast into the various roles that are a part of James Barrie’s original novel. Choreography will be accomplished by Monica Ellison, Arlynne Van Hook, Patti Greco, Chelsea Kimsey, Arianna Gray, Deborah Lutz, Katie Rickets, Frank Hay, and Tiffany Mitchell. Gatlin will serve as director of the production.