Celebrating the Artistry & Technique of Dance

Since 1965

About Cleveland City Dance

Founded in 1965 by Alexis Martin of England, Cleveland City Dance has offered dynamic dance instruction and nurtured generations of dancers for over 50 years.

In 2004, Courtney Laves-Mearini took over CCD and moved our dance school to its current location on 13108 Shaker Square in Cleveland, OH. With a staff of 20 professionally trained dance instructors, we continue to carry on CCD’s legacy as an award-winning dance school offering classes and education for students of all ages.

Dance school  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance

We look forward to dancing with you!

Call 216-295-2222 to Enroll

View Our Classes

Our Instructors

Our professional teachers combine a wealth of professional, decades-long experience to nurture the passion and talent of our students.

We understand the dedication, talent, and hard work of self-expression through modern and classic dance instruction. We have found that confidence and self-awareness are integral rewards of artistry and technique, and we look forward to sharing these with our current and future students!

Courtney  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Courtney Laves-Mearini, CPR, YPAD
Director
Bridget  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Bridget Biliunas, YPAD, RAD
Ballet
Karin  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Elijah Boddie

Hip Hop

Diana  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Diana Braun, CPR
Lyrical & Tap
Alexis  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Alexis Britford
Ballet & Modern
Samantha  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Samantha Basford
Ballet
Lauren  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Lauren Dangelo
Contemporary & Jazz
Kathleen  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Kathleen Davis Pierce, CPR, YPAD
Front Office Staff & Ballet
Alison  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Alison Dubsky
Ballet
Allison  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Allison Eastburn, CPR
Preschool & Pre-Ballet
April  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
April Hirsh Urban
Tap
April  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Michael Keating

Ballet

Sara in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Sara Lawrence-Sucato
Modern & Tap
Ethan in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Ethan Michael Lee
Ballet & Boys Ballet
Sarah in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Sarah Parr
Front Office Staff, Substitute Teacher for Tap & Hip-Hop
Karin  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Taylor Pellegrini

Jazz, Contemporary and Lyrical

Lori in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Lori Simplican, CPR, YPAD
Front Office Staff, Adult Ballet, Jazz, Tap & Musical Theater
Meghann in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Meghann Snow Hennen, CPR
Children’s Ballet
Jamie  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Kristi Tichenor
Ballet
Karin  in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Karin Tooley
Accompanist
Spencer
Spencer Waldeck
Ballet & Contemporary
Heather in Cleveland, OH ❘ Cleveland City Dance
Heather Koniz Young
Office Manager, Ballet, Jazz, Modern & Yoga
Claire
Claire Zakrajsek
Ballet & Contemporary

Begin your dancing journey today. Contact Cleveland City Dance at 216-295-2222 to get started.

Cleveland City Dance

Monday-Thursday:
9:00 AM ‒ 1:00 PM
4:15 PM ‒ 9:00 PM

Friday:
10:00 AM ‒ 1:00 PM
4:30 PM ‒ 7:30 PM

Saturday:
9:00 AM ‒ 2:30 PM
Sunday:
Closed
13108 Shaker Square
Cleveland, OH 44120

Taylor began dancing in Cleveland, Ohio where she trained in a variety of styles at local studios. She continued her education at The Ohio State University and graduated with a BFA, cum laude, in Dance Performance and Pedagogy in 2015.

After graduation Taylor moved to Chicago where she continued her training through the Visceral Dance Workstudy program under the direction of Nick Pupillo. During her 5 years in Chicago she performed with Forward the Movement dance company and Alluvion Dance Company for 2 seasons. She performed in the 27th year of Dance For Life Chicago with Hanna Brictson and Dancers, Visceral Dance Chicago’s WITHIN, Dance Chicago’s Dances From The Heart, Simantikos CELEBRATION of CHICAGO ART, and CARNIVAL Choreographer’s Ball under Andrew Tamez-Hull. 

Recently, Taylor moved back to Cleveland and is excited to begin teaching at Cleveland City Dance.

Karin Tooley has extensive experience as a pianist for dancers. She has a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

While still a student, Karin began accompanying classes at the School of Cleveland Ballet. Karin has also accompanied ballet and modern dance at Mather Dance Center at Case, the Cecchetti Council of America Summer Dance Intensive, Cleveland City Dance, Cleveland School of Dance, Cleveland School of the Arts, Cleveland San Jose Ballet, Verb Ballets, Dancing Wheels, Cleveland Inner City Ballet, Pointe of Departure, Cleveland State University Dance, and Fairmount Fine Arts Center.

Karin also serves as pianist at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland and accompanies Windsong, Cleveland's Feminist Chorus. Karin performed with CityMusic Cleveland in the children’s opera Brundibar in 2012.

Her original scores include numerous small pieces for student productions at the School of Cleveland Ballet, Cleveland School of Dance and Cleveland School of the Arts, as well as the 75-minute An Urban Nutcracker, a modern/street version of the tale by CSA’s Youth at Risk Dancing and Pilobolus Dance Theatre, which received national attention in Time Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.

Spencer Waldeck is a native of Cleveland, OH, where she began her training at City Ballet of Cleveland under the direction of Courtney Laves-Mearini. Spencer joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s high school full-time program in 2016. She joined their Graduate program in 2018.

Since joining the pre-professional program, Spencer has performed in various roles in PBT’s productions of George Balanchine’s Divertimento No.15, The Nutcracker, Giselle, and Beauty and the Beast.

Additionally, she has performed featured roles as Medora in Le Corsaire, Paquita in Paquita, and Pigtail Girl in Graduation Ball with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School.

Spencer started teaching at Cleveland City Dance in 2020, and she will return in the summer of 2021 to teach ballet and contemporary.

Claire Zakrajsek is from Cleveland OH, and grew up training at Cleveland City Dance. Claire is now a double-major student at the University of Cincinnati, continuing her ballet training with UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. She is working towards her business degree.

Claire had the opportunity to train with Cincinnati Ballet, BalletMet, and to work alongside guest choreographers, Joysanne Sidimus and Matthew Farmer. Claire has performed lead roles in works such as ​Les Sylphides​, ​Rite of Spring​, and ​Pas De Quatre​.

Heather Koniz Young holds a Master of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College. She is currently the Office Manager at Cleveland City Dance, administrative assistant for City Ballet of Cleveland, and teaches the modern classes at Cleveland City Dance.

In addition, Mrs. Young is an adjunct faculty at Lake Erie College and a yoga instructor at Yoga Roots. Mrs. Young has worked with Groundworks Dance Theater as a Teaching Artist and was an instructor for the Read to Learn… Dance to Move program with DANCECleveland.

Young has danced professionally with Antaeus Dance, Verlezza Dance Company, Marquez Dance Project, and Tikvah Company of Artists. She has performed in works by notable choreographers including Martha Graham, Pascal Rioult, Carolyn Dorfman, May O’Donnell, Amy Miller, Elisa Monte, among many others. She has taken workshops with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Jose Limon Dance Company, Pascal Rioult, and Ellis Wood.

Young is also a seasoned choreographer whose works have been performed at the Northeast Ohio Dance Festival, Case Western Reserve University, Allegheny College, and Hamilton College. In May 2013, she choreographed the 8th-grade musical at Hathaway Brown School, and in March 2014, she choreographed ​Shrek the Musical​ at Euclid High School.

Her work, ​Let My Hero In​, premiered at Cleveland Public Theatre’s DanceWorks’14. She was also a choreographer for Cleveland Dance Exchange’s Top Ten during Cleveland Public Theatre’s DanceWorks’ 15.

She and her husband have two active and adorable boys, Carter and Bryce.

Sarah Parr is a recent graduate of Case Western Reserve University, where she received her Bachelor’s degree with a triple major in theater arts, English, and cognitive science. In addition to working at Cleveland City Dance, she is a freelance copywriter, actor, and filmmaker. She is also a member of Chloe and Maud Arnold’s international tap dance company, Sole Talk.

Sarah has trained in many genres of dance (including, but not limited to, tap, hip hop, ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, and musical theater) over her two decades of dancing. She began her dance studies at Metuchen Dance Centre in New Jersey, performing in numerous recitals, street fairs, and Duke Ellington Nutcrackers. In high school, she was invited to join MDC’s company, Dance Reflections, while supplementing her dance education with master classes in a variety of styles at Broadway Dance Center in New York City.

In the summer of 2019, she was a work-study student at the American Tap Dance Foundation’s annual festival, Tap City, where she took classes with tap masters such as Chloe Arnold, Randy Skinner, and Brenda Bufalino. She also assisted Maud Arnold’s choreography residency in the youth program.

Sarah has taught many dance classes while at CWRU as both the President of the Spartan Tappers, the campus tap dance club, and the PR Chair for Urban Elementz, CWRU’s street dance group. She also choreographed ​If/Then​​ and a charity showcase for the CWRU Footlighters, the school’s student-run musical theater organization.

Sara Lawrence-Sucato hails from Columbus, OH. She graduated with Honors and a degree in Dance Teaching and Choreography from Mercyhurst University (Erie, PA). She has studied with noted teachers Madame Natalie Krassovska, Laura Alonso, Cynthia Harvey, Vivi Flindt, Finis Jhung, Christopher Huggins, and Milton Myers.

Sara's performance credits include roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Coppélia, La Sylphide, Pas de Quatre, Paquita Variations, and Bolero. She has performed in Columbus with The Dance Cure and Columbus Dance Theatre, as well as with the Mercyhurst Dancers, Lake Erie Ballet, SoMar Dance Works, and Shen and Bones Performance Group in Erie.

Sara currently works with Cleveland’s Dancing Wheels Company & School, having over ten seasons as a professional dancer. She also serves as the company’s Rehearsal Director and oversees the School of Dancing Wheels’ education and outreach programming. With the Dancing Wheels Company, Sara has performed works by noted choreographers, Marc Brew, Nai Ni Chen, David Dorfman, Christopher Fleming, Catherine Meredith, Stuart Pimsler, David Rousseve, Ginger Thatcher, Michael Uthoff, and Robert Wesner, as well as by internationally renowned choreographers, Donald McKayle and Dianne McIntyre.

In her capacity as a Master Teacher and Director of Outreach & Community Engagement, Sara teaches physically integrated dance technique in residencies, workshops, and master classes for Dancing Wheels. Sara’s choreographic credits include ​Concerto Impressionniste​ (2016) and ​Ocean Stories​ (2017) for City Ballet of Cleveland, as well as ​One​ (2015/2017) and other dances for Cleveland City Dance’s Annual Spring Concert. Sara has worked as a faculty member with Cleveland City Dance since 2014.

Ethan Michael Lee is an Ohio native from North Canton and started his training at Canton Ballet under the artistic direction of Cassandra Crowley at the age of 12. He has also trained at schools such as Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Chautauqua, and Joffrey Ballet, to name a few.

Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival 2013 was Ethan’s first performance with Neos Dance Theatre, making this his fifth year with Neos Dance Theatre. He has been performing roles for Neos, such as Bobby Wesner’s original ​Snow White​, ​Dracula​, and an array of contemporary pieces he has choreographed.

Currently, Ethan is the Artistic Director of A Time to Dance Junior Company, and over the years, he has choreographed numerous pieces including four ballets. When not performing with Neos or choreographing, Ethan also guests throughout Northeast Ohio to perform with local ballet schools, such as Ballet Theatre of Ohio, Canton Ballet, Great Lakes Youth Ballet, and many others.

Alumni Meghann Snow returned to Cleveland after being away for ten years in New York City. Her background includes being ballet trained, along with being a competitive figure skater and artist.

She graduated with her BFA from The Mary Schiller Myers School of Art in 2006 and received her MFA from Parsons School of Design ‒ The New School in 2008. Meghann has been teaching children for the past ten years and decided to get her second master's degree specializing in early childhood education and special education.

Meghann recently graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University, and is honored to be back and bring her passion and interests to Cleveland City Dance.

Lori Simplican grew up studying jazz dance from the renowned teacher/choreographer Dee Hillier. Lori performed locally in theaters and as a member of the Dee Hillier Dance Company, where she was a part of the Lighting of Public Square Show and the Opening of the remodeled Allen theater. She has also studied with some of the very best in ballet, tap, and modern dance, and continues her dance education by attending classes and dance conventions to stay current with the latest trends in dance.

Lori's teaching career spans over two decades throughout the Cleveland area. She was on the faculty and co-consort director of the Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theater. Along with teaching at several local studios, she has choreographed for many local theaters and worked with the late Joan Sidor at Independence City School District, creating their musical programs.

Lori is currently a teaching artist for Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio, a program that teaches ballroom dance to schools throughout the Cleveland area. Lori has been teaching at Cleveland City Dance since 2016.

April Urban is the director of the tap company in residence at Cleveland City Dance, Cleveland City Rhythm, and the lead tap instructor. April loves sharing the art form of tap dance with her students of all ages, and her classes integrate tap technique, musicality, and tap's uniquely American roots and history.

She is a proud mom of three little ones (Maeva, Evan, and Ethan) and they inspire her patience and connection with all her students. April grew up in Syracuse, NY, taking dance classes at Miss Colleen's School of Dance, and has had the opportunity to learn from many great tap artists like Brenda Buffalino, Barbara Duffy, Michelle Dorrance, and others.

Most recently, April completed the Level 1 Copasetic Canon Curriculum and holds a Tap Teacher Training Certificate from the American Tap Dance Foundation. April came to Cleveland to study social work at Case Western Reserve University and brings her social work background into her classes, putting an importance on dance class as a creative outlet for all students. She also daylights as a researcher at CWRU.

Ms. Dubsky began her ballet training at the Ashtabula Arts Center and finished her studies at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and the Joffrey Ballet School.

Upon graduation, Alison embarked on a professional career where she performed throughout North America. During Ms. Dubsky’s tenure as a professional ballet dancer, she danced with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, the Joffrey Ensemble Dancers, the Sarasota Ballet, the Richmond Ballet, and the Alberta Ballet.

Some of Ms. Dubsky’s favorite roles include the Black Queen from ​Checkmate​, the Sugar Plum from ​The Nutcracker​, Jiri Kylian’s ​Forgotten Land​, and the principal couple in George Balanchine’s ​Allegro Brillante​.

Alison is married to teacher Mike Keating and they have two adorable little boys.

Allison Eastburn started dancing at age three with Elise Okin at the Ballet Academy until graduating high school.

It was through dance Alison found her passion for working with young children. Allison has taught preschool ballet and gymnastics for private and public schools across the Cleveland area since 2011. She graduated in 2014 from Cuyahoga Community College with a degree in Arts and Early Childhood Education and decided to settle into a full-time preschool teaching position.

She teaches dance with the Serendipity dance program, working with students of various special needs to not only help develop their love for dance but overall health. In 2016, Allison became the director of preschool programs for Rockstar Cheer Cleveland coaching cheerleading, gymnastics, and dance classes. In December of 2019, Allison graduated with a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education from Ursuline College.

Kristi is an alumni of the Academy of Ballet and the Fredericksburg City Ballet Company. She studied under the instruction of Melissa Gregory, Julie Drennan, and Nikolai Balatsenko. Kristi has spent time training with many different Ballet Companies including The Richmond Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet School in New York, and was selected for a Trainee position with the Joffrey Ballet Company in Chicago.

Kristi has an extensive performance repertoire. She has performed as Aurora and the Lilac Fairy in ​Sleeping Beauty​, the Black Swan in ​Swan Lake​, the "Raymonda Grande Pas De Deux in ​Raymonda​, Clara, the Snow Queen, and the Sugar Plum Fairy in ​The Nutcracker​ and Kitri in ​Don Quixote​.

Kristi found her passion for teaching in 2014 when she moved back to Fredericksburg. She has since choreographed award winning contemporary ballet works for competition dancers and has staged and directed full-length ballets, including ​The Sleeping Beauty​ and ​The Nutcracker​.

Kathleen Davis Pierce has a B.S. in Dance from Kent State University. Kathleen has taught at Canton Ballet, Kent State Motor Development Program, the JCC, and the Fairmount Center. She has also taught adults and seniors at Cuyahoga Community College and Kent State Research and Fitness Program.

She has performed with the Leaven Dance Company and Dance Image. As of October 2002, Kathleen is also a certified Reiki master. In 2015, Kathleen became a full-time teacher at Shaker Schools.

Lauren Dangelo began dancing in Cleveland, OH, and is an alumna of Cleveland City Dance. In addition to training at local schools, she attended summer programs at Cincinnati Ballet. Lauren graduated in 2014 magna cum laude with her BFA in Dance Performance.

Upon graduating, Lauren went on to dance with the Charlottesville Ballet under the direction of Sara Jansen Clayborne. There, she danced both soloist and corps de ballet roles in classical ballets, including ​The Nutcracker​, ​The Firebird​, ​Sleeping Beauty​, as well as other original compositions. She also danced in several original contemporary works, most notably by Colby Damon from Ballet X and Steven Melendez from New York Theatre Ballet, among others.

Lauren now considers herself a freelance dancer, working with companies and creatives around the country. She has had the opportunity to dance with ODC in San Francisco, CA, where she had the pleasure of dancing Kate Weare's work, Giant. She danced for New Dialect in Nashville, TN, under the direction of Banning Bouldin, Sidra Bell, and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, amongst others.

Recently, Lauren has performed in the Broadway and commercial industries by working as the dance captain on the show ​Chicago: The Musical​.

Samantha has been a student of movement and expression her whole life. She was a fearless climber as a child, growing to study gymnastics and figure skating until she brought her focus to ballet and dance in junior high school.

Studying with Feld Ballets NYC, Joffrey Ballet School (Dorothy Lister, Francesca Corkel), the School of American Ballet (Antonia Tumkovsky, Stanley Williams, Kay Mazzo, Suki Schorer), and at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School exposed Samantha to a wide range of techniques and styles of dance.

Samantha's dancing summers were spent at NYSSSA and the Chautauqua Institution. Piano and character/folk dancing were important supplements to her ballet training and helped shape her internal understanding of rhythm and grace.

At 17, she was hired by Edward Villella to join the Miami City Ballet. She performed the bulk of the repertoire including works of Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Petipa, and Gamonet for seven years until an injury led her to retire.

Upon her return to NYC, Samantha was the artistic assistant to Kay Mazzo and Peter Martins at the School of American Ballet. Since moving to Cleveland in 2006, Samantha has enjoyed teaching at Cleveland City Dance with Courtney for the advanced ballet students ‒ teenagers, adults, and professionals ‒ helping them to “find their legs.”

As a teacher of other modalities of movement, she is a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method(R) of somatic education. She has been on the adjunct faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, co-teaching a course on the Feldenkrais Method(R) for musicians for the past eight years, while maintaining a small private practice from home and presenting yearly lectures and workshops.

Samantha and her husband, Marc, occasionally take a break from teaching and enjoy being students of their two, still young children, who are currently ages six and four.

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 their 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.

Elijah Boddie is a native Clevelander who  as a youngster began taking classes and workshops. He is very passionate and dedicated to the craft. After graduating from Shaker Heights High School in 2014 he continued training in Hip-Hop, Contemporary and Gymnastics to build his skills and build his teaching resume.  He is a proud father to Elijah Boddie Jr, and is pursing his dreams to teach and perform.

Bridget Biliunas began teaching at Cleveland City Dance in 2010. She was formally trained in Russian Classical Ballet by Cleveland ballet teachers, Marguerite Duncan and Nancy Arcury, performing with Northcoast Ballet Theatre from 1991 to 1998. During that time, she accompanied children’s ballet classes and student-taught under Sonja Kraljevic.

She has danced with Cleveland Dance Theater and studied with Kay Eichman of the Cleveland Ballet. She has attended dance and science somatic seminars and conventions in Cleveland, Chicago, New York City, and Las Vegas. Bridget has also participated in ​Food for Thought, an emergent choreography program.

Bridget has performed at the Cleveland Playhouse, the Masonic Temple, Cleveland’s Palace Theater, and Tower City Productions, among others. She has danced with Serena Polish Folk Group and Gorale Polish Folk Dancers, appearing in televised holiday showcases. She was co-artistic director of Grandinele Lithuanian Folk Assemble and choreographed dances for its 50th Jubilee performance.

Bridget taught accredited ballet classes at Lakeland Community College. She has taught intermediate and advanced level ballet at Dance by Gloria and Interpretations Dance Academy since 2004. In competition, Bridget's choreography was awarded Best Showmanship (1st Place). She currently coaches ballet students for competitions and consults for ice skating. Her former students have studied and performed with Pittsburgh Ballet, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Greensboro Ballet, and the National American Miss Pageant.

Bridget holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. Through the Royal Academy of Dance, she is a licensed Silver Swans teacher for therapeutic ballet for seniors. Beginning in 2020, Bridget attends the Royal Ballet School’s Enlighten global webinar program for dance training and pedagogy.

Courtney received her training in Houston, TX, studying primarily under Anne and Nicholas Polajenko, Gilbert Rome, ABT's Alexander Minz, Claire Duncan, and James Clouser. She also had the opportunity to study with Fosse jazz dancer, Delia Weddington-Stewart, for five years while growing up in Houston.

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 ballet companies including Atlanta Ballet, South Carolina Ballet Theater, and Cleveland San Jose Ballet. She danced lead roles in ​Serenade​ as the Russian Lead, ​Paquita​ as a soloists, ​Sleeping Beauty as Princess Aurora​, Concerto Barocco’s principal, a Raymonda Variations soloist, and in Lynn-Taylor Corbett's Appearances.

Courtney has been teaching ballet since 1978 for various studios in Houston, Florida, and Cleveland, 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.

In 2009, Courtney created the non-profit, 501(c) 3, City Ballet of Cleveland, and is currently Artistic & Executive Director. The company became a member of the prestigious Regional Dance America Northeast in 2013 and Courtney became the region’s treasurer for 2015-2016. Cleveland City Dance became a competitor at YAGP in 2018.