The arts center, located in the historic city hall and performance hall of Vermilion at 736 Main Street, will host its first-ever professional ballet company in residence.
HFAC president Jim Chapple and Cleveland Ballet president and CEO Michael Krasnyanksy first announced the plan in August at a fundraising event at the home of Deanne and Scott Sprenger.
“We are thrilled with our partnership with the charming town of Vermilion,” said Krasnyanksy. “This is a unique opportunity for our company to expand our audience in northeast Ohio not only to locals, but also to summer tourists who otherwise wouldn’t be able to see our traditional shows in Playhouse Square. , in downtown Cleveland.”
Since the announcement, the company has performed the “Momentum” dance as a fundraiser for the arts center on September 18.
“The show…was absolutely magical,” Chapple said. “It was just amazing and the whole city is abuzz with the possibility of this future with this relationship between Cleveland Ballet and Harbourtown Fine Arts Center.”
Next year, the 28-member Cleveland Ballet company will take the stage from August through September at Harbourtown Fine Arts Center.
The opera house is due to undergo major renovations this year.
Sandusky’s Dorn Foundation donated $10,000 for fire safety concerns, and HFAC is raising money for a new handicap-accessible restroom.
These are key improvements for using the facility for public performances, Chapple said.
“Audiences will be able to experience world-renowned and distinguished performers from leading ballet companies,” including New York City Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet, Israel Ballet Company, AS Armenian Opera as well as the National Ballet Academic Theatre, according to schemes.
“The Cleveland Ballet will offer a unique program that will include classical, neoclassical and contemporary works,” the announcement reads. “The diverse repertoire will be produced in collaboration with members of the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Opera, providing Vermillion audiences with a unique opportunity to experience three magnificent art forms by world-class artists.”
The collaboration “is an incredible opportunity, not just for Harbourtown Fine Arts Center, but for the city of Vermilion,” Chapple said.
“This partnership continues our mission to ‘promote the growth of fine art in the community,’ and empower Vermilion residents to see and experience all forms of art,” he said. “We hope to continue the restoration of this historic building with fundraising opportunities with the Cleveland Ballet, as well as bringing performances from the troupe to our citizens.”
Vermilion Mayor Jim Forthofer commented on the collaboration in his Sept. 13 report to city council.
“Whether you’re a ballet fan or not, you have to agree that Cleveland Ballet’s recent decision to relocate to Vermilion is a proud moment for our community,” the mayor said.
Forthofer credited Chapple with making the arrangements with the Cleveland Ballet “selling them on Vermilion’s unique charms”.
The Cleveland Ballet is the third version of the performance company whose first incarnations date back to 1935.
The current Cleveland Ballet was formed in 2014 by Russian-American businessman and Odessa native Krasnyansky and his wife, Puerto Rican-born artistic director Gladisa Guadalupe.
The current ballet company is based in Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.