The Director

Courtney Laves-Mearini

Executive and Artistic Director Ms. Laves-Mearini received her training in Houston, Texas studying primarily under Anne and Nicolas Polajenko, Gilbert Rome, ABT’s Alexander Minz, Claire Duncan and James Clouser. 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, re-staging Pas de Quatre in the role of Marie Taglioni. She danced with several companies including Atlanta Ballet, South Carolina Ballet Theater and Cleveland Ballet. She danced lead roles in Serenade, Paquita, Sleeping Beauty, Concerto Borocco, Raymonda Variations, and Lynn-Taylor Corbett’s Appearances. She has been teaching ballet since 1978 for numerous studios, including teaching in 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 2004, she became the owner and director of the Cleveland City Dance studio. In 2008 she moved the school to Shaker Square to grow her love of dance and expand the programs offered to students, both children and adults. In 2009 she began the non-profit 501c3 City Ballet of Cleveland to offer more opportunities for dancers in the Cleveland area to perform and come together to show case new works and the classics including the original Uniquely Cleveland Nutcracker, Les Sylphies, Giselle, Swan Lake, Pas de Quatre and more. The dancers also have the opportunity to perform story ballets to work their acting skills and perform at a variety of spaces including area schools to spread their love of dance and share their experiences with others. For the 2019-2020 season City Ballet of Cleveland will celebrate its 10-year anniversary with many alumni returning for a Gala performance in February 2020.


Ms. Courtney, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me these last couple of years. I can’t wait to come back to visit and take more classes! I learned so much beyond ballet by taking your classes and speaking with you. Thank you for taking the time to work with me to improve not only as a dancer, but also grow as a person. I learned so much about self respect, confidence, and motivation through your teachings. I really admire and have taken in the amount of care and attention you put into working with your students.

Thank you for everything,

—Maiya (Sep 2020)

Just a quick note to thank you for being such a wonderful teacher. Maddy was terrified to go back to class this morning and when I picked her up at noon she was beaming with joy. You are so skilled at that delicate balance of challenging them to be their best, yet reassuring them that you care for them. Brava!

—Amy (June 2020)