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Cleveland Ballet CEO Michael Krasnyansky resigns amid investigation

Cleveland Ballet
Cleveland Ballet CEO Michael Krasnyansky has resigned while wife Gladisa Guadalupe remains suspended from her duties as artistic director, pending an investigation.

Cleveland Ballet CEO Michael Krasnyansky has resigned. The co-founder of the troupe was suspended earlier this month amid unspecified “serious workplace allegations” against him and his wife, Artistic Director Gladisa Guadalupe. She has not resigned.

The couple started the nonprofit dance company in 2014. It’s been a resident company at Playhouse Square since 2017.

Cleveland Ballet’s board has commissioned an ongoing independent investigation into the allegations.

In a statement Tuesday evening, spokesperson Rena Vysnionis said the company is committed to fixing “anything that emerges from the independent investigation that diminishes our unwavering commitment to maintain a safe, productive, diverse, inclusive, professional, collegial, and secure work environment for all our artists and staff.”

The resignation comes just days after Cuyahoga Arts & Culture approved its 2024 list of grantees, including a 77% increase in Cleveland Ballet funding, to $73,954. At its Nov. 15 board meeting, however, CAC Executive Director Jill Paulsen recommended not entering into a formal funding agreement until the investigation is resolved.

Howard Bender, the ballet’s vice president of development, will continue as interim CEO. His career includes 28 years as an operatic tenor. He most recently served as executive director of Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra.

Cynthia Graham, currently director of repertoire, continues as interim artistic director. She's been a guest instructor at schools and ballet companies throughout Ohio, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania and New York.

The first incarnation of Cleveland Ballet lasted from 1935-1942. A second incarnation ran from 1972-2000. The current iteration made its stage debut in October 2015 at Playhouse Square.

Guadalupe, a native of Puerto Rico, studied under George Balanchine at the School of American Ballet in New York City. She previously danced with the second incarnation of Cleveland Ballet, and she also founded what’s now known as the School of Cleveland Ballet in 2000. She was honored with the Cleveland Arts Prize in 2022.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.