Without a stage, they looked like maniacs. The dancers from the Cleveland Ballet, including Ellen Costanza atop a horse, posed at Hale Farm & Village for a promotional book. They were wearing costumes from their hit production of Rodeo, a Western-themed ballet created by dance legend and Oklahoma! choreographer Agnes de Mille.
A year earlier, de Mille had attended the first Cleveland performance of Rodeo, where she accepted a bouquet of red roses from the audience. Beside her was Dennis Nahat who, along with Ian Horvath, founded the Cleveland Ballet in 1972.
The group staged its first public performance in 1976 and was widely lauded for popular productions, including the high-stepping pantomime of Rodeo and traditional pieces such as The Nutcracker.
In 1986, the company started co-productions in Cleveland and San Jose, California. But Horvath died tragically from complications due to AIDS in 1990, and the company closed its doors in Cleveland a decade later. Nahat departed for San Jose.
But in 2015, the Cleveland Ballet was born again under former dancer and artistic director Gladisa Guadalupe. The resident company holds a showcase Jan. 27 at the Ohio Theatre.