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Dancers shocked by firing of Toledo Ballet's artistic director

Lisa Mayer-Lang served as artistic director for 15 years at the Toledo Ballet alongside her husband, Michael Lang, the choreographer. Both were let go suddenly.

TOLEDO, Ohio — "We have chose[n] to walk away. My daughter is a company member with Toledo Ballet and she resigned. She walked away from it," Jeanette Brown said.

Her daughter Alyssa has been with the Toledo Ballet for eight years; joining when she was just five years old. 

However, a meeting with trustees and parents on Tuesday night revealed that Lisa Mayer, Toledo Ballet's artistic director of over 15 years, has been removed from the company. After hearing the news, Alyssa has chosen to no longer continue.

"We keep being told about this vision, this new vision that they are not living up to. Lisa and Michael are the vision, this is not the vision at all. There is no vision!" Jeanette said.

And Alyssa isn't the only ballerina to resign. 

WTOL 11 reporter Michael Sandlin spoke to a TAPA board trustee, who has wished to remain anonymous, and they confirmed that all but four of the dancers have left the company, as well as a costume designer and set designer. 

Additionally, the trustee says that the board, who is supposed to be involved in decision making, was also left in the dark, saying the move came from the highest levels of leadership in the company.

Dom Glover is a resident artist with the Toledo ballet company. He says Lisa Mayer made the program the best it ever was.

"She and her husband Michael, they breathed new life into the Ballet. They also brought their Broadway experience and started to expand classes and just got the Ballet back to a point, if not better, than where it was," Glover said.

Every member of the company WTOL 11 talked to says there's questions that need to be answered by TAPA leadership:

"We demand to know, what led up to this? What was so egregious that they decided to remove the director halfway through the school term?" Glover said.

TAPA's director of communications wasn't available to comment on the issue at hand, but she did say that all classes will continue as scheduled and will be taught with a mix of new and existing faculty. 

The TAPA trustee said the search for a new creative director could take anywhere from nine months to two years.


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