Cleveland Ballet Bosses Suspended After Firing Children’s Instructor Over Body Image

Gladisa Guadalupe and Michael Krasnyansky suspended pending investigation into their alleged mistreatment of ballet instructor Brittani Harris.

The Cleveland Ballet is under scrutiny after two of its bosses, Gladisa Guadalupe and Michael Krasnyansky, were suspended following allegations of mistreatment towards ballet instructor Brittani Harris. The incident unfolded when Harris was informed that her teaching contract would not be renewed due to her size. The suspension comes after an investigation by WKYC Studios shed light on the alleged behavior of Guadalupe and Krasnyansky. The case has sparked a wider discussion about body image and discrimination within the ballet industry.

A Picture That Sparked Controversy

The incident began when a staff meeting was held, during which artistic director Gladisa Guadalupe saw a photo of Harris teaching the tendu movement. Guadalupe allegedly expressed her desire to have the photo removed from the outreach newsletter due to Harris’ size. This incident led to Harris being informed that her contract would not be renewed. The allegations against Guadalupe and Krasnyansky highlight the issue of body image standards within the ballet world.

Discrimination Based on Body Size

Jim Becker, who hired Harris to teach ballet to children at the Girls and Boys Club of Akron, witnessed the incident during the staff meeting. He reported that Guadalupe stated that a teacher like Harris should not be allowed to work because it may send the wrong message to young girls. Guadalupe allegedly claimed that girls of a larger size are at a greater risk of injury. These discriminatory remarks have raised concerns about the toxic body standards imposed on ballet dancers.

Attempts to Report the Incident

Jim Becker attempted to report the incident to the appropriate authorities within the Cleveland Ballet. However, his efforts were met with resistance. When he tried to schedule a meeting with the Human Resources department, he was directed to Lana Krasnyansky Sokolinsky, the step-daughter of Michael Krasnyansky and Guadalupe’s daughter. Becker’s own contract was subsequently not renewed, leading to suspicions that the entire team was aware of Guadalupe’s disapproval of Harris.

Challenging Stereotypes and Misconceptions

WKYC Studios investigated the perception that larger body sizes are more prone to injury in dance. Dance physical therapist Jenna Kantor debunked this misconception, stating that there is no evidence to support it. In fact, underweight individuals are more likely to experience fractures. The ballet industry has long upheld strict body standards, favoring a thin physique. However, not all bodies are naturally built that way, even if they are not overweight.

Support and Resilience

Despite the dismissal, Harris showed up to support her summer students in their season-ending performance. She expressed her love for teaching and her passion for seeing her students learn and grow. Harris’s dedication and resilience in the face of discrimination highlight the importance of inclusivity and acceptance within the ballet community.


The suspension of Gladisa Guadalupe and Michael Krasnyansky from the Cleveland Ballet has shed light on the issue of body image and discrimination within the ballet industry. The incident involving ballet instructor Brittani Harris has sparked a wider conversation about the toxic body standards imposed on dancers. The allegations against Guadalupe and Krasnyansky highlight the need for greater inclusivity and acceptance in the ballet world. As the investigation unfolds, it is crucial for the Cleveland Ballet and the wider dance community to address these issues and work towards creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all dancers.






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