Dancers’ lives comeWritten by Michael Punsalan | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When Lisa Mayer Lang began her ballet career at age 6 in Toledo Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” she never believed she would one day become the school’s director.
“I definitely didn’t see it coming,” said Lang, a Broadway veteran of 20 years, with roles in “Cats,” “Kiss Me Kate” and most recently “Wonderful Town” with Brooke Shields.
“I was excited to work on Broadway for so long. It was a dream come true for me. I didn’t expect to be back in Toledo as the Toledo Ballet school director. So I’m moving in a full circle kind of thing,” Lang said.
Raised in Toledo, Lang left to study ballet in New York City at age 18. Through years of performance, Lisa studied under David Howard, internationally toured with renowned ballet principle Gen Horiuchi, and studied under Mikhail Baryshnikov. After dancing her way into various ensembles, producers from the musical comedy “The Fantasticks” offered her a lead role.
“It was the first time I was cast using voice instead of my dancing ability,” Lang said. “It was pretty exciting to be a part of the longest running show in history.”
While cast in Broadway’s “Beauty and the Beast” in 1998, Lang met future husband, actor and dancer Michael Lang. Along with stage shows, some of Lisa and Michael’s television credits include “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee,” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and the CBS drama “Cold Case.” After having two children, the twosome retired from Broadway and television and moved back to the Toledo area last September. Joining Lisa at the Toledo Ballet, Michael is the school’s marketing and outreach coordinator. He also teaches classes.
“Toledo Ballet has mainly been a pre-professional ballet school for years. We’re trying to expand that horizon and bring in pre-professional musical theater and jazz,” he said.
Toledo Ballet’s new semester starts April 9 with registrations currently in progress.