Cassandra Macino began training in classical ballet at age nine under the instruction of Ms. Gail Grant-Ryan in Toledo, Ohio. At the age of twelve, she was awarded a Ford Foundation Scholarship from the School of American Ballet in New York City given by Suzanne Farrell, former principal with New York City Ballet. Her scholarship continued through age seventeen. Ms. Macino continued to study extensively in New York City, at American Ballet Theatre, Harkness House for Ballet Arts, and Joeffrey Ballet. She also studied classical ballet with Finis Jhung, and in particular with Melissa Hayden and Willy Burmann. Additionally, Ms. Macino has studied jazz at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center under renowned jazz instructors: Chuck Kelly, Phil Black, Betsy Haug, and Frank Hatchett.
Ms. Macino founded the Cassandra School of Ballet in 1972. In 1981, she founded The Cassandra Ballet of Toledo, a non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors.
Ms. Macino has choreographed over 100 original dances and has staged and produced a variety of classical ballets: The Sleeping Beauty Ballet—Act III; Cinderella Ballet; La Boutique Fantasque, Nutcracker Act II Divertissements; Hansel & Gretel; and The Little Match Girl. She also wrote and choreographed an original, full-length ballet, Visions of Sugar Plums with music by Rossini/Respighi.
Ms. Macino served two years on the Ohio Arts Council Board of Directors and on the Board for the Toledo Arts Commission. The Cassandra Ballet of Toledo has performed with The Toledo Symphony Orchestra’s Young People’s Concerts, The Toledo Opera and Music Under the Stars Summer Concert Series for 35 years.
Students from the Cassandra Ballet have been accepted into the most prominent summer dance programs in the country including School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet, Joeffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet and Kirov Ballet in Washington, D.C. Many alumnae have gone on to dance professionally with companies such as Miami City Ballet, New York Contemporary Dance Theatre, New Jersey Ballet, San Francisco Contemporary Dance, and Pittsburgh Ballet.
Ms. Macino attributes the success of her teaching to tradition, perseverance, and meticulous attention to detail.