The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School Inc
SARASOTA FL 34232-1352

Our mission is to foster global understanding through training a diverse student body of beginning through pre-professional dancers, recruited internationally and locally, in the Cuban ballet style; to provide scholarship assistance for talented students in financial need; to offer diversity in cultural performances in our community; and to bring educational programs and performances to schools, residences for seniors and civic organizations.

CEO/Executive Director Mr. Ariel Serrano
Board Chair Leonard S. Kesten
Board Chair Affiliation Retired
General Info
Former Names
Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, LLC
DanzAmerica Inc.
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2014
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Feb 2018
State Registration Yes Feb 2017
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $621,800.00
Projected Expenses $621,800.00
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of DeterminationView
Impact Statement
1. Successful Outreach program to Sarasota Title I schools
2.2017 Summer Intensive program for 100 participants from throughout the world, culminated in critically acclaimed OnStage performance.
3.Medals Won: April 2017 23rd International Ballet Schools Competition, Havana, Cuba-1 gold 2 bronze, 2 finalists; June 2017 World Ballet Competition, Orlando–2 gold.
4.Dancers invited to perform at World Rowing Championship, Sarasota Opera, Key to the Cure and other community events.
5.Scholarships to more than 1/3 of students
1.Introduce ballet to economically disadvantaged young people and their families
2.Increase the number of scholarships that can be offered to promising people of all ages, including Title 1 students.
3.Sustain and grow existing classes and programs that train the next generation of professional dancers in the Cuban style
4.Help youth company pre-professionals become professionals with training, major performances and participating in competitions.
Needs Statement
  1. General Support to help sustain and grow the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School: $25,000
  2. Funding for outreach program to Title 1 Schools: $20,000
  3. Scholarships for lower income Title 1 school students who are interested in studying ballet; scholarships for students in pre-professional and summer intensive programs who have the talent and commitment to become professionals: $2,000-$6,000 per student, depending on age, need, and whether they attend “school year” program, or summer intensive or both.
  4. Ballet slippers, pointe shoes and tutus: $500 per student
  5. Community Outreach for free dance presentations and performances in community centers and other venues; $1,000 per performance
Background Statement


The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School is the destination for the Cuban style of ballet in the US, a style renowned for athleticism, passion and grace. It incorporates influences from the major classical schools of ballet. According to dance experts this style is changing the face of modern ballet. Local dance critic Carrie Seidman wrote, “It’s not often a veteran dance critic can attend what is essentially a glorified student recital and walk away feeling amazed, impressed and hopeful for the future of ballet. The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School is working diligently and against great financial odds to bring that important tradition, training and magnetism to America and I, for one, hope it gets the support it so badly needs and deserves.”
SCBS was founded in 2012 by the Cuban-born husband and wife team of Ariel Serrano and Wilmian Hernandez. They trained at the elite National Ballet School of Cuba and performed internationally. In 1993 they moved to Sarasota to join the Sarasota Ballet. Co-Artistic Directors of SCBS, they teach classes at all levels for students from age 3 to adult; the heart of the School's program is a rigorous training course to prepare talented, serious young dancers for professional careers.
In the short time SCBS has been in existence -- established in 2012 and recognized as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization in February 2014 – it has established itself as an important member of the Sarasota arts community and is being recognized beyond its borders. Our youth company and pre-professional participants come from throughout the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, S. America, Europe and Asia. Former students perform with the Royal Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Milwaukee Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Boston Ballet, Ballet Manila, and Ballet Municipal de Lima.
SCBS activities include: 1) a full array of dance classes including creative movement for very young children, ballet for children ages six and above, and a pre-professional program, preparing our most skilled students for a career in ballet ; 2) a Summer Intensive program that brings together young people from all over the world who have the talent and drive to become professional dancers; 3) professional level performances for the community at large and 4) programs for Title 1 Schools’ economically disadvantaged elementary school children and their families who might otherwise not have this exposure or opportunity.

Areas Served
Areas Served
Areas Served Comments The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School is located in Sarasota.  We offer classes, and performances by our youth company pre-professionals in Sarasota and reach out to Sarasota’s Title 1 schools.  Our youth company and pre-professional participants come from throughout the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, S. America, Europe and Asia.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Youth Development
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

I chose to support the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, Inc. because I believe in its mission and was confident that the founders would demonstrate through hard work and talent their devotion to the well-being of their students and their desire to help students meet their potential. These founders, Ariel Serrano and Wilmian Hernandez, who defected from Cuba, are  productive members of the community and I believe they deserve the community's support. As a retired businessman, I have volunteered for many large non-profits over the years. Working with a small, new organization, in which I have developed a personal relationship with the founders, has been a very different but very special experience. Everyone involved with the school is working overtime to help us succeed and I am sure we will achieve our goals. I am pleased with the relationships we have established with other non-profit organizations here and how they have welcomed us into the non-profit community. A great example of this is the West Coast Black Theatre. I met with Nate Jacobs, artistic director, and Julie Leach, executive director, to tell them about The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School. I mentioned to them that when Ariel was in Baltimore to speak and demonstrate Cuban training at a professional dance organization’s annual meeting, he had in his class an African American teenager of incredible talent and potential. He invited him to come to our school to train and gave him a scholarship. However, the young man needed a place to live. Nate Jacobs immediately offered to help and quickly found a benefactor who sponsored a room and a food stipend. The young man is now thriving in his dance training. We have noticed this kind of generosity throughout Sarasota’s non-profit community.

Statement from the CEO/Executive Director


The school’s rigorous Pre-Professional program for talented students aiming for dance careers is the most advanced course. It draws international, national and local students, ages 12 to 18. They train for six hours per day and pursue academics.  Out-of- town students live in school-approved housing.  Most also attend the school’s six-week Summer Intensive program. Our pre-professional program is growing by word of mouth as our students win ballet competitions, enter ballet companies and our school receives more media exposure.

Budget $90,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Dance Instruction
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) US& International Minorities
Short Term Success Studying ballet is a healthy form of exercise that builds confidence and poise. Students who succeed at whatever level feel pride in their accomplishments.
Long Term Success Many of our students reach their career goal of becoming professional dancers. Others decide to attend college dance programs and become teachers or arts administrators. 
Program Success Monitoring This program is working because our students are succeeding.
Program Success Examples Students who become professional dancers achieve their goals and are able to support themselves. Over the past four years since the school's founding we have trained students to have joined London's Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Northwest Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem and the Alvin Alley Ballet Company. These achievements reflect well on Sarasota as a center of dance and culture, which is a draw for tourists and helps our economy.
Program Comments by Organization   The school’s rigorous Pre-Professional program for talented students aiming for dance careers is the most advanced course. It draws international, national and local students, ages 12 to 18. They train for six hours per day and pursue academics.  Out-of- town students live in school-approved housing.  Most also attend the school’s six-week Summer Intensive program. Our pre-professional program is growing by word of mouth as our students win ballet competitions, enter ballet companies and our school receives more media exposure. We need community support for this program because many of the best students cannot afford the training and we find it difficult to turn down promising students even if they cannot afford the fees.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Ariel Serrano
CEO Term Start Jan 2012
CEO/Executive Director Email
Experience Ariel Serrano was born in Oriente, Cuba. He began his training at the National School of Arts and then trained in Italy. He returned to Cuba in 1991 and brought his evident talent to Ballet Camaguey, under the direction of Fernando Alonso, where he interpreted principal roles from the classical repertoire: Paquita, La Fille Mal Gardee, Swan Lake, The Flower Festival, Guillermo Tell, Giselle, Coppelia, and Don Quixote. In 1992, he joined the Youth Ballet of the National Ballet of Cuba under Laura Alonso, and under the artistic direction of Alicia Alonso, he delighted audiences with his renditions of the pas de deux in works such as Diana and Acteon, Le Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, and Majismo as well as many contemporary works by Cuban choreographers. 1993 brought Serrano and his wife Wilmian Hernandez to Monterrey, Mexico, to perform with Ann Marie D‘Angelo and her dance company. There he dazzled audiences in principal roles - in the full version of Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Nuestros Valses of Vicente Nebrada, as well as contemporary choreography of Ann Marie D’Angelo. In 1995, Artistic Director Robert de Warren recognized Serrano‘s amazing energy and talent by inviting him to perform as principal with the Sarasota Ballet of Florida. His vibrant adaptations of principal roles in full performances of ballets such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Carmen and a Midsummer Night’s Dream, have brought him great acclaim from Florida audiences. Serrano has worked with many great names of the dance world such as Melissa Hayden, Cynthia Gregory, Fernando Bujones, and Laura Alonso. He has toured Europe, America and Asia and one of the highest honors in Serrano’s young career was the chance to participate in the ballet competition in Helsinki, Finland, where he finished with top honors. In 2012, Ariel, with his wife, Wilmian Hernandez, founded the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School.
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 3
Part Time Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 9
Volunteers 20
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School has become an important member of Sarasota’s arts community. The Sarasota Opera has invited our students to perform in La Traviata.  Our in-house choreographer is collaborating with the appropriate staff at the opera on this opportunity.  We have also collaborated with administrators and staff of Sarasota’s Title 1 schools to introduce students to ballet.  In the near future we will be part of the Age Friendly Sarasota Festival and the Arts Alliance Inspire Sarasota event. 
Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County2015
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Outstanding Teacher, Ariel Serrano; Grand Prix Award, Harold Mendez, studentYouth America Grand Prix, Denver regional competition2016
Students Michael Mengden and Sophie Miklosovic, gold medals in two senior categoriesYouth America Grand Prix, Indianapolis Regional Competition2016
2 students in top seven, Senior Classical DivisionUniversal Ballet Competition, Miramar Florida2016
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 1
Strategic Plan Adopted Jan 2016
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Policies and Procedures No
Multi-Media Comments by Organization

In addition to You-Tube videos we place many videos and photos on our Facebook page. Many of our students also post them on their Facebook students and send them on Instagram and similar sites.


Board Chair
Board Chair Leonard S. Kesten
Company Affiliation Retired
Board Term Jan 2015 to Dec 2017
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Mr. Leonard S. Kesten Retired
Mr. Eric F. Long Community Volunteer
Ms. Theresa Najmolholda Saks Fifth Avenue
Mr. Ariel Serrano The Sarasota Cuban Ballet, Inc.
Mr. Rolando Yanes Milwaukee Ballet
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 2
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 4
Female 1
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 95
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 50
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 50
Standing Committees
Board Development / Board Orientation
Board Governance
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Governance Comments by Organization

The Board recently added a new member Theresa Naymolholda.  She is an enthusiastic member of the Board of Directors and has committed to "spreading the word" in a variety of ways including identifying other potential supporters.  We are fortunate to have a very hands on board. We continue to work to recruit new board members. 

Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2017
Fiscal Year Ends 2017
Projected Revenue $621,800.00
Projected Expenses $621,800.00
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Historical Financial Review
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$351,601$377,407$35,754
Administration Expense$119,063$133,611$33,841
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.111.061.12
Program Expense/Total Expenses75%74%51%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%--
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$85,006$43,143$10,851
Current Assets$83,064$41,201$10,851
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$2,665$4,969$5,845
Total Net Assets$82,341$38,174$5,006
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountEducation & Tuition $214,637Education & Tuition $271,895Program Service Revenue $77,978
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $199,482Contributions, gifts, grants $133,3210 $0
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountStudent Lodging & Meals $49,881Program Service Fees $49,7730 $0
CEO/Executive Director Compensation N/A
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation N/A
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities31.178.291.86
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization

Our income increased significantly in 2015. However, as a young organization we are still experiencing growing pains. To recruit new students to our pre-professional program, which trains young artists for careers in dance, we must be able to offer needs-based scholarships because many of the most talented students do not have the means to pay for their training. We also require additional funds for our outreach programs so that we can continue to bring ballet to Title I schools and people of all ages in culturally underserved areas of  Sarasota. We also need scholarships for ballet lessons for children from Title I schools. We have several of these students taking classes now and would like to increase that number.  

We are addressing these challenges by escalating our fund-raising efforts with individuals corporations and foundations and raising our school’s profile in the community. For example, a new board member, Ed Town, recently introduced us to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County We found that we share many areas of interest and have subsequently received grants from the foundation. We have also won Tourism grants from Sarasota County for our annual “On Stage with the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School at the Sarasota Opera House, which allows us to increase our advertising, and thus our ticket sales. We believe that raising our public profile will help us immensely with our fund-raising, and to that end we have been inviting community groups to short performances by our pre-professional dancers at our black-box studio. One of our donors also hosted a wine and cheese reception for us at our school recently, which has resulted in donations from attendees

Financial Comments by Foundation For 2013, financial information was taken from unaudited compilations prepared by an independent auditor, as the organization filed a 990-N.  For 2014 and 2015, financial information was taken from 990-EZ, along with unaudited compilations.  Contributions include foundation and corporate support. For 2016, financial information was taken solely from compilations as the Federal tax return was not available at time of review. Contributions include both business and individual contributions as they are not separately stated in the compilations.
Nonprofit The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School Inc
Address 501 N BENEVA RD
SARASOTA, FL 34232 1352
Phone 941 365-8400