ABOUT

THE COMPANY

Ballet Excel Ohio, formerly Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, is a nationally acclaimed pre-professional dance company which performs original works under the artistic direction of Mia Klinger. The 40+ classically trained male and female dancers, ages 8-18, are privileged to work with renowned choreographers from throughout our region and across the country. Ballet Excel Ohio company members are trained at Nan Klinger’s Excellence in Dance Studio.

In addition to providing professional level training and performance opportunities to talented young dancers, Ballet Excel Ohio educates young audiences in the art of ballet through our performances. Our educational programs focus on making original, technically superior works of art accessible to young people through our company of dancers and our extensive arts outreach programs.

Arts education is a critical component of the overall academic success of young people. Studies show that students with an arts-rich education have better grade point averages, have lower drop-out rates and score better on standardized tests in reading and math. In support of these findings, Ballet Excel Ohio offers a variety of outreach programs to educate and engage local children and their families.

Ballet Excel Ohio, formerly Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, is a nationally acclaimed pre-professional dance company which performs original works under the artistic direction of Mia Klinger. The 40+ classically trained male and female dancers, ages 8-18, are privileged to work with renowned choreographers from throughout our region and across the country. Ballet Excel Ohio company members are trained at Nan Klinger’s Excellence in Dance Studio.

In addition to providing professional level training and performance opportunities to talented young dancers, Ballet Excel Ohio educates young audiences in the art of ballet through our performances. Our educational programs focus on making original, technically superior works of art accessible to young people through our company of dancers and our extensive arts outreach programs.

Arts education is a critical component of the overall academic success of young people. Studies show that students with an arts-rich education have better grade point averages, have lower drop-out rates and score better on standardized tests in reading and math. In support of these findings, Ballet Excel Ohio offers a variety of outreach programs to educate and engage local children and their families.

NAN KLINGER FOUNDING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Nan Klinger, Founding Artistic Director of the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet (now renamed Ballet Excel Ohio), was a pioneer of the concept of a pre-professional youth ballet company performing original ballets. An Akron native, her early ballet training was with her mother, Gertrude Holvey Harris. She also studied extensively at the American Theater Wing, and attended Kent State University.

Nan’s first studio was in the basement of her home, where she taught ballet while raising her six children. An instructor during the early years of the University of Akron’s Dance Institute, in 1966 she was chosen as one of forty ballet teachers nationwide for a Ford Foundation project to develop young ballet talents. This project included yearly professional adjudication of her students by the New York City Ballet. Nan’s close contact with NYCB artistic director George Balanchine and his creative work with young dancers encouraged Nan to start her own youth ballet in 1975. In 2000 the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet celebrated its 25th season.

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Nan’s teaching ability helped place many of her students in professional ballet companies in the United States and abroad. Northern Ohio Live honored Nan and the CVYB with an Award of Achievement Honorable Mention in Dance in 1990, ’92, and ’93, and in 2000 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1992 she led the CVYB on its first international performance tour in Taiwan as part of the First International Children’s Festival, and in 1993 she received the Akron Woman of the Year Perseverance Award as part of Women’s History Week Project.

In 2001 the dance community honored Nan by awarding her the Chautauqua School of Dance Artist Teacher Award in the amphitheater at Chautauqua Institution. Nan also received the OhioDance Award in Dance Education at the 25th Anniversary OhioDance Festival in Cleveland. In addition, the Akron Area Arts Alliance awarded Nan the Lifetime Achievement Award at its inaugural Arts Alive awards ceremony.

Miss Nan’s goals for the CVYB remained constant: to teach talented children sound technical and artistic skills, coach them to use those skills in a professional-style performance environment, help them develop strong personal character, and develop young audiences who learn to appreciate and enjoy ballet.

Nan Klinger passed away on January 29, 2003. Miss Nan’s love of ballet, her unerring artistic sensibility and creativity, her strength of character and determination will long be remembered. Over 230 young dancers have passed through the CVYB and graduates have gone on to professional dancing careers with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Cleveland Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, Ballet Florida, BalletMet, Boston Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Fort Worth Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Memphis Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and Ohio Ballet. Other alumni are dance teachers or involved in arts programs across the country.

MISSION & HISTORY

MISSION STATEMENT

  • To provide professional level training and performance opportunities to talented young dancers.

  • To educate young audiences in the art of ballet through original children’s ballets performed by children, for children.

HISTORY

Ballet Excel Ohio is one of the oldest youth ballets in the country. Founded in 1975 by Nan Klinger, we were the first youth ballet in the state and are one of the 10 oldest in the country. In fact, since Ballet Excel Ohio’s first performance in 1976, we have brought professional quality, original children’s ballets to young audiences throughout Northeast Ohio.

The company has a collection of more than thirty-five original, choreographed ballets in our repertoire, and is known throughout the country for our innovative, exciting and technically superior performances. Each year, choreographers travel to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio to work with our dancers, and two to four repertory pieces are cast and performed each year. Past productions have included storybook favorites like The Little Mermaid, Madeline at the Circus, and Beauty and the Beast.

MISSION & HISTORY

MISSION STATEMENT

  • To provide professional level training and performance opportunities to talented young dancers.

  • To educate young audiences in the art of ballet through original children’s ballets performed by children, for children.

HISTORY

Ballet Excel Ohio is one of the oldest youth ballets in the country. Founded in 1975 by Nan Klinger, we were the first youth ballet in the state and are one of the 10 oldest in the country. In fact, since Ballet Excel Ohio’s first performance in 1976, we have brought professional quality, original children’s ballets to young audiences throughout Northeast Ohio.

The company has a collection of more than thirty-five original, choreographed ballets in our repertoire, and is known throughout the country for our innovative, exciting and technically superior performances. Each year, choreographers travel to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio to work with our dancers, and two to four repertory pieces are cast and performed each year. Past productions have included storybook favorites like The Little Mermaid, Madeline at the Circus, and Beauty and the Beast.

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MIA KLINGER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

MIA KLINGER, Ballet Excel Ohio’s Artistic Director, was a founding member of the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, now renamed Ballet Excel Ohio. After training with her mother, Nan Klinger, Mia went on to study as a scholarship student with the School of the American Ballet, Melissa Hayden Studio and Steps Studio in New York City. She is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she performed with NCSA's touring dance ensemble.

A premier teacher and coach, Mia has studied many years under her mother Nan Klinger, John White of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet Society, Marcia Dale-Weary of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, School of American Ballet, Ballet Academy East and many others. Her unequaled dedication to her school, students and instructors and her unique teaching style has brought national attention to the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet and Excellence in Dance for being one of the top training schools in the country. She has guest taught at Briansky Saratoga Ballet Center in Saratoga Springs, New York, Vevey Youth Ballet in Vevey, Switzerland, West London School of Dance in London, England and many others.  Mia joined the faculty of Excellence in Dance Studio in 1989, where she has continued to meet the growing needs of the pre-professional program. Since 1989 she has introduced Variation Class, where the most advanced students learn world-renowned choreography, Men's class and Partnering for the increasing numbers of young men studying ballet and a Choreographic Workshop in which veteran dancers create original dances and compositions for the Excellence In Dance Spring Workshop. Many of her students are now enjoying professional dance careers, excelling in college dance programs and teaching dance throughout the world.

Mia served as Artistic Assistant when the ballet company toured Taiwan in 1992, and assisted in many rehearsals before being named Artistic Associate in 1999 and Artistic Director in 2001. Since being named Artistic Director, Mia has played an integral role in creating the International Youth Festival in Vevey, Switzerland in which her took students classes and performed with dancers from around the world including England, Russia, South Africa, and Switzerland. In 2005, the company was asked to perform Madeline At The Circus at Symphony Space in New York City, fulfilling the dream of Founding Artistic Director, Nan Klinger.  In 2010, they also performed Fancy Nancy at Symphony Space in New York City.  Mia’s artistic vision has brought two new holiday ballets and ten new modern and classical ballets to the repertoire.  In 2011, the ballet company was recognized among the 2011 Beacon's Best Top 10 for an outstanding contribution to the community as it celebrated its 35th season.  Mia received the Arts Alive! 2011 Award for the Outstanding Artist in Dance, currently serves on the board of OhioDance and is a member of Leadership Akron: 2013-2014 Thirtieth Class.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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Ashleigh Miller

President
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Stephen Banig

Communications
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Tabitha Moneskey

Development
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Mike Butlien

Vice President
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Annie Reagan

Member At-Large
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Jennifer Woods

Administration
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Jill Pildner

Treasurer
Wendy-Greathouse-Member-at-Large-web

Wendy Greathouse

Member At-Large
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Mia Klinger

Artistic Director
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Jackie Zorich

Operations
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Aiesha Motley

Secretary

ILLUSTRIOUS ALUMNI OF CVYB/BXO

Elisa Heinsohn

Elisa Heinsohn

1975-1979 CVYB
1982 Actress/Dancer television series “Fame”
1986 Actress “Joey”
1988 Played Meg in “Phantom of the Opera”
2001 Actress in movie “Friends and Family”
1993 Actress Television series “Dark Justice”
Has done several television commercials
2004-Present Owner - Broadway Performing Arts studio in Greater NYC area

Tiffany Kmet

Tiffany Kmet

CVYB 1981-1989
1990-1993 Soloist Boston Ballet
1993-1994 Principal Dancer Ballet Mississippi
1994-1995 Principal Dancer Miami City Ballet
1995-1998 Principal Dancer Ballet Met
1999-2007 Ballet Director New Albany Children’s Ballet Theater
2008-2010 Instructor/Choreographer Carol Walker Dance Academy

Dominic Antonucci

Dominic Antonucci

1983-1989 CVYB
1989-1991  Full Scholarship SAB
1991-1994  American Ballet Theater
1994-2009  Principal Dancer w/ Burmingham Royal Ballet
2009- Present  Ballet Master of Burmingham Royal Ballet

Thecla Harris

Thecla Harris

1983-1990 CVYB
1995-2003 Instructor, National Dance Institute, NYC
1995-2002 Dance Instructor, Broadway Dance Center, Feld Ballet, Steps on Broadway, NY Public Library Outreach Instructor
2003-2012 Artistic Consultant, Momentum Columbus OH
2012-Present Artistic Consultant, Reach Out And Dance, Ballet Excel Ohio Outreach Program
2003-Present Artistic Director, Rosie Theater Kids PS Broadway NYC

Gary Lenington

Gary Lenington

1984-1993 CVYB
1993-1998 Richmond Ballet
1998-2009 Ballet Florida
2010-2014 Groundworks Dance Theater

Chesare Hardy

Chesare Hardy

1988-1999 CVYB
1999-2003 Full Scholarship Julliard
2004-2008 Dre.Dance Under Direction of Taye Diggs and Andrew Palermo
2008-1015 Various movies television commercials
2016-Present Over the past year has been creating a new, more supportive dance leotard

Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy

1988-1992 CVYB
1992-1993 Ballet Met
1993-1995 Nashville Ballet
95-1998 Ohio Ballet 19
1998 Groundworks
1995-1998 and 2000-2005 Ohio Ballet
1999-2000 Cleveland Ballet
2003-2013 Verb Ballet
2013- Present NEOS Dance Theatre

Jordan Pacitti

Jordan Pacitti

1990-1993 CVYB
1993-1999 Full Scholarship Cleveland Ballet and SAB
1999-2010 Pacific Northwest Ballet

Kate Lieberth Lytton

Kate Lieberth Lytton

1991-1998 CVYB
1998-2001 Utah Ballet and Trainee Ballet West
2001-2002 Richmond Ballet
2002-2003 Ballet Memphis
2003-2004 Oakland Ballet
2005-2008 Company C Contemporary Ballet
2003- 2008 Principal Guest Dancer with San Francisco Bay Area Companies

Katie Keith

Katie Keith

1991-1996 CVYB
2001-2004 Texas Ballet Theater
2004-2006 Ohio Ballet
2006-2012 Dayton Ballet
2013-2015 Dances Patrelle
2013-2015 Lydia Johnson Dance

Morgan Stinnett

Morgan Stinnett

1994-2006 CVYB
2009-2011 Texas Ballet Theater
2011- Present Freelance Soloist Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Dances Patrelle, Connecticut Ballet, Cello Pointe, Intermezzo and over 15 other companies
2013-Present Ballet Master for the View Dance Challenge Convention in Canada
2016-2017 Dancer in films “Dancers after Dark”, “Echappe”, “Living the Dream” webseries and “World of Dances” National Geographic
Soloist for “Ballet and Broadway Awards” NYC
2016 Dancer in Cyndi Lauper’s “Home for the Holidays”

Aubrey Klinger

Aubrey Klinger

1995-2005 CVYB
2006-2008 Ballet Blight
2008-2010 Davis Contemporary Dance, Apex
Contemoporary Dance Theatre
2013- Finalist “So You Think You Can Dance”
2010-2014 Thodos Dance Chicago, DanceWorks Chicago, Dayton Arts Project
2014- Choreographer and Director of musical “Date Me, Do Me, Dump Me” by Steven Mitchell
2014-Present Principal Dancer/Rehearsal Director Davis Contemporary Dance

Jackson Sarver

Jackson Sarver

1996-2001 CVYB
2001-2015 Principal Dancer Ballet Met

Ashley Klinger

Ashley Klinger

1997-2007 CVYB
2006-2007 Verb Ballet
2010-2011 A Chorus Line National and International Tour
Merry Widow w/ Lyric Opera- Soloist Dancer
Cirque de Soleil National Touring
2 Victoria Secret Commercials
“Asura” dancer, filmed in China
“Love and Other Drugs” dancer
“Law and Order SVU” actress
Starring as Ginger Rogers in Saks 5th Ave. “Holiday Show”

Jessica Welch Thomas

Jessica Welch Thomas

1997-2006 CVYB
2011-2013 Sapphire Moon Dance Company

Lauren Stenroos

Lauren Stenroos

1998-2005 CVYB
2009-2011 Nashville Ballet
2011-2015 Dayton Ballet
2012 Ballet Montana
2012 Texture Contemporary Ballet
2014 James Sewell Ballet
2015-Present Cleveland Ballet

Katie Spagnoletti

Katie Spagnoletti

2001-2008 CVYB
2010-present Soloist San Diego City Ballet

Brianna Habel

Brianna Habel

2001-2007 CVYB
2010 2012 Cincinnati Ballet
2012-2014 Nashville Ballet
2014-2015 Columbia Classical Ballet
2015-2016 Nevada Ballet Theater
2016- 2017 NEOS
2017-present Cleveland Ballet

Dustin True

Dustin True

2004-2009 CVYB
2009-2012 Full Scholarship SAB
2012-2017 Soloist Los Angeles Ballet
2017- 2019 Soloist Ballett Dortmund, Germany
2019-present Dutch National Ballet

Nancy Cantine

Nancy Cantine

2004-2009 CVYB
2013-2104 D.C. Contemporary Dance Theater
2014-2016 Egelevsky Ballet, Dances Patrelle
2015 “Swing!” musical, featured dancer
2016 Featured in the fim “Hanna”
2015- Present Choreographic Commisions for Cedric Gervais, Katy Tiz Ed Kowalczyk Music Videos
2014 Chosen choreographer for Columbia Ballet Collaborative in NYC
2015-2015 Featured in Plays and Musicals by Dianne Nora
2016-Present Advanced Actor Combatant with Society of American Fight Directors