INSTRUCTORS & FACULTY OF DANCE

MIA KLINGER Artistic Director

Ms. Klinger was a founding member of the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, now renamed Ballet Excel Ohio, where she is also the Artistic Director. 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.

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KYLEE FAITH BEHRINGER

Ms. Behringer trained at the Canton Ballet and was a member of the Canton Ballet pre-professional Company for many years. She has danced professionally for the Real Edge Dance Company. She has a BA in psychology from the University of Akron. Teaching experience includes the Starlight School of Dance and The Studio. She has also completed several dancer and choreographer's workshops including Glenda Brown Choreography Project with Glenda Brown and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s student workshop with Marcia Dale Weary. She has also performed at Regional Dance America for multiple years.

She has received in-depth training in ballet, modern, and jazz, as well as contemporary, lyrical, variations, partnering, and conditioning. Her former instructors and choreographers, especially her mentor Angelo Lemmo, influenced her choreography and teaching style. Her approach to classical ballets and choreography has been influenced by the style of Laura Alonso of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Kylee has received awards for her choreography, including Excellence in Choreography from Nexstar (2020) and Solo Choreography Standout Award Beyond the Stars (2020) for her original work. This will be Kylee's first year teaching at Excellence in Dance, with the goal of sharing her love of the art and knowledge of technique with the students.

KRISTEN HABEL

Ms. Habel has danced professionally for the Cleveland Opera, Harbinger Dance Company of Detroit and Cleveland Dancers Repertory Company. She has a BA in Ballet and a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Akron. Teaching experience includes the University of Akron and Harbinger Studios, Detroit Michigan.

She has also completed several teacher’s workshops including Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet’s Vaganova Workshop with John White, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s teacher workshop with Marcia Dale Weary. Kristen has been teaching at Excellence in Dance for over twenty years, honing her own craft of teaching its younger dancers in particular, her goal to share both knowledge and joy! She believes strongly in the benefits and value of dance, whether participation is for fitness and recreation, or as a professional career. Kristen is proud to work at a studio that promotes and encourages both interests, continuing the best of the tradition of ballet.

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SCOTTO HAMED-RAMOS

Scotto Hamed-Ramos was born in Akron, Ohio. He began his ballet training at Nan Klinger's Excellence in Dance Studio at the age of four, and continued training with Houston Ballet Academy.

He joined the Houston Ballet second company (HBII) in 2018. Scotto received The Royal Ballet Achievement Award for two-consecutive years with The Royal Ballet School, Covent Garden. His most memorable roles to date include dancing in the American Civil War-themed work by John Nuemier titled Yondering, Stanton Welch’s Brigade, and dancing Paul Taylor’s Bugle Boy. He is currently dancing with Alberta Ballet.

CAROLYN LOTT

Ms. Lott is currently working towards a Bachelor in Fine Arts for Dance at The University of Akron. She graduated with honors from Stow Munroe Falls Highschool in 2018. Most recently, Carolyn received a featured role in The University of Akron’s fall UADC performance in 2018 and 2019. Carolyn also guest performed in NEOS Dance Theater’s “Petrushka” in 2018, The All City Musical’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in 2018, and The University of Akron’s Dance Institute’s production of “Snow Maiden” in 2019. She received intense classical ballet training in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio at Nan Klinger Excellence in Dance under the instruction of Mia Klinger from 2008 until 2018.

She was a member of Cuyahoga Valley Youth ballet and Ballet Excel Ohio’s youth ballet company performing at the Akron Civic each spring from 2012 until 2018. In addition, Ms. Lott attended summer intensives at BalletMet in 2014 and 2015, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater in 2016, and Cleveland Ballet in 2017. She loves sharing her joy and passion for dance with everyone she meets. Ms. Lott also enjoys spending time with family and working with children any chance she gets.

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LAURIE NIELSEN

Ms. Nielsen grew in Stow and began her dance training at Excellence in Dance at the age of two. She made her first appearance with the CVYB in 2000, as the baby chick in Carnival of The Animals. She became a member of the company in 2003 and continued to perform with CVYB until 2005 when her family was transferred to Canada. Upon graduating at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia, as well as the Stepanova Ballet Academy in Toronto, Canada in 2013, she took her first job as a Trainee with Carolina Ballet. She then continued her career dancing with James Sewell Ballet from 2014-2018. She currently dances with the Tivoli Ballet Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark.

 
 

MARY SHERMAN

Ms. Sherman began her dance training at the age of three in Beaver County Pennsylvania under the direction of Paula Scriva. She graduated from Slippery Rock University with a B.A in Dance with a dream to perform and share her love for dance! She has performed works by a variety of choreographers including Robert Battle, Tara Madsen, Teena Marie, Pearl Ann Porter, Nora Ambrosio, Ursula Payne, Sarah Parker, and Joe Nickel. She has attended and received scholarships for dance intensives such as the American Dance Festival and the Jones Summer Dance Intensive. Her self-choreographed solo “As My Bones Break” was chosen to be featured in the ACDFA 2013 Gala concert in Michigan.

Her professional dance career started while being a member of Continuum Dance Theater in Pittsburgh, PA.. After graduating college she moved to NYC for one year where she danced with the contemporary company Touch Theory Dance Project. After marrying her high school sweetheart, she moved to Chicago where she danced as a member of BISI Dance Company for 4 years. Chicago is where her love of teaching truly took off! At All About Dance Chicago she taught multiple genres to every age group and served as Recreational Director and Starlet Program director. After years or dancing in Chicago, she, her husband, and baby girl moved to Ohio to be closer to family. She is thrilled to now be teaching here in Cuyahoga Falls and to share her excitement and love for dance with the students.

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Hannah Stephens

Hannah Stephens currently attends Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. She graduated from Solon High School with honors in 2018. Her dance training began at Dance Studio M and has continued at Kent State. Hannah has been seen in multiple musicals, including “Chicago” with Millennial Theatre Company and “Heather’s” with Western Reserve Playhouse. She enjoys multiple styles of dance, from jazz to ballet. Hannah loves working with children and teaching dance! 

 
 

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