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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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. Carolyn will be dancing professionally with Ballet Legato for the 2022-2023 season. 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.

TIFFANY KMET

Tiffany Kmet began her long and passionate history with ballet at the formative age of eight, influenced and shaped by her teacher, Nan Klinger. Quickly falling in love with the art form, the young Ms. Kmet shined bright amongst her peers at Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet and broadcasted her enchanting talent in every role she received. Kmet’s aptitude for dance did not go unnoticed, as she was one of six students hand picked to perform in the presence of Mr. George Balanchine and promptly granted a full scholarship from the School of American Ballet for three consecutive summers of training. With a solid path built behind her, Kmet could only push forward. Her request for an apprenticeship with the Boston Ballet was accepted, and her dancing career took flight at a mere sixteen years of age.

Kmet toured Spain, performing principal roles as a second company member while honing in on her skills off stage with Ms. Laura Young. However, Kmet desired more, yearning to challenge herself and expand her repertoire. Fernando Bujones answered these wishes with an offer to dance as principle under his directorship with Ballet Mississippi. This professional relationship led Kmet to New York to dance in the Grand Pas de Deux as the titular role of Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker”. Kmet then joined the Miami City Ballet, eager to expand her horizons with the rank of principal dancer once again under her belt. The blossoming young Kmet, now a driving force in the Miami City Ballet, was invited to the internationally renowned Edinburgh Arts Festival all the while being groomed for the lead role in Balanchine’s “Scotch Symphony” by none other than Patricia McBride. Edward Villella’s influence soon followed Kmet, preparing her for major roles in “The Four Temperaments” and “Serenade”.

Deciding to return to her stomping grounds, Kmet joined Ballet Met in Columbus Ohio for several years--performing in “Carmen” under David Nixon’s direction before her dancing career came to a soft close. This was not the end of Kmet’s infatuation for dance, however; in place of her love for professional dancing grew the desire to mentor the future ballerinas of America. Under the coaching of Yoko Inchino, Kmet smoothly transitioned into the most rewarding role of her life: an instructor, developing and sculpting a new generation of dancers as the Pre-Professional Director at New Albany Children’s Ballet Theater--a position in which she stayed for almost eight years. Seven of Kmet’s students moved on to professional ballet careers with illustrious companies while her other students medaled in various dancing techniques as well as continued their studies with revered dance programs around the country.

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ALEC LYTTON

Alec Lytton is a special Lecturer in the University of Akron’s School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration where he teaches ballet and modern dance. He also teaches at the University’s Dance Institute and at 8 Count Dance in Green. From 2006 to 2013 he taught and performed in the San Francisco Bay area, with important roles as a company member of Liss Fain Dance, where he was a member of its international touring company. He was a principal guest artist for Menlowe Ballet, Peninsula Ballet, and he performed for Oakland Ballet. He was an instructor at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Alameda Ballet Academy, and the Academy of American Ballet in the Bay area. For four seasons he was a principal dancer for Company C Contemporary Ballet, and danced works of Twyla Tharp, David Parsons, Paul Taylor, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Patrick Corbin, and Charles Anderson. 

From 2003-2000, he was a soloist with the world renowned Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company at Lincoln Center in New York. He received his BFA in Dance from the Boston Conservatory, and did his early training at The Houston Ballet Academy where upon completion was asked to join the company where he danced for one season. He also attended the prestigious High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas.

BETHANY EILEAN

Bethany’s dance education began just down the road at Studio West Performing Arts Center under the direction of Mark and Erin Smith. Her training continued throughout college and graduated with a BFA in Acting and a minor in Children’s Creative Dance. After graduation she settled in the mountain west, performing at theatres in Utah and Colorado, and training with Frantic Assembly – which led to an invitation to their International Summer School. She spent 10 years with Creede Repertory Theatre as a resident actor and choreographer, working closely with their nationally recognized KID SHOW program. Some of her favorite choreography credits include The Wizard of Oz, 9 to 5, Little Shop of Horrors, and Guys & Dolls. 

After relocating back home, Bethany devised and choreographed The Tree Watcher, an original physical theatre piece that was featured in the New York Times. She also worked with Tony award winning choreographer, Dave Nuemann, on the Netflix film White Noise. Most recently, Bethany joined the Reach Out and Dance! team to bring dance education to underserved classrooms in Northeast Ohio. In addition to her love of performing, Bethany is passionate about mentoring the next generation of dancers. She is thrilled to be joining the staff at Excellence in Dance!

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