INSTRUCTORS & FACULTY OF DANCE

MIA KLINGER Artistic Director

Mia Klinger's remarkable journey in the world of dance spans decades, leaving an indelible mark on the art form and countless aspiring dancers. As a founding member of the esteemed Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet (CVYB) since 1975, she has been a driving force behind its success and recognition.

Mia's passion for dance ignited under the tutelage of her mother Nan Klinger, and she further honed her skills at prestigious institutions such as the School of American Ballet, Melissa Hayden Studio, and Steps Studio in New York City. After graduating from the renowned North Carolina School of the Arts, Mia showcased her talent as part of NCSA's touring dance ensemble.Renowned not only as a dancer but also as a premier teacher and coach, Mia sought to expand her teaching abilities by studying under mentors like John White of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet Society and Marcia Dale-Weary of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Katrina Killian of the School of American Ballet. Her unwavering dedication to her school, students, and instructors has earned national acclaim for the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, now known as Ballet Excel Ohio, and Nan Klinger Excellence in Dance for their exceptional training standards.

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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.

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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.

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MEGAN KLAMERT

Megan Klamert is an alumna of Nan Klinger’s Excellence in Dance and Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet dba Ballet Excel Ohio. She attended summer intensives at Chautauqua Institute, Saratoga Springs, NY, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Indiana University before continuing her training at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

There, she earned a Bachelor of Science and Outside Field (BSOF) degree in Ballet and Kinesiology and a minor in Psychology. She then moved to Hartford, Connecticut to perform professionally and teach. She was Ballet Mistress for Ballet Theatre Company in West Hartford, CT for three seasons assisting in staging and producing full-length ballets as well as small collaborative community performances.

She moved back to Ohio in 2020 and lives with her fiance, Rob, and kitty, Baby Squirrel, in Shaker Heights, OH. With an ever-growing interest and curiosity in kinesiology, she became a Certified Personal Trainer and currently instructs adult fitness classes at Lifetime Fitness in Beachwood. Megan is happy to be back in the studios where she grew up to inspire the next generation of dancers!

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RENEE CLIPPINGER

Renee Clippinger started dancing at the age of three at Midwest School of Ballet in Amherst, Ohio. She trained in styles of ballet, contemporary, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, and hip- hop. She competed as a member of their company team from the ages of 10-17. She started choreographing her competition solos at the age of 14 and went on to start choreographing for their competition team and recitals. After graduating from Firelands High School in 2021, she went on to further her education at The University of Akron.

Studying Psychology and Dance, she has had numerous opportunities through this institution. At UA, she was a member of The University of Akron Dance Team from 2021-2023, performing at UA football and basketball games furthering her training in jazz, hip-hop, and pom. Through the University of Akron Dance Team, she had the opportunity to perform at the National Dance Alliance College Nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida. In the dance program at UA, she has had the opportunity to perform in numerous works as a member of The University of Akron Dance Company in their fall and spring UADC performances. She is also an active member of Terpsichore Dance Club, where she is currently the Vice President. Through Terpsichore, she has had the opportunity to choreograph work for their Underclassmen Showcase, as well as perform in their annual Spring into Dance Showcase working with various student choreographers.

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TAMI SMALL

Tami Small grew up in Mogadore, Ohio. Her performing career runs the gamut from musicals to classical theater to ballets to TV and film. Favorite performances include “The Bakkhai” with The Great Lakes Theater Festival and La Fille Mal Gardee as Widow Simone with The Hudson Valley Dance Theater in NY. Her choreography has been seen at The Tupperware Auditorium in Orlando, Fl and Town Hall Theater in NYC.

Tami started her dance training in Ellet with Pat Lewis, later studying at The Akron Fine & Performing Arts Center under Brad French, Suzanne Winland, and Kim Raines-Colton. She’s also studied with Carole Alexis, Tom Evert, Jeff Shade,and Mdme Peff Modelski among many others. Tami still takes class whenever she can.

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CECILY HERCHEK

Cecily Herchek hails from northeast Ohio where she has founded her dance career. Having been a competitive dancer for 12 years, Cecily is well rounded in many forms of dance, but her passion is tap. She has had the honor of traveling the country, working with many highly acclaimed and respected tap dancers. Currently, she regularly trains with her mentor, Jason-Samuels Smith. Cecily is also a founding member of the Ohio Elite Tap Company. Among many competitive dance accomplishments, she has also had the privilege of performing as an All-Star dancer for Showstoppers and being the first overall winner of the international, Australian-based, Ooh La La Dance Extravaganza Competition. She has also been recognized by the state of Ohio as gifted and talented in dance with the first-ever perfect evaluation score. Cecily had the extreme honor of being invited to perform with the esteemed members of Rhythm ISS... at the Tapology Call and Response Concert in Flint, Michigan. Additionally, she has also toured with Tapology as a performer in Seattle, Washington. During her inaugural year as a choreographer, Cecily brought success to her students with award-and-Title winning choreography. Most recently, Cecily was commissioned to set choreography on Youngstown State University’s theater students for their spring musical: Once Upon A Mattress. In addition to her outstanding choreographic skills, she continues to work rigorously as an educator, passing down the techniques of tap dance. Cecily is beyond blessed for the opportunities she has received so far and is excited to see what the future brings.

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