MIA klinger

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.


Brianna Habel

Brianna began her training at Nan Klinger’s Excellence in Dance Studio. She was a member of the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, now known as Ballet Excel Ohio. She has danced with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Nashville Ballet, and Nevada Ballet Theatre. Brianna earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, where she was invited to be a member of the Cincinnati Ballet. She has also taught academy classes with Cincinnati Ballet. Brianna is currently dancing with Neos Dance Theatre.


carson sandiford-hoxie

A company member with The Cleveland Ballet, started ballet at the age of 13 at Monona Academy of Dance. At sixteen he attended Nutmeg Conservatory, where he graduated from 2 years later. After attending the JKO school at American Ballet Theatre he studied at the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School.  As a member of the Joffrey Ballet's Concert Group in New York he performed works such as Gerald Arpino's Suite Saint Saens, Birthday Variations, and Light Rain, Dwight Rhoden's Ballad Unto, and George Balanchine's Valse Fantasie around the United States, Canada, and Italy.

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chelsea shump

Bio not available


erich yetter

Erich Yetter began his ballet training in Texas under Ingeborg Heuser (Staatsoper Berlin), and later with Fernando Schaffenburg (Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo) at Texas Christian University, and at the Houston Ballet Academy under Ben Stevenson, O.B.E. (Royal Ballet). He studied in New York City with David Howard and Maggie Black and Marjorie Mussman, and subsequently danced as a principal danced in London with Dance For Everyone, and also in Cork, Ireland with The Irish National Ballet.  Upon returning to the states Yetter performed with Ballet Memphis in Tennessee for twelve years, after which he retired from the stage.  During this time, he finished a Bachelor of Music cum laude from the University of Texas at El Paso.  After Memphis, Yetter served ten years as Artistic Director of Peoria Ballet in Illinois, working with international guest artists and building that company’s national reputation. After earning a Master’s of Science in Higher Education from Kaplan University in Chicago, Yetter accepted a position as Visiting Faculty Lecturer in Ballet at The University of Akron, where he taught Advanced and Intermediate Ballet technique, Pointe technique, Ballet History, and a general education course for non-majors entitled Viewing Dance. He also wrote articles for the Chronicle of Higher Education including an extensive interview with Jennifer Homans, who wrote the bestselling book on ballet history, Apollo’s Angels.  Yetter has choreographed and directed over 70 works, from full-length ballets to small chamber dances.  In addition, he has collaborated with and created movement for theaters, opera companies and symphony orchestras. As a dancer, he performed standard classical ballet repertoire as well as ballets by contemporary choreographers such as George Balanchine, Domy Reiter-Soffer, James Clouser and Trey McIntyre.  In 1999 Yetter was awarded the Tennessee Commission for the Arts Individual Fellowship for Choreography and subsequently his dance work, Asturias, was featured at the American Choreographer’s Showcase in Guatemala.  For seven years he adjudicated on the Dance Grant Panel of the Illinois Arts Council, as well as the 2009 Federal Arts Jobs Preservation Grant Panel, dispersing government stimulus funds. In 2010, Yetter received a Challenge America Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for his production of Romeo and Juliet.  In addition to teaching ballet at Case Western Reserve University, Yetter serves on the ballet faculty for Cleveland School of the Arts and the Board of Directors of OhioDance. He has taught master classes for VERB Ballets, The American College Dance Festival, Ohio Northern University, Youngstown State University Dance Festival and the Dance Institute at the University of Akron. He lives in Akron with his wife, Mary Ragna Yetter, and their three children Evan, Clara and Jacob.



juliana freude

Juliana trained at The University of Akron Dance Institute where she was a recipient of the Gena Carroll Scholarship and appeared with The University of Akron Repertory Dance Company in many roles including as a soloist. She has trained with Jennifer Muller Modern Dance, Nashville Ballet, Ohio Dance Theatre, Charleston Ballet Theatre, and Connecticut Ballet. Juliana has performed with the Ohio Ballet and with Nashville Ballet as a trainee and has apprenticed with the Charleston Ballet Theatre. Juliana currently teaches at a number of different dance schools in the area and can be seen performing with NEOs Dance Theatre, where she has been a company member for the past seven years. 


kate lytton

Kate Lieberth Lytton began her pre-professional training under the tutelage of Nan Klinger and the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, now Ballet Excel Ohio. She performed in the 1992 International Children's Festival in Taiwan and originated many of the roles in BXO's repertoire. After graduating with Honors from Our Lady of the Elms, Kate continued her education on scholarship at the University of Utah where she was a member of Utah Ballet and a trainee with Ballet West. Professionally, Kate has performed with Richmond Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Oakland Ballet, and Company C Contemporary Ballet. 

In addition to being an accomplished dancer, Kate has been on faculty at the most prestigious pre-professional academies in the San Francisco Bay Area and taught Master classes and workshops across the country. For 6 years she was the Assistant Director at Ballet America, and has furthered her education in anatomy and kinesiology through multiple dance and fitness trainings and certification programs.

In 2011, Kate became the Dance Program Manager at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Her expertise and knowledge grew the employee dance program from a few social dance classes a week to a comprehensive adult dance training program across multiple disciplines. She quickly moved through the ranks to Global Dance and Group Fitness Program Manager, overseeing programming at 17 North American offices and another 50 globally. She worked on many high level program innovation teams, as well as with leaders in the field at Stanford University.

Kate is currently on faculty at Excellence in Dance studio, and the Administrator for Ballet Excel Ohio. As ROAD®'s Director, she is excited to work with Northeast Ohio schools and provide more children with the opportunity to benefit from an arts education. She lives in Akron with her husband, Alec, also an instructor at Excellence in Dance, and their two daughters.


kristen habel

Kristen 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.


rebeca ramirez vargas

Rebeca is a dancer in the Cleveland Ballet. Originally from Mexico City, she began her ballet training at a local school in Cuernavaca Morelos. At the age of 15, she began her professional training at Fernando Alonso’s Cuban National Ballet School in Havanaunder the direction of Ramona de Saa Bello. At the age of 18 she returned back home to work with the National Ballet Company of Mexico. Later Ms. Ramirez moved to NYC to join the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group under the direction of Davis Robertson. Where she performed choreographies such as Valse Fantaisie and Serenade by George Balanchine, Suite Saint-Saëns, Light Rain, and Viva Vivaldi by Gerald Arpino; as well as many other pieces by Robert Battle, Gabriel Lamb and Dwight Rhoden.