Mission Statement

Ballet Excel Ohio exists:

1. To provide professional level training and performance opportunities to talented young dancers.
2. To educate young audiences in the art of ballet through original children's ballets performed by children, for children.



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.

Watch the video below and see how Ballet Excel Ohio (formerly Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet) got it's start...

About Us

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 on Tour
Each season, since 1976, Ballet Excel Ohio travels throughout the region, performing annually for more than 9,000 audience members in schools, libraries, and civic venues. These performances are accompanied by a curriculum guide which addresses the themes, story and arts objectives suitable for Common Core Curriculum standards. 

Reach Out and Dance®
Since 1998, Reach Out and Dance® (ROAD®) has brought arts education to area schools through 30 week in-school residencies. ROAD®'s Broadway style residencies bring professional dance and voice instructors and pianists into 4th grade classrooms, and culminate with an in-school end of session performance for parents and peers. ROAD®, our largest community outreach program, utilizes the energetic instruction of dance, voice and drama to help children experience teamwork, self-discipline and increased self-esteem in the classroom. Ballet Excel Ohio is fortunate to have partnered with many community foundations to bring ROAD® to the community at no cost to participants.
Team Excel, ROAD®'s performance troupe, consists of children 5th grade and above who have auditioned to participate. This Broadway themed program allows young people from the community to experience the thrill of performing at the Akron Civic Theatre each year, and in many other community venues. 

Community Tickets Program
Ballet Excel Ohio provides free tickets to children and their families who might otherwise be unable to attend our annual storybook performance series at the Akron Civic Theatre. Each year, more than 30 community organizations partner with us to bring the magic of ballet to as many young audience members as possible.

Go See It! Scouting for the Arts
Go See It! Scouting for the Arts is Ballet Excel Ohio's annual outreach program designed to bring scouts and their families to the ballet each year. Through participation in this program, Cub Scouts can earn their Good Manners belt loop, while Girl Scouts receive a participation patch as a SWAP. Special group rates are available through this program.