In the meantime, Mia Klinger said she has a lot planned.
Klinger is the artistic director of the nonprofit Ballet Excel Ohio and has been with the Excellence in Dance Studio, founded by her mother, Nan Klinger, since 1989. She will bring her syllabus and instructors to the arts center and said she would like to hire local instructors as well. Klinger will work with recently hired dance program manager Alfred Dove, who said he would hire instructors as well as teach the non-ballet dance genres.
Klinger, the founder of Ballet Excel Ohio’s predecessor, the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, studied under her mother and was 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 and performed with its touring dance ensemble.
“We are extremely pleased to have formed this partnership with Mia Klinger to oversee the artistic components of the Wayne Center for the Arts ballet program and company,” said arts center executive director Dayna Sear. “Given her accomplished history of training ballet dancers in both her own studio and with Ballet Excel Ohio, we are fortunate to have her guidance here in Wayne County.”
Klinger said Sear made a convincing pitch. “She just very much really wanted to make sure she was not going to make just a good company,” she said, “but a great company.”
To get started, Klinger said, she wants to teach a short course in August and host a question-and-answer session. “I want to meet the parents. I want to meet the children,” she said. “I want to show them what I have to bring.”
Because of her association with Ballet Excel, Klinger will offer local dancers a chance to audition and perform there, as well as locally. And she will bring a full slate of classes to Wooster; based on the syllabus she has developed over her 30-year career. That includes not only a pre-professional track, she said, but a recreational track for dancers who want to continue training but who cannot make the time commitment to be in the pre-professional program. The recreational track will still have the same instructors and syllabus, but will be taught more slowly, as time permits.
Klinger said she is aware of the recently controversy surrounding the Wayne Center Ballet, but prefers to move forward. “I am there for my love of dance. I know I will be able to gain their trust,” she said. “They’ll know I’m very honest. I’m very caring but I have very high expectations and I think children respond to that.”
And while Klinger said the ballet world is a competitive place, “In my own studio, it’s a family. ... You have to be able to support each other, too.”
She pointed to the fact that the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet was started in 1975 and in its current incarnation is the fourth oldest youth ballet in the country. Klinger also has been a guest instructor at Briansky Saratoga Ballet Center in New York, the Vevey Youth Ballet in Switzerland and West London School of Dance in England. And, Klinger said, her connections in the dance world have made it possible for her to invite top dancers in to instruct her classes as well.
In the end, Klinger said, she wants to build a generation of great dancers locally, as well as “a whole generation of children who appreciate the arts at a higher level.”
Published: June 21, 2015