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Dance Faculty Bios

Mia Klinger, Artistic Director

Ms. Klinger is a founding member of the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet since 1975.  After studying under Nan Klinger, Mia went on to study as a scholarship student with the School of 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 Ballet Excel Ohio, formerly know as 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 Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Briansky Saratoga Ballet  Center in Saratoga Springs, New York, Vevey Youth Ballet in Vevey,  Switzerland and 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 Variations 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.  Mia served as artistic assistant when the CVYB toured Taiwan in 1992, and assisted in many rehearsals before being named Artistic Associate in 1999 and Artistic Director in 2001. Since being named Artistic Director, Mia has played an integral role in creating the International Youth Festival held annually in Vevey, Switzerland in which her students take class and perform with dancers from around the world including England, Russia, South America and Switzerland.  In 2005, the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet was asked to perform Madeline at the Circus at Symphony Space in New York City, fulfilling the dream of founding artistic director Nan Klinger.



Kimberly Payne, Dance Program Coordinator

Kimberly Payne is an administrator, instructor, choreographer and teaching artist.  Kimberly has a degree in dance from The Scandinavian Institute for Physical Culture in Denmark and The University of Akron (Jerry Burr, Inna Strabova, Lana Carroll, Kay Davis, Tom Smith, Alexander Vedmedev, Andrew Carroll, Heinz Poll, and Donald McCardle). She is a certified trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine. Payne’s continued studies have been through; Kent State University; Ballet Magnificat! in Jackson, Mississippi; Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts; and Addeum Dance in Texas (Merce Cunningham, Meredeth Monk, Craig Patterson, Patricia Lent, Susanna Chaffey, Jennifer Way, Milton Myers, Dianne McIntyre, and Luigi).

As a dancer she has performed professionally with Leaven Dance Company, Ohio and Lori Belilove & Company, New York.   Payne served as adjunct faculty at Kent State University, taught at Ohio Dance Festival, choreographed for The University of Akron Faculty & Friends, and began the Living Fountain Dance Company in Northeastern Ohio.  From 1993 – 2010 the company was based in Canton, Ohio. During this time she implemented the JOYDANCE program for Community Health Services in Summit County.  The program was made possible by an Ohio Criminal Justice grant and the Ohio Arts Council.  Under Payne’s direction Living Fountain Dance Company custom designed dance theater education programs for SMHA, Massillon Recreation Department, Kent State University Stark Campus, Malone University (Dance tour in Ukrainian Orphanages), First Friends Church, Edgewood Community Center, and True Impact (a motivational assembly touring Stark Co. middle schools). Payne retired from directing the Living Fountain Dance Company in 2008 having produced 53 dance or multimedia concerts, including 5 live music projects, and 3 accompanied by symphony.

In the Fall of 2009 Payne began working as a freelance choreographer for theater and dance companies in Northeastern Ohio.  She enjoyed writing a curriculum for teaching elementary math & sciences through movement. Working in collaboration with ArtsInStark and the Arts Academy at Summit Payne led 10 of the 17 Stark County District’s Elementary & Middle Schools in weekly workshops. Each school experienced dramatic results and ArtsInStark was awarded the Community Impact Award from Inside Business Magazine.

Payne continues to develop cutting edge programming.  Her expressive therapy workshop was offered at Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health of Stark County during the fall of 2014.  She was asked to perform original choreography for the International Clarinet Festival in Assissi, Italy and toured the region performing with Dr. Cynthia Krenzel and Classical Pianist, Stefanos Spanopoulos. Payne has been passionate about education of the whole person through the arts her entire life. She has taught about this through a variety of workshops and lecture demonstrations for 29 years.




Carson Sandiford


Carson Sandiford-Hoxie, 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 And So It Was, and George Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie around the United States, Canada, and Italy.


Lauren Stenroos


Lauren Stenroos is currently a dancer with Cleveland Ballet under the artistic direction of Gladisa Guadalupe and Ballet Mistress Cynthia Graham.   Previously, she has danced professionally with Lake Erie Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Dayton Ballet, and Ballet Montana.  She has also appeared as a guest dancer at Williamsport Civic Ballet, James Sewell Ballet, Texture Contemporary Ballet, Lake Erie Ballet, and Mercyhurst University.

Lauren received her early training from the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet (Now called Ballet Excel Ohio) under Nan and Mia Klinger.  While at CVYB she had the unique opportunity to perform in original ballets choreographed by Michael Vernon, Francis Patrelle, Tom Gold, James Sewell, and Bill Hastings.   She also attended summer intensives on scholarship at Chautauqua Institution, Richmond Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Cleveland San Jose Ballet. She graduated with a B.A. degree in Dance with a Minor in Music Composition from Mercyhurst University.

Lauren was recently featured as Swanilda in Ramon Oller’s world premiere of Coppelia with Cleveland Ballet and as Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker.

She has also enjoyed performing in works by George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Septime Webre, Stuart Sebastian, James Sewell, Jon Rodriguez, Amy Seiwert, Gina Patterson, Gina Walther, Lesley Bories-Scalise, Paul Vasterling, Gladisa Guadalupe, and Ramon Thielen.

In addition to dancing, Lauren is a composer and has created original works for dance.  In addition to teaching ballet at Wayne Center Ballet and other schools around Northeast Ohio, she also is certified in Pilates and teaches mat and reformer classes.


Katherine Tackett



Katherine was born in Akron, Ohio. She started dancing at the age of three at a small studio called Abbey Dance Center. When she was six she started to train at the Dance Institute at the University of Akron. There she studied under Ana Lobe, Christina Foise and Kay Eichman. While at Dance Institute she performed at the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival and productions of the Snow Maiden. Katherine also had the opportunity to perform with the University of Akron Dance Company in various works choreographed by Sydney Spohn and Robert Wesner.  She spent summers training at the Dance Institute and the School of American Ballet. Katherine went to the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music where she graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet. During a summer intensive at Cincinnati Ballet at the age of 20 she was asked to join the company as a trainee. Katherine danced with the company in the Nutcracker and other various performances with the Cincinnati Ballet Second Company. Katherine now dances with Neos Dance Theatre where she has performed in the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival, Ballet at the Brickyard, Symbiosis and a 1940s Nutcracker. She is thrilled to pass her knowledge of dance down to the students here at Wayne Center for the Arts.


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.


Katie Zareckikatie zarecki head shot

Young Dancer Musical Theatre & Tap

Katie Zarecki has been dancing for 25 years. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, ballroom, and lyrical. She has worked as a resident choreographer for Cleveland Heights High School and choreographed for various theaters and schools in the Cleveland area. Some of which are, Blank Canvas Theatre, The Valentine, and Ashland University. She graduated from Bowling Green State University with Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. Her love of musical theatre has carried into adulthood and provided a life long passion that she continues to pursue everyday onstage and offstage.


BallroomYvonne and Niklas Manz began dancing International style ballroom (Standard and Latin American) as teenagers in Germany and have been dancing together in Standard competitions since 1993. They specialized in formation team dancing (eight couples dancing a six-minute choreographed routine that includes all five standard dances with synchronized movements). With their team, the Braunschweiger DanceSport Club (BTSC), they won the German National Championship four times.
As members of the German national team, they won the European Championship in 1995 and 1997. The highlight of their formation-dancing career was in 2000, where the team won the title of World Champion in standard formation dancing. In 2008, Yvonne and Niklas were awarded the medal of honor for outstanding athletic achievements and exemplary human and moral attitude as members of the German national ballroom formation team.
After Yvonne finished her master’s degree in Management and Economics and Niklas his Ph.D. in Physics they married and moved to the US, where they have competed as a single couple. They became certified instructors for social dance in 2001, as well as trainers in competitive ballroom dancing in 2002.
They both enjoy sharing their experience as a dancers with students. Through laughter, a little sweat, and of course, dancing, they want to give everyone the chance to have a new creative outlet or social activity, have a access to a different art form, or even to become a competitive ballroom dancer.