With summer only

now beginning to wind down and the back to school sales ramping up, it may seem strange to already be hard at work for a March 2015 performance.

But the young dancers at Ballet Excel Ohio, which rehearses in Cuyahoga Falls, are already working on the premiere of a new ballet by Tom Gold called "Happy." The dancers gave a sneak peek of the dance Aug. 10 to parents and community members at the Excellence in Dance studio.

Artistic Director Mia Klinger stressed that the ballet was "a work in progress."

"By the time you see the dancers in March, it will look a lot different, especially with the lighting and costumes, and it will be more organized," Klinger said.

Choreographer Gold said that the piece was meant to be fun. He uses familiar, modern day songs, including "Eleanor Rigby" from the Beatles, "Black or White" by Michael Jackson, "California Girls" by Katy Perry and (of course) the ubiquitous "Happy" by Pharrell Williams, that are played on strings.

"One of my main goals is to bring in new audiences to ballet," Gold said. "I have found a lot of people think of ballet as something alien, something dated, that they don't think they can understand. I like to meld contemporary touches so people can realize that 'hey, I can understand it,' and get behind it."

Gold commended the dancers with Ballet Excel Ohio.

"The kids are 100 percent dedicated to working well and rehearsing," he said. "Their parents have dedicated their time to the studio and to make everything work. When I work here, I meet not just the dancers but their families. There is a lot of involvement."

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438