Classes & Programs / Dance


Spring and Summer 2019


The foundation of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) dance program is rooted in classical ballet. MCA began in 1973 in a one-room dance studio under the direction of Stefannié Valéncia Kierlin as The Ballet School. Classes focus on the development of technique as well as artistry. Today MCA is a full service community arts school housed inside the state-of-the art Valencia Arts Center which features 3 dance studios and a black box theatre.

All levels of ballet at MCA include concepts from the Vaganova, Cecchetti, and RAD methodologies. The classes begin with barre exercises and then progress to performing center and across the floor combinations. Equal emphasis is placed on having both strong technique and artistry of movement. Pointe is introduced to students based on the individual’s skill level, technique and maturity. Our Director of Dance and/or ballet instructors will do an individualized assessment to make sure it is safe for the student to begin pointe work.

Twice yearly written evaluations completed by the student’s instructor and the director of dance and include recommendations for level placement and advancement. New students are invited to join classes at the beginning of each semester, for leveled classes the first week of each session is used to determine placement. Semesters begin in August, January, and May. Performance opportunities are made possible through participation in Dance Repertory Company (DRC) productions. DRC is MCA’s pre-professional dance troupe. To view videos of our ballet program and for more information about our dance program, dress code and accreditation please keep scrolling down.

ballet dancers

Pre-Ballet for 4 year-olds

Playful and engaging first steps into classical ballet.

Day/Dates: Mondays, May 6- June 10 (No class May 27) 

Time: 4:45-5:15 p.m.

Age: 4 by 5/1/19

Price: $38 (5 classes)

Instructor:  R. Ryan-Dahlgren

Pre-Ballet for 5 year-olds

An imaginative, technique based introduction to Classical ballet perfect for your 5 year-old.

Day/Dates:  Mondays, May 6 - June 10 (No class May 27)

Time: 4:00-4:45 p.m.

Age: 5 by 5/1/18

Price: $43 (5 classes)

Instructor: R. Ryan-Dahlgren

Beginning Ballet

Continued introduction to classical ballet. Designed to build coordination, strength and body awareness through a range of creative techniques perfect for your 6 year-old.

Day/Dates: Fridays, May 10-May 14

Time: 4-5 p.m.

Fee: $57 (5 classes)

Age: 6 by 1/1/19

Instructor:  R. Ryan-Dahlgren

NEW! Dance Adventures

Do you have a little one who loves to twist and spin and dance around the room? If so they will love this sampler class which is a blend of creative movement and ballet technique and games.  Students will love expressing themselves through movement, gaining knowledge of different dance forms. and benefit from moving in space with others. (No class May 18)

Day/Dates: Saturdays, May 11 - June 15 (five weeks)

Time: 10:45-11:15 a.m.

Age: 4-6 years by 5/1/19

Fee: $38

Instructor: J. Dienger


MCA Classes & Camps in collaboration with Winona YMCA 

Adventures in Ballet: Super Heroes- ages 3-5, Thursdays, 5:15-5:45pm, March 21- May 23

Beginning Hip Hop- ages 6-9, Thursdays, 4:15-5:00pm, March 21-May 23

Instructor: D. Schleich

Click Here to see full descriptions of YMCA Programs and how to register

Ballet I

Beginning classical ballet basics, including the introduction of barre work.

Day/Dates: Thursdays, May 9-June 13

Time: 4:15-5:15 p.m.

Age: 7 years+ (by 5/1/19)

Price: $57 (6 Classes)

Instructor: R. Ryan-Dahlgren

ballet dancers

Ballet II

Fast beginning level of classical ballet.*

Day/Dates: Wednesdays & Fridays, May 8-June 14

Times: Wednesdays- 5:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m. & Fridays-5:30-6:30 pm

Age: Placement by Instructor

Price: $140 (15 hours/12 classes)

Instructor: D. Schleich (Wednesdays) and R. Racki (Fridays)

ballet instructor

Ballet III

Intermediate level of Classical ballet.*

Day/Dates: Mondays & Fridays, May 6-June 14 ( No class May 27

Time: Mondays, 5:30-6:45 p.m. & Wednesdays, 6:30-7:45 p.m. 

Age: Placement by Instructor

Price: $128 (13.75, 11 classes)

Instructor: R. Ryan-Dahlgren (Mondays) & R. Racki (Fridays)


Ballet IV

Fast intermediate level of Classical ballet including pre-pointe class (for female students).*

Day/Dates: Wednesdays & Thursdays, May 8- June 15

Wednesdays- 5:15-6:45 p.m. (T. Schmidt)
Tuesdays, 6:45-7:30 p.m. (pre-pointe) (T. Schmidt)
Thursdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m. (T. Schmidt)

Age: Placement by Instructor

Price: Females: $196 (21 hours/ 18 classes) $105 Males (12 classes, no pre-pointe)

Want to get even stronger?  Add a PBT class or Level IV students are invited to add a bonus ballet class on Saturday mornings, 9-10:30 a.m.

ballet dancers

Ballet V

Fast intermediate level of Classical ballet including barre for dancers and  pre-/beginning pointe technique (for female students)*

Day/Dates: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays, May 7- June 15 (no class Saturday, May 18)

Tuesdays: 5:15-6:45 pm (R. Racki)

Wednesdays: 5:15-6:45 pm (T. Schmidt)

Thursdays- 5:30-7:00 pm (R. Ryan-Dahlgren)

Saturdays:  9-10:30 am (J. Dienger)

-Pointe class as determined by instructor (Beginning  Pointe-Wednesdays, 6:45-7:30 p.m., Intermediate/Advanced Pointe-Thursdays, 7:15-8:15 p.m.)

Time: See above

Age: Placement by instructor

Price: Females: $365 (39-40.5 hours/29 classes), Males: $309 (34 hours/ 23 classes, no pointe)

ballet dancers

Ballet VI and VII

Advanced level of Classical ballet and conditioning, including  the appropriate level of pointe technique (for female students), Barre for Dancers, and the choice of one appropriate level contemporary, lower level ballet or conditioning class. Choices include: Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, Barre, or Yoga.

Day/Dates: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays, May 7- June 15 (No class Saturday, May 18)

Tuesdays- 5:15-6:45 p.m. (R. Racki)
Wednesdays- 5:15-6:45 p.m. (T. Schmidt)
Thursdays- 5:30-7:00 p.m. (R. Ryan-Dahlgren)
Saturday- 9:00 a.m.- 10:30 a.m. (J. Dienger) 

-Enrollment choice in appropriate level of Modern, Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Hip Hop, Barre Sculpt, Yoga or lower level ballet class weekly.

-Pointe class as determined by instructor (Beginning  Pointe- Wednesdays, 6:45-7:30 p.m., Intermediate/Advanced Pointe- Thursdays, 7:15-8:15 p.m.)

Time: See above

Age: Placement by instructor

Price: Females: $395 (44-49.5 hours, 34-35 classes), Males: $339 (28-29classes/ 39-43 hours, no pointe)

Classical Ballet Pointe Technique

Placement is determined by instructor. Tuition is included in the Ballet V, VI or VII class fee.

Pre/Beg  Pointe- Tuesdays, 6:45-7:30 p.m.  (T. Schmidt)

Int./Adv Pointe- Thursdays, 7:15-8:15 p.m. (T. Schmidt)

Progressing Ballet Technique 

This class utilizes exercise balls and bands to develop muscle memory for increasing strength, stability, flexibility and range of motion for all dance genres, but is specifically designed for the demands of ballet technique.  A small class size of only 8-10 ensures that each dancer has the benefit of personal corrections from the instructor.  Dancers aged 12 and up are welcome, no experience necessary for the Beg/Int. class. No discounts may be applied to this class.

Beginning/ Intermediate Level: Mondays, May 6- June 10, 4-5 p.m. (No class May 27 or June 3)

Intermediate/Advanced Level: Wednesdays , May 8 - June 12, 4-5 p.m. (No class May 29)

Age: 12+

Fee: $30

Instructor: T. Schmidt, Licensed and Certified PBT Instructor


Are you ready for a new challenge?  Make the time in your schedule for this high-energy, low-impact workout, taught by a certified instructor. A unique combination of strength work and cardio intervals that will reshape your muscles while elevating your heart rate. You will leave stronger in both body and mind.  Whether you have a limited or extensive background in dance, you will love this fast moving, fun style of exercise. Attend twice a week for optimal results!


Winter (C): Tuesdays, March 12-April 23, 7:00-8:00pm $59 (7 classes), J. Goyette

Winter (D): Thursdays, March 7-April 25 (no class March 21 or April 11), 7:00-7:00pm $51,  (6 classes) J. Dienger

Spring (A) :Tuesdays, May 7-June 25, 7-8 p.m., $68 (eight weeks) J. Goyette, Certified Barre Connect  Fitness Instructor

Spring (B): Thursdays, May 9-June 27, 7-8 p.m., $68 (eight weeks), J. Dienger, Certified PulsePointe Fitness Instructor

Summer (A): Tuesdays, July 9- Aug. 20, 6-7 p.m., $59 (seven weeks),  J. Goyette, Certified Barre Connect  Fitness Instructor

Summer (B): Thursdays, July 11-Aug. 22, 6-7 p.m., $59 (seven weeks), J. Dienger, Certified PulsePointe Fitness Instructor

Age:  Ages 14 & up

Instructor: As listed above

MCA Punch Card Accepted for all Barre Classes

Open Ballet

Experience the artistry of ballet while gaining flexibility, placement, strength, and fluidity in this ballet technique and conditioning class. All levels are welcome, no experience necessary. 


Fall B: Mondays, Oct. 22-Dec. 10 (No Nov. 19), 5:45-7pm $70 (7 classes)

Winter B: Mondays, March 11- April 22, 5:45- 7 p.m., $70 (7 Classes)

Spring: Mondays, May 6- June 10, 5:50-7pm $48 (5 classes)

Age: Ages 14 & up 

Instructor: A. Honecker-Sherman

MCA Punch Card Accepted

Stay Strong August Session

Stay strong this summer.  Buy a 3 or 6 class punch card and attend the Ballet or Contemporary classes that fit in your summer schedule.

Stay Strong Ballet

Day: Tuesdays, Aug. 6-12

Times: 4:30-6 p.m.

This is a mixed-level ballet class for students in Ballet IV+ or dancers with an equivalent level of training.

Stay Strong Contemporary

This mixed-level class will include instruction in Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern and conditioning. This class is open to students in Modern III+, Jazz III+, Hip Hop III+, or Ballet IV+ or equivalent level of training.

Day: Thursdays, Aug. 8-12

Times: 4:30-6 p.m.

Stay Strong Fees:

3 class punch card- $40

6 classes punch card- $80

Island Style

Come join us on a journey to the Pacific rim where you will make new friends as you dance stories with your hands and feet, drum island beats, craft your own lei and much more during this artistic and imaginative adventure. Families are invited to an open house at 10:15 am on the last day of camp.

Dates: August 12-16, M-F

Time: 9:30-11:30 am

Ages: Preschool (3-5 years) & K-1st grade (students must be potty-trained)

Price: $69, fee includes a camp t-shirt


Dance Repertory Company

In addition to dance classes, an exciting part of learning experience for MCA students is performance opportunities. Students may audition for MCA's pre-professional performing ensemble, the Dance Repertory Company (DRC), or MCA's junior performing troupe, Dance Repertory Company II. DRC produces two production annually. Biannually DRC presents a full-length production of the traditional holiday classic The Nutcracker.  

Important Upcoming DRC & DRC II Dates

Classically Speaking, DRC Annual Spring Dance Concert Performances: April 11-13 at the Page Theatre on the Saint Mary's University Campus

DRC II Biannual Auditions: Sept. 7th, 2019 at MCA, beginning- intermediate dancers 5-13 years-old invited to audition for ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and hip hop pieces.

Next MCA Nutcracker will be in 2020.

For more information about auditioning for DRC, ordering tickets or past productions click here.

NEW! Young Dancer Intensive

Do you dance in your dreams and everywhere you go? Grab your dancing shoes and get ready to spin and soar. We will start each day off with ballet to build a strong dance foundation, then explore a “genre of the day” class including jazz, modern, or hip hop and end the day with a creative class such as costume design or acting to ignite your imagination and performance skills. No dance experience necessary.

Dates: June 24-28, M-F

Time: 1-4 pm

Age: 6-9 years

Fee: $119, Fee includes a camp t-shirt. Students will need to bring a snack and water bottle daily.

Learn More

Junior Training Program for Dancers (formally known as Mini-Summer Dance Intensive)

Are you ready to dance your day away? Here is your chance! Each day dancers will warm up in a ballet class, build foot and ankle strength in pre-pointe, dabble in different theory classes such as dance history, composition (choreography), and theatre, rounding out their dance experience with a “genre of the day” class, including jazz, modern, musical theatre and hip hop. Each day will end with a rehearsal for a final showcase that will be in our Academy Theatre for friends and family. Back for the second year, we will have special guest artist Natasha Posey, who is on faculty at Milwaukee Ballet joining us in addition to our fabulous MCA faculty.

No auditions are required, but it is recommended that dancers have at least 3 years of training.

Dates: June 17-28, M-F

Time: 9am-4pm, Performance- June 28, 6:30pm

Age: 9 years- High School (at least 3 years of ballet training)

Fee: $375 Fee includes over 60 hours of instruction and camp t-shirt. Students will need to bring a lunch and water bottle daily.

*Intermediate & Advanced Dancers 11 years-22 years please visit our website for details about our audition based 3-week Summer Dance Intensive with a boarding option, July 7-27, 2019.

Learn More

Summer Dance Intensive

Experience the nurturing and intimate atmosphere of the 16th annual Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts Summer Dance Intensive If you are an intermediate or advanced dancer between the ages of 11 and 22, who is ready for your dance technique to soar to new heights, then this is the intensive for you! You will spend 7 to 9 hours of your day studying dance in technique classes and rehearsals under the direction of seasoned, professional instructors. Auditions are required for acceptance. 

Dates: July 7-27, 2019 Daily

Age: 11-22

Price: TBA *Talent-based scholarships and returning student discounts available.

Learn More!

About MCA's Dance Program

MCA is an affiliate program of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota's Department of Theatre and Dance. Students at the university, or those taking a post-secondary education option (PSEO) for high school, can get university credit towards their major, minor or PE credit, when they take an upper level MCA dance class. Our younger dancers also get the opportunity to perform in main-stage university productions, due to this connection, such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Le Corsaire, etc.

The Conservatory's Dance Repertory Company puts on a biannual Nutcracker, as well as a full-length performance every April. This production is either a full-length story ballet, or contemporary dance concert choreographed by a variety of professional choreographers from across the region. For the winters in years that there is not a Nutcracker, MCA produces a dance showcase in our black box theatre for the younger dancers, as well as pieces choreographed by students that have taken the Choreography class at the Conservatory. When possible dance classes also perform at local establishments and events. MCA's dance program does not participate in competitions, nor does it do recitals.

MCA's dance division offers students exciting technique classes and performance opportunities in a nurturing and rigorous but non-competitive environment with qualified instructors. MCA successfully prepares students for future arts-related professional and educational pursuits.

Students and alumni have studied at or performed with:

  • American Ballet Theatre
  • Ananya Dance Theatre
  • Ballet Austin
  • Ballet Chicago
  • Broadway
  • Butler University
  • Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
  • Chicago Human Rhythm Project
  • Colorado Ballet
  • Columbia College
  • Continental Ballet
  • Eastman School of Music – Rochester University
  • Joffery Ballet
  • Juilliard
  • Limon Dance Company
  • Milwaukee Ballet School
  • Minnesota Ballet School
  • Minnesota Dance Theatre’s The Dance Institute
  • Radio City Music Hall Rockettes
  • Saint Olaf College
  • St. Paul City Ballet
  • Texas Christian University
  • The Laban Institute
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • University of Missouri Kansas City
  • University of Oklahoma
  • and Wichita State University among others.

Whether you or your child dreams of dancing professionally or just want to reek the benefits of a fun, enriching, quality dance education MCA has a program for you!

To ensure the continuous education of both our instructors and students MCA is a proud member of the National Guild for Community Arts Schools and National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). As a member of NDEO MCA is also sponsors Junior (6th-8th grade), Secondary (High School), and Collegiate National Honors Society for Dance Arts Chapters to help recognize dancers accomplishments and commitments and further the field of dance education.

Dance Program Dress Code
Dance Division Dress Code

MCA students are asked to follow the below dress code. Adhering to this policy promotes safety and injury prevention, allows instructors to view the student's bodylines and placement to make corrections, and provides a sense of tradition, discipline and respect. Please note: no jeans may be worn for any classes. Basic dance shoes and attire may fitted and ordered through MCA's Dance Boutique. Other items may be ordered online or may be found at Blades to Ballet in Rochester. If the cost of dance attire makes participation in MCA programs difficult please contact our office at 507-453-5500, we would love to see if we are able to help provide gently used donations.


Female attire – pink tights, pink ballet slippers and a black leotard. Hair is to be pulled tightly off the face and neck in a bun. Pre-Ballet for 4 & 5 Year-olds and Beginning Ballet Students are also invited to wear pink leotards and simple ballet skirts (please non-tutu’s).

Male attire – white T-shirt, black leggings, tights, or shorts and black or white ballet slippers. Compression shorts and dance belts are required for teen and adult male dancers, respectively.

Modern: Female attire – Any color leotard. Leggings, footless tights and or biker shorts may be worn. Hair is to be pulled off the face and neck. No shoes needed, this class is taken in barefeet.

Male attire – Any color plain (no logos or design) T-shirt, black leggings, tights, or shorts and black or white ballet slippers. Compression shorts and dance belts are required for teen and adult male dancers, respectively.

Creative Movement & Boys in Motion: Movable clothing (not too baggy as to hinder the instructor’s view of the student’s body lines), bare feet, hair pulled off the face and neck.

Tap: Movable clothing and oxford style tap shoes. Hair is to be pulled off the face and neck.

Jazz: Any color leotard and moveable exercise/dance bottoms (not too baggy as to hinder the instructor’s view of the students’ body lines), jazz shoes, jazz sneakers or ballet slippers. No bare feet or socks. Hair is to be securely pulled off the face and neck.

Dance Technique for Boys: White T-shirt, black leggings, tights, or shorts, and black or white jazz shoes or ballet slippers.

Irish: Movable clothing (not too baggy as to hinder the instructor’s view of the student’s body lines), shorts or leggings are preferred, and Irish soft shoe Ghillies. Black ballet slippers are acceptable for beginners. Irish hard shoes also required for dancers in Irish III & up.

Hip Hop, Adult & Other Specialty Classes: Movable clothing as desired. Hip Hop students wear clean tennis shoes or jazz sneakers. Oxford style tap shoes required for Clogging and Teen/Adult Tap students. Ballet slippers or jazz shoes for Teen/Adult Ballet. Barre  Students can be barefoot.

Click Here to learn more about observation/ demonstration days, discounts, cancellation policy and more for dance classes.


PSEO Students in their junior and senior years of high school who participate in the Post Secondary Education Option (PSEO) may also take selected MCA classes for Saint Mary’s University credit offered through the Saint Mary’s dance minor. For more details, contact your high school or counselor.

Saint Mary's University Students have the option of taking upper level dance classes at MCA that are not offered on the SMU campus and performing with MCA's pre-professional dance company, The Dance Repertory Company (DRC) for credit. SMU students do not have to be a Dance Minor or even in the Theatre & Dance Department to participate in MCA dance classes or DRC. Please contact Tammy Schmidt, MCA Director of Dance and SMU Dance Department at: or 507-453-5502 for more info.

Cotter High School students who also participate in MCA dance classes and performances are able to track participation hours (MCA will validate) and turn them in to count towards Physical Education graduation requirements.

Other Memberships & Opportunities: To ensure the continuous education of both our instructors and students MCA is a proud member of the National Guild for Community Arts Schools, River Arts Alliance, National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). As a member of NDEO MCA is also sponsors Junior (6th-8th grade), Secondary (High School), and Collegiate National Honors Society for Dance Arts Chapters to help recognize dancers accomplishments and commitments and further the field of dance education.


Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts
1164 West Howard (10th) Street
Winona, MN 55987

Phone: 507-453-5500
Fax: 507-453-5507


Monday - Wednesday
9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Building and Galleria open during programming



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This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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