Classes & Programs / DanceBallet
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.
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 11-June 15
Time: 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Fee: $54 (6 classes)
Age: 6 by 5/1/18
Instructor: N. Schleich
Fast intermediate level of classical ballet including pre-pointe class (for female students).*
Day/Dates: Mondays & Thursdays, May 7- June 14 (no class on May 28)
Mondays- 5:30-7:00 p.m
Thursdays, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Thursdays, 6:15-7:15 p.m. (pre-pointe)
Instructors: Rachael Nehring & Tammy Schmidt
Age: Placement by Instructor
Price: Females: $216 (17 classes) $99 Males (11 classes, no pre-pointe)
Fast intermediate level of classical ballet including pre-/ beginning pointe technique (for female students).*
Day/Dates: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, May 7- June16
Mondays- 7:15-8:45 p.m., Instructor: Rachael Nehring
Tuesdays- 7:00-8:30 p.m., Instructor: Rachael Nehring
Thursday- 4:00-6:00 p.m., Instructor: Tammy Schmidt
Friday- 6:30 p.m.- 7:15 p.m. Instructor: Rachael Nehring
Saturday- 10:30-12 p.m., Instructor: Rachael Nehring
Pointe class as determined by instructor (Beginning Pointe- Saturdays, 12-1 pm , Intermediate Pointe- Thursdays, 6:15-7:15 pm, Advanced Pointe- Fridays, 7:30-8:30 pm)
Time: See above
Age: Placement by instructor
Price: Females: $384 (48 hours/35 classes), Males: $261 (26 hours, no pointe)
Ballet VI and VII
Advanced level of Classical ballet and conditioning, including intermediate/advanced 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, Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, Barre, or Yoga.
Day/Dates: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays, May 7- June 16 (no class May 28)
Mondays- 7:15-8:45pm, Instructor: Rachael Nehring
Wednesdays- 6:30-8pm, Instructor: Rachael Nehring
Thursdays- 4:00-6:00pm, Instructor: Tammy Schmidt
Fridays- 6:30-7:15pm, Instructor: Jessica Dienger
Saturday- 10:30-12:00pm, Instructor: Rachael Nehring
-Enrollment choice in appropriate level of Modern, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Hip Hop, Barre Sculpt, Yoga or lower level ballet class weekly.
-Pointe class as determined by instructor (Beginning Pointe- Saturdays, 12-1 pm , Intermediate Pointe- Thursdays, 6:15-7:15 pm, Advanced Pointe- Fridays, 7:30-8:30 pm)
Time: See above
Age: Placement by instructor
Price: Females: $417 (54-56 hours, 39-41 classes), Males: $399 (33-35 classes, no pointe)
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.
Day/Dates: Mondays, April 30-June 11 , 5:45-7:00 pm (No class May 28)
Fee: $50 (7 classes) MCA Punch Card Accepted
Age: Ages 14 & up
Instructor: A. Honecker-Sherman
NEW! Stay Strong August Session
Stay strong this summer and be in shape for Nutcracker auditions. 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. 7-21
Times: 4:30-6:00 pm
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. 9-23
Times: 4:30-6 pm
Stay Strong Fees:
3 class punch card- $40
6 classes punch card- $80
Barre for Dancers
Similar to our regular Barre class, but designed with a dancer’s needs in mind. This class will focus on developing strong, lean muscles, while taking several breaks for conditioning and stretching. Open to any dancer 12+, included in Ballet V-VII class package. Highly recommended for any dancer interested in, or currently practicing, pointework.
Spring: Fridays, May 11-June 15, 6:30-7:15 pm
Fee: $51, MCA Punch Card Accepted
Ages 14+ or at least Ballet V & up
Are you ready for a new challenge? Make the time in your schedule for this high-energy workout, taught by an PulsePointe Barre 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 II(A): Tuesdays, Feb. 27- April 3, 7:00-8:00pm $50 (6 classes)
Winter II(B): Thursdays, Mar. 1- April 5,, 7:00-8:00pm $50 (6 classes)
Spring (A): Tuesdays, May 1-June 12, 7:00-8:00pm $59 (7 classes), MCA Punch Card Accepted
Spring (B): Thursdays, May 3-June 14, 7:00-8:00pm $59 (7 classes), MCA Punch Card Accepted
Summer (A): Tuesdays, June 19-Aug 14, 6:00-7:00pm $68 (8 classes, no class July 3), MCA Punch Card Accepted
Summer (B): Thursdays, June 21-Aug 16, 6:00-7:00pm $68 (8 classes, no class July 5), MCA Punch Card Accepted
Age: Ages 14 & up
Instructor: J. Dienger
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. NEW this year, we will have special guest artists including Natasha Posey, who is faculty at Milwaukee Ballet and Danceworks, Inc. No auditions are required, but it is recommended that dancers have at least 3 years of ballet training.
Dates: June 18-29, 2018 M-F
Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Performance June 29th, 6:30pm
Age: 9 years- High School (at least 3 years of dance training)
Price: $319 (Early Bird Special), $375 (after May 1).
Fee includes over 60 hours of instruction and camp t-shirt. Students will need to bring a lunch and water bottle daily.
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 8-28, 2018 Daily
Price: Tuition :$1,230 Room and Board: $1,199 *Talent-based scholarships and returning student discounts available.
NEW! Nutcracker Fairy Tale Camp
Journey with Clara and the Nutcracker to the lands of snow and sweets as you creatively explore the world of ballet and this classic tale.
Friends and family will be invited to an informal showcase on the final day of camp.
Dates: Aug. 13-17 (Monday- Friday)
Time: Ages: 5-6, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Ages 3-4, 10:45-11:45 p.m.
Price: $49 (Early Bird Special), $59 (after May 1) price includes a camp t-shirt
Pair with Drummin’ up Fun and save $10, and daily snack provided between camps. $88 both camps (Early Bird), $108 (after May 1). Students will be asked to bring a water bottle each day. Includes camp t-shirt. Students must be potty-trained.
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
Cinderella Performances: April 19-22 at the Page Theatre on the St. Mary’s University Campus
Nutcracker Audition Workshops: Aug. 22 during MCA's Fall Open House
Nutcracker Auditions: Sept. 8th, 3pm, ages 5+ are invited to audition.
10th Anniversary Nutcracker Performances: Nov. 28-Dec. 2 at the Page Theatre on the St. Mary's University Campus
For more information about auditioning for DRC, ordering tickets or past productions click here.
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
- Butler University
- Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
- Chicago Human Rhythm Project
- Colorado Ballet
- Columbia College
- Continental Ballet
- Eastman School of Music – Rochester University
- Joffery Ballet
- 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: email@example.com 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.