2019 Dance Repertory Company II Auditions Q & A

On Saturday Sept, 7, 2019 the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts’ Dance Repertory Company (DRC) will be holding auditions for DRC II Winter Showcase. The 2019 theme will be “Animals on Parade”.This exciting dance concert will feature ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, and modern dance set to music inspired or about animals. Dancers aged 5-13 with at least one session of dance class under their belt are invited to audition for our junior performance troupe, the Dance Repertory Company II (DRC). Below are a few frequently asked questions that you might find helpful if you are thinking about auditioning and the production experience. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call 507-453-5500 or email mca@smumn.edu. 

When & Where are Auditions?

Auditions for MCA’s Dance Repertory Company’s are Saturday, Sept. 7, 3pm at MCA’s home the Valencia Arts Center Located at 1164 W. Howard St. (10th), Winona, MN 55987.


How will auditions be structured and how long will auditions Last?

The auditions will start at 3pm Dancers are welcome to come a few minutes early to warm-up and to fill out audition forms in the Academy Theatre. Auditions will take place in our dance studios. There will be a short combination taught for each dance style, students are not required to audition for each genre but they are encouraged to try all even if they have never take a class in that style. Dancers do not need to prepare anything, just bring a positive attitude and try their hardest. Parents are welcome to hang out in the Academy Theatre or Lobby during auditions, but will not be permitted in the studios during the auditions to prevent distractions.


At what age can a dancer audition?

Dancers may audition as young as five years of age. For the youngest dancers, we are looking at their ability to follow directions and remain engaged, for their success in the rehearsal and performance process. Having a young child participate in at least one dance class or dance camp prior to auditions can greatly improve their success in both the auditions and production process. Experience does not have to be at MCA. This performance opportunity is geared towards beginning and intermediate dancers aged 13 and under. Intermediate dancers over 13 may be accepted to audition as well. Older and more advanced students may have the opportunity to perform class combinations during this performance and are invited to audition for the spring DRC concert in Jan. 2020. 

What kind of dances will there be and how many roles are there?

The number of dancers for certain roles will vary depending on the dancers that audition and schedules. Dancers may be cast in only one piece or multiple pieces depending on their age, experience, availability, and commitment wish as stated on the audition form. Traditionally dancers who are 8 and under are only cast in one piece. This year we plan to have Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, and Ballet pieces of varied levels.

Does every dancer get cast in the production?

We do our best to find a spot in the cast every student who auditions for Dance Repertory Company II shows as we feel it is an important part of the MCA dance experience. However, there are many factors that are involved in casting including age, maturity, number of students who audition, experience levels needed for each piece, and rehearsal schedules/ conflicts. If a dancer is not cast our faculty is always happy to provide feedback to help guide a dancer to meet future goals.

What is the time commitment for dancers in the production?

The time commitment for dancers cast in this DRC II Concert varies greatly dependent on age, dance experience level and role(s). The youngest dancers traditionally only have one rehearsal a week until the week or so leading up to the show. Older/more experienced dancers can expect to have multiple rehearsals a week during weekend nights and on the weekends. On the audition form dancers can indicate how many rehearsals a week they are willing to participate in and also list conflicts.

Dancers are only allowed one excused absence of a rehearsal per month with written notice. However dancers are not allowed to miss mandatory tech week rehearsals (final week rehearsals).

Are there any dance classes this summer to help prepare for auditions?

Students who want to stay strong during the remaining part of summer or want a little experience under their belt may want to check out the following opportunities that are either exclusively dance or include dance:

Junior Dance Dance Training Program– June 17- 28, Daily 9am- 4pm, Monday- Friday for 2-weeks, ages 9+ with at least 3 years of experience.

Young Dancer Intensive- June 24- 28, Daily 1-4pm, Monday-Friday, ages 6-9 years

Tap Camp- July 29- Aug. 2, Daily, 3-5pm: Ages 6+ with 0-2 years experience, 1-5pm, Intermediate & Adv. Tap Dancers ages 11+ or MCA Tap levels II-V

Winona Arts Camp– Aug. 5-9, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 1st – 8th grade, this camp offers campers the option to explore many art forms including dance. This year the dance class options are; Dance me a Story (learning to choreograph), Dance Around the World and Hip Hop. All levels welcome!

Island Style Camp- August 12-16, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., 3-5 years & K-1st grade, This camp includes instruction in dance, music, visual art and theatre. All levels welcome!

Stay Strong Strong Session- Tuesdays, Aug. 6-20 (Ballet) and Thursdays, Aug. 8-22 (Contemporary)- Mixed-level classes geared towards Ballet IV+, Modern III+, Jazz III+, Hip Hop III+. For more information about placement for this session contact our office at: mca@smumn.edu or 507-453-5500.

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What are some benefits of participating in a dance performance?

Beyond the excitement and thrill of being on stage under the lights in a beautiful costume, dancers also:

  • Gain the confidence to be in front of an audience
  • Work as a team with the choreographer and other dancers
  • Have the opportunity to apply skills learned in class
  • Build physical strength
  • Learn to take corrections and apply them
  • Strengthen their memory capacity as they learn new dance combos
  • Fill their time with positive unplugged activities
  • Make new friends and meet new role models
  • Join the rich MCA legacy that has been going strong since 1973
  • Have FUN!
What should I wear to auditions?

All students auditioning should wear dance wear if possible otherwise, non-restricting and non-baggy clothing. Students that have dance shoes should wear them or be prepared to dance barefoot. Bare feet will be used in Modern and clean sneakers (that have not been outside) may be worn for Hip Hop.

Dancers who auditioning for the ballet piece(s) should adhere to MCA ballet dress code:

Female attire – pink tights, pink ballet slippers and a black leotard, hair pulled tightly off the face and neck in a bun.

Male attire – white T-shirt, black leggings, tights, or shorts and black or white ballet slippers.

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.

I have never danced at MCA, can I still audition?

Auditions are open to any area dancer age 5-13. Any student who is cast is required to be enrolled in at least one fall dance class at MCA. However, dancers are welcome to continue to studying at other area studios.


Do dancers need ballet experience?

Having some ballet experience is helpful, but not necessary to be involved in the production. It is encouraged that students are enrolled in class in the genre(s) of dance they will be performing in.

Why are performers required to take a dance class in addition?

Taking a dance class, in addition to a weekly rehearsal, allows dancers to spend time learning the language and technique of dance, which will help them in the performances.  Additionally, dancers learn in class how to add personal artistry to their movement, which better helps them to tell the story to an audience that might not be familiar with the story.

The only exception is for college students who are enrolled in a dance class on their campus. 

Are there roles for boys?

Yes, boys are invited to audition for all genres.

Is there a fee to audition or to participate?

There is no fee to audition. Dancers who are cast pay a $70 production fee that helps cover costumes, teaching artists and more.  Dancers do not keep or have to purchase any costumes outside shoes, tights and undergarments. MCA is a non-profit organization and relies heavily on volunteers to help keep things affordable for families involved.  There are no required volunteer requirements with this production, but parents may be asked to help supervise backstage, hang posters or donate their talents in other ways when possible.

Financial need-based scholarships are available to help defray the cost of classes and MCA may have gently used tights or shoes that students can use thanks to generation donations of MCA families and local organizations. Please contact our office for more information.

What is the performance schedule & and where are performances?

Performances are held inside MCA’s Academy Theatre inside the Valencia Arts Center, which hold approximately 160 seats. Here is the performance schedule:

Movie Mania Performances:  Dec. 6 at 10 a.m., Dec. 7th at 6 p.m. & Dec. 8th at 3 p.m., tickets are $5 for students and seniors and $6 for adults.