Updated: 1/11/21

Dear MCA Community,

In March of 2020 Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota made the decision to suspend face-to-face classes and large gathering for the near future due to the public health issue created by COVID-19.  As an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of MN, Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts was directed to follow suit to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We are continually reassessing the situation and recommendations from SMUMN and public health officials. We successfully held a small number of in-person dance classes end of August- November 10th and plan to resume a limited number of in-person programs once again beginning Jan. 21, 2021. Additional virtual and self-paced programs will continue. Students participating in in-person classes will be required to follow our strict COVID Code of Conduct. Please click on the tabs below to explore our current programs and resources. Additionally all students and families will be required to sign this waiver within our registrations system.

This Winter we will have a variety of offerings ranging from in-person at Valencia Arts Center, in-person outside, self-paced low and no tech experiences, and virtual classes. Explore our online programs below or by clicking here.

Thank you for your understanding during these unexpected times. Please know that no matter what we will be here to offer you community and respite through arts.


Jamie Schwaba

Managing Director

P.S. During this time, we invite you and your family to join us on social media for educational and entertaining MCA Moments created by our talented MCA community. Click on the social media icons below to take you to our pages. Check back often, as new content is being created daily. If you like what you see please consider making a donation to help support our instructors and MCA during this unexpected closure.

At-a-glance Summer 2021 Programs (outdoor, inside, in-person & self-paced)
Summer Stay Strong Classes

Stay Strong Summer 2021

During this flexible session, classes are offered twice weekly for three weeks leading up to the fall session and Nutcracker auditions. Dancers can register for just the classes they plan to attend at the low rate $9 per hour.

Week One (July 26-30)

Monday, July 26

Ballet IV-VII  3-5 pm, Jessica Dienger

Fosse Jazz Technique  5:15-6:30 pm, Jessica Dienger

Wednesday, July 28

Ballet IV-VII  3-5 pm, Rachael Ryan

Pointe Technique and Conditioning  5:15-6:15 pm, Rachael Ryan

Week Two (August 2-6)

Monday, August 2

Ballet IV-VII (Pointe Barre, Flat Center)   3-5 pm, Jessica Dienger

Int/Adv Contemporary Dance   5:15-6:30 pm, Becca Braun

Wednesday, August 4

Ballet IV-VII (Flat Barre, Pointe Center)   3-5 pm, Jessica Dienger

Cardio Warm Up and Int/Adv Hip Hop   5:15-6:30 pm, Becca Braun

Week Three (August 9-13)

Monday, August 9

Ballet IV-VII  3-5 pm, Jessica Dienger

Modern Contemporary Dance Technique  5:15-6:30 pm, Jessica Dienger

Wednesday, August 11

Ballet IV-VII  3-5 pm, Rachael Ryan

Pointe Technique and Conditioning  5:15-6:15 pm, Rachael Ryan

Fall Dance Dates (Nutcracker Auditions, Class Placement & More)

MCA Dancers or those who are interested in joining us in the Fall of 2021, please save the dates below, more information coming soon.

Aug. 16-19- Dance Class Placement Class (ages 7+)

Aug. 30- Fall Dance Classes Start

Sept. 11- Nutcracker Auditions (ages 7+)

Fall 2021 Placement Audition Class Schedule

New this Fall MCA invites all dancers aged 7+ who are interested in dancing with us this fall to come to a placement class. These low key classes will help ensure students get placed in the right level to help them grow. Due to interruptions in dance instruction during COVID-19 MCA envisions reorganizing some of our levels slightly. This is a perfect time for new students to give dance a try or for dancers who have took some time off to come give it a try. 

There is no cost to participate in the placement auditions. Dancers who are auditioning should follow MCA Dresscode for the dance class they are taking. If a dancer does not have access to dance clothing please contact the MCA office at mca@smumn.edu or 507-453-5500 to borrow gently used items.

If you are unable to attend but interested in dancing with us in the Fall, please contact the office prior to Aug. 16th. Please read the descriptions below carefully to determine which audition is best for you/ your dancer. If you have questions contact the office at mca@smumn.edu or 507-453-5500.

Monday, August 16 (Contemporary/Modern/Jazz Placement Day) 

5+ years of Jazz or Modern   3-4:15 pm Studio 1 

Beginner to 2 years of Jazz or Modern (8+ years old)

2-4 years of Jazz or Modern   5:30-6:30 pm 

Tuesday, August 17 (Tap Placement Day) 

5+ years of Tap   3-4:15 pm Studio 2 

Beginner to 2 years of Tap    4:30-5:15 pm     Studio 2  

2-4 years of Tap   5:30-6:30 pm Studio 2 

Wednesday, August 18 (Ballet Placement Day)

5+ years of Ballet 3-4:30 pm Studio 1

Beginner to 2 years of Ballet (7+ years old)    4:45-5:30 pm     Studio 1    

2-4 years of Ballet 5:45-6:45 pm Studio 1

Thursday, August 19 (Hip Hop Placement Day)

3+ years of Hip Hop  4-5:15 pm Studio 1 

Beginner to 3 years of Hip Hop  (7+ years old)    5:30-6:30 pm     Studio 2    

Theatre Classes & Productions

Main reACTion Improv Troupe Auditions

Main reACTion is back!

Ready to take your improv skills to the next level? If so, Main reACTion is for you! The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is seeking creative quick-thinkers (ages 8-18) to form the Main reACTion Improv Troupe for the 2021–2022 school-year. Main reACTion’s school-year troupe will rehearse monthly and perform at 1–2 locations/events per semester. Auditions will be held on on Monday, Aug. 9, 6:30-8pm in the Academy Theatre at MCA’s home, the Valencia Arts Center (1164 W. 10th Street, Winona, MN).
During auditions, actors and actresses can expect to participate in a variety of improv games. Those auditioning should also bring a calendar with any vacation, known school year activities or end of summer activities on it to note conflicts on the audition form. Troupe members will be selected based on their ability to think on their feet, make quick decisions, stage presence, ability to work with others, and variety of ideas. There is no fee to audition, but troupe members will be asked to pay $120 to participate for Aug. 2021- May 2022, which covers all instruction for monthly rehearsals and a T-shirt.
Main ReACTion was established in June 2019 as an activity that was part of Artists on Main Street, a partnership between Winona Main Street, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, and Springboard for the Arts with support from the Bush Foundation. Thanks to the interest and success of the troupe will continue to provide a creative outlet to area youth and entertain community members of all ages.


The Thirty-Three Little Pigs

Ham it up in this fantastic new twist on an old tale! Squeal with delight as the 33 pigs in the meadow continuously outsmart the hungry wolf, much in the style of Roadrunner and Coyote or Tom and Jerry. From Straw, Stick, and Brick pigs to Pirate, Chef, and Ninja pigs (plus 27 endearing others!), they each have their chance to misdirect, heckle, and hound the bumbling Big Bad Wolf, who only finds himself further and further from getting his fill of little piggies! Full of classic, pop-culture, and world-inspired piggie characters and references, actors and audiences alike will go hog-wild for this show!
Auditions: June 28, 2021 6:30-8:30pm, Sign up here for a 20-minute audition time slot.
Mandatory Cast & Parent Meeting: June 30, 2021, 7pm
Participation Fee: $35
Rehearsals: TBD based on role, July 6-29, 2021, 6:30-8:30pm Monday-Friday, with possible weekends
Performances: July 30 (7pm)-31 (2pm & 7pm), 2021 (outside in green space between MCA's Valencia Arts Center & Alverna Center, UPDATE: 7/30/21 performance will be held inside the Academy Theatre due to poor air quality), $5 per ticket
Directed by: Catherine Deysach
*MCA's COVID Code of Conduct will be followed for all rehearsals and performances.
2021 Summer Camps

Dance Me a Story

Are you ready to step on stage? Then you will love this camp. During this one week experience you will work with classmates to tell a story using ballet, creative movement, and theatre. Participants will even have the opportunity to craft their own costumes and design scenery in preparations for an informal outdoor performance on the last day of camp for friends and family. Campers (and friends and family on the last day) will be required to follow MCA’s COVID Code of Conduct.

Day/ Dates: Monday-Friday, June 21-25

Time: 1-4pm

Ages: 6-9

Location: Outside Valencia Arts Center (moved inside if inclemete weather)

Fee: $129*

* Campers will need to bring a towel or sit-upon, water bottle, and snack daily.

Junior Training Program for Dancers

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; and round 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 in preparation for a final showcase for up to two family members per dancer. Dress rehearsal and performance schedules, July 16-17 may vary from the above times, but will be communicated in advance.

No auditions are required, but it is recommended that dancers have at least three  years of training. MCA's COVID Code of Conduct will be followed.

Due to COVID the capacity is only 11 dancers.

Day/ Dates: Monday-Friday, July 5-17

Time: 9am-4pm, M-F, Dress rehearsal and performance schedules, July 16-17 may vary from the above times, but will be communicated in advance.

Ages: 9-18

Location: Inside Valencia Arts Center

Fee: $429 before 5/15/21, $450 after 5/15/21(Fee includes over 60 hours of instruction. Students will need to bring a lunch and water bottle daily.)

Summer Dance Intensive

MCA’s 18th annual Summer Dance Intensive offers intermediate and advanced dancers ages 12-25 a wonderful well-rounded and personal experience. Due to COVID we are unable to offer boarding this year, however we do plan for in-person classes and virtual options for accepted dancers.  More details including fees and schedules will be released on May 1.

Day/ Dates: Monday-Friday, July 5-30, 2021 (option to attend 2 week or 4 weeks)

Ages: 12-25 (Virtual option may be available upon request)

Location: Inside Valencia Arts Center (Virtual option available upon request)

Fee: $699 (20% off for returning students)

Mindful Moves and Artful Journaling

Kids will love this camp that infuses creative journaling, movement, yoga, and mindfulness. Campers will explore their senses as they create, listen to music, build their sensory awareness, while they enjoy the sunshine during this outdoor program. Parents will also breathe a little easier knowing that their kids are learning new tricks to regulate their emotions, build positive self-image and ways to explore with new art materials. Campers will be required to follow MCA’s COVID Code of Conduct.

Day/ Dates: Monday-Friday, Aug. 2-6

Time: 9am-12pm

Ages: 6-12 years (separated in groups)

Instructors: Megan Peterson & Brianna Haupt

Location: Outside Valencia Arts Center (moved inside if inclement weather)

Fee: $109 (early bird), $129 (after May 1, 2021)*

* Campers will need to bring a towel or yoga mat, waterbottle, and snack daily.

Tap Camp

Join us for an exciting week of rhythm!  TAP CAMP will include classes in tap technique, repertory, improvisation, body percussion, music theory, and concepts for the tap dancer, tap history, and tap in films. TAP CAMP will hold new challenges for beginning, intermediate, and advanced tappers. An informal demonstration for family and friends will be held on Friday. Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, come on dancers, it’s TAP CAMP time! Campers (and friends and family on the last day) will be required to follow MCA’s COVID Code of Conduct.

Dates: August 9-13,  M-F

Time & Ages: Tap for Kids and Tap I: 10-Noon p.m. (ages 6+, no experience- two years experience)

Tap II-V: 9-12 p.m. (Intermediate & advanced Tap Dancers

ages 11+ or MCA Tap levels II-V. Tappers will participate in a

placement class on day one.)

Fee: Tap for Kids and Tap I:$99 

Tap II-V: $149 

*Dancers should bring a water bottle and snack each day.

Private Music Lessons

student playing piano

We are excited to announce that we have shifted to offering private music lessons online and we are now accepting online registration for new students for most instruments. Now is the time to finally spend a little time with that piano that's been sadly sitting quietly in the corner or guitar that has been collecting dust in your basement! 

As with in-person lessons you may purchase lessons in a 4, 8, or 12 lesson package (ranging from $17-$19 per 30 minute lesson). We will be happy to shift lessons to in-person lessons once we can safely do so. No fees are paid until we connect you with an instructor. Learn more about MCA private lessons and instructors.

What you need need at your house to have a successful online lesson:

  • your instrument
  • a device with a camera and microphone (internal microphone should be fine unless you need to be far away from your device to be at your instrument.
  • optional: headphones or external speaker  
  • a wired connection (most reliable) or a strong wireless signal (around 1.5 Mbps for upload speed).  A 4G connection traditionally works as well.

Register Now!  

*In-person private lesson instruction will start to return slowly beginning May 2021. All students and instructors will be required to follow the MCA COVID Code of Conduct.

Creative Aging - Art Programs for 55+

Watercolor Workshops

Explore basic watercolor techniques including masking, wet on wet application, and learn about various painting supplies. Students will be given step by step instruction to complete a finished floral piece during each session. Sign up for one or both! Have fun, let go, relax, explore your creative side and enjoy the magical world that is unique to watercolor!

Adults (55+): $24/workshop (includes supplies)


  • Workshop 1: Wednesday, July 14 | 10:00am-12:30pm
  • Workshop 2: Thursday, July 15 | 1:00pm-3:30pm

Instructor: Faye Schoen

Location: Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts' home, Valencia Arts Center

Please note that MCA's COVID Code of Conduct will be followed during these in-person workshops for the safety of faculty and students.



Learn More about Creative Aging

Virtual Art Classes

Colored Pencil Techniques

Did you know that there are a multitude of special techniques that can be applied using colored pencils? Creating highlights, shading, blending, shapes, and more. Each week will explore a new topic, techniques and artist(s). Participants who are interested will be invited to exchange postcards with classmates featuring their artwork.

Suggested class supplies: set of colored pencils (24 colors or more is ideal), sketch book, pencil (an ebony pencil is ideal), eraser, black felt-tip or fine liner pen, & straight edge (such as a 12 in. ruler). Optional extra supplies: colorless bending  pencil, blending stump (tortillon), & gel pens. For postcard mailing: you will need card stock, recycled materials or premade postcards, (3"x5" or 4"x6") and postcard stamps which are .36 per stamp.

Day/ Dates: Mondays, April 12- May 31
Time: 7-8 pm
Instructor: Lisa Douglas
Location: Online via Zoom
Fee: $25

Doodle Club (Ages 13+)

Wednesdays 7:30 PM

Dates: Jan.6- April 28

Instructor: Lisa Douglas

Fees: Free (students will need a pen (preferably a thin felt tip pen or marker), pencil, eraser, paper, and a round object for tracing such as a canning lid or tuna can.)

Intergenerational Playful Postcards (Ages 55+)

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is excited to offer “Intergenerational Playful Postcards”- a class aimed to bring together older adults and Girl Scouts in the Winona Area. Registration for adults (ages 55+) is now open. Registration for Girl Scouts opens on May 1. Get creative and have a little fun sending and receiving colorful postcards! Color with glittery gel pens, collage with washi tape and more using a postcard to be sent to a local Girl Scout or adult as a canvas. Students will receive a kit of materials including everything needed- all you will be asked to do is explore new art techniques, then create and send a postcard a week.

Adults (55+): $12 (includes kit)

Girl Scouts: $5 (includes kit & fun patch)

Dates: May 30-June 29

  • Adults will receive weekly emails with lesson and prompt.
  • Girl Scouts will meet weekly on zoom from 9-9:30am on Saturdays June 5, 12, 19 and 26.
  • A zoom social will be held for all participants on June 29 at 6:30pm to meet and share experiences.

Kits Include: 6 postcards, 4 stamps, 2 fineliner pens, 2 gel pens, 2 rolls of washi tape, a stencil, and instruction booklet.

Instructors: Brianna Haupt (adults), Catie Deysach (Girl Scouts)

Adult registration open Now. Scout registration opens May 1.

*This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund, Aroha Philanthropies, and the Elizabeth Callender King Foundation.

Other opportunities to work with MCA through our amazing partners: (registration for these programs is handled by the partner and may require you to be a member of a specific group or live in a specific area, please click on the opportunity to learn more about the programs and our partners.

Caledonia Public Library- Art programs for all ages (ongoing)- Learn more about art programs at with Caledonia Public Library.

Elder Network- Exploring Oil Pastels (monthly on second Tuesdays, Feb. 9- May 11, 1:30-2:30)- Learn more about our oil pastel class in partnership with Elder Network.

Saint Mary's University Alumni (ongoing art programs)- Learn more about upcoming art SMUMN Alumni and Family Art classes.

Virtual Performances

Don't miss viewing these special premiere's in real time on both our MCA  Facebook Page or You Tube Channel.

Aug. 14- MCA Virtual Music Division Concert


Elder Network & MCA Partnership

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is thrilled to be partnering once again with Elder Network to offer an art workshop suitable for all family members, care givers, and care receivers to spend an hour together in their home creatively. The class will be exploring colored pencils and will be interactive and run live through ZOOM. No art experience with oil pastels is needed, however for those that participated in Elder Network and MCA's Intentional Doodle or oil pastel series will find this class a perfect next step in their artistic journey. Below are the class details.

Elder Network Winona County offers Creative Aging “Color Yourself Calm” class.
Did you know that there are a multitude of special techniques that can be applied using colored pencils? Creating highlights, shading, blending, shapes, and more. Barb Parker with Elder Network and Lisa Douglas of the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) partner up for this real-time art class delivered over Zoom, so you can get creative right from the comfort of your own home. So get ready to color your way to calmness as you explore new art techniques and topics, while setting aside time to create and socialize.
No experience is necessary and all participants receive a kit with the needed supplies including a pack of 24 colored pencils, gel pens, paper, black fine liner, and more.
This will be an 8 session series, over Zoom, every other Tuesday from 2:30PM-3:30PM. The first class in on August 3, 2021 and the last class will be November 9, 2021.
The cost for the series is $24.00 and this includes the price of the kit.
To Register: Please contact Barb Parker at Elder Network to sign up for the class at either (507) 452-0850 or barbp@elder-network.org.
Please mail or drop off your $24.00 to Elder Network, 902 E. Second Street, Suite 321, Winona, MN 55987 before July 15th.
Funding for this class is provided through grant money from the Winona Community Foundation.

About Elder Network: 

Elder Network was founded in 1988 in Rochester Minnesota. Their mission is “Individuals impacted by the limiting effects of aging have an optimal quality of life.” As a are a local 501c3 nonprofit, they serve primarily three counties in Southeast Minnesota; Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona. However, their educational offerings and support groups are open to anyone that would like to attend. Elder Network has developed seven non-medical programs that support seniors and their caregivers. We are a well-respected organization providing non-medical elder care which isn’t provided by other organizations doing similar services. They are proud that to network with other organizations so that we are able to support seniors and their caregivers through service or referral. Elder Network's outreach extends to all regardless of elder traditions, cultures or religions. These programs include Senior Advocacy, Education & Support, Companion Services, Respite Care In-Home, Peer Support, Friendly Visitors, and Transportation.

Partnership with Caledonia Public Library for Houston County Residents

Arts programs in collaboration with the Caledonia Public Library

Arts Opportunities for All Houston County Residents 

The Caledonia Public Library and Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, are excited to announce a a variety of virtual and self-paced programming for both youth and adults. Programs will include virtual storytimes, valentine creation, Doodle & Relax sessions and Unsolved Art Adventures. These programs have been created to encourage creativity, inspire learning, and foster community. All of these events are FREE to all. Accompanying kits are available to Houston County residents through the Caledonia Public Library.  For more information visit the Caledonia Public Library Facebook Page or Caledonia Public Library YouTube Page.

Homeschooling/ At-Home Learning Resources

We realize that the world has turned upside down over the past few months and that many more families will be homeschooling or virtual schooling during 2020. As always we will be here to help provide arts education to the community, including daytime options for homeschoolers. Thank you to everyone who filled out our online surveys in August. We hope that you are excited about the daytime, self-paced and evening offerings that we are offering this Fall that can help you meet your learning at home needs. On August 22 we hosted a Homeschool Q & A session via Zoom, please click here to view the recording. If you have ideas for desired programs please feel free to email them to: mca@smumn.edu.

MCA Winter 2021 Programs before 3pm:

Click Here to View Full Descriptions 

Beginning Hip Hop- Virtual Dance Class. Jan. 26-April 20: Tuesdays- 2:15-3 PM (ages 6+)

Private Music Lessons- Virtual (anytime) or in-person (after Sept. 21)- Arranged at a time convenient for student & instructor (all ages)

Self-Paced Art Kits- Explore MCA's 4 unique Art Kits. Mystery Art Kit & Hours of Art Kit & On-Demand Classes- all kits available while supplies last.

On-Demand Tap Units- These pre-recorded tap classes for Beginning (MCA Tap 4 Kids & Tap I Level) Intermediate (MCA Tap II Level) and Advanced (MCA Tap Levels III-V) provide challenging and fun warm-ups, technique instruction and combinations that can be executed at home. MCA has tap shoes and tap boards that can be checked out to local students as well as tap boards that can be purchased.


Exclusive MCA Community Facebook Page

This group is for current (within 1 year) MCA students and their families. During the COVID-19 outbreak we plan to use this group to help us share and create together and inspire each other on a daily basis. 

Request to Join