About Us

Our Mission

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts exists to provide quality arts education and performance by nurturing and encouraging artistic expression in children and adults. Our service to the community ranges from recreational to pre-professional performing and visual arts curriculum and programming designed to provide physical and aesthetic benefits, heightened self-respect, discipline, and confidence.

Our Organization

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1973. For over 40 years, MCA has provided programming and performance opportunities of the highest level of artistic and educational excellence. To be successful we rely on the time and generosity of our volunteers and donors to sustain the quality of our productions and programs, while still keeping our offerings accessible and our fees affordable for all families.

Our Programming

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) offers programming in multiple areas of the arts including dance, music, visual art, and theatre. From classes, to workshops, to private lessons and instruction, we are an all-inclusive, equal opportunity organization, providing a nurturing environment, encouraging artistic expression and growth in children and adults in Southeastern Minnesota.

What Makes Our Dance Program Unique

The dance program at the Conservatory is unique to most dance studios for a number of reasons. First, we have a program that integrates many art forms, allowing dancers to be well-rounded and to appreciate the connectedness of all of the arts.

Secondly, MCA has a very well-established curriculum in its dance program, which includes a syllabus, learner outcomes and a thorough written assessment of each dancer at the conclusion of every session. This is the standard for all dance disciplines taught, including: ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, tap, and hip hop dance.

Third, MCA’s dance program does not participate in competitions, nor does it do recitals. The Conservatory 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.

Lastly, 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 option 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. New in 2017 Dancers will be invited to apply for induction into the Junior, Secondary and Collegiate Chapters of the National Honors Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA), thought MCA’s Membership in the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). MCA is the first Collegiate chapter in the state of Minnesota.

Our Apprenticeship Opportunities

Students who have taken classes with MCA in the past and are interested in continuing their education may apply for an Apprenticeship.

Apprentices are responsible for assisting the instructor with several tasks including: the participation in each assigned class, individual demonstrations for the class, and acting as a class leader, and any and all additional responsibilities listed in your agreement.

Students who serve as apprentices with be rewarded a discount off their own MCA tuition. The tuition discount amount is that of the class that you apprentice for. This discount will be credited to your account and will be applicable for a year.

If you are interested in applying for this unique privilege, please email us at MCA@smumn.edu for an application.

Our Equal Opportunity Policy

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts adhere to the principal that all persons have equal opportunity and access to admissions, employment, facilities, and all programs and activities of the University and organization regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, or status with regard to public assistance.

Our Volunteer Opportunities

For more information on Volunteer Opportunities, visit the Friends of MCA page.

MCA is a proud member of the following organizations and programs:


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

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

E-Mail: mca@smumn.edu

Contact Us



Monday - Thursday- 9:00am-3:00pm and 3:45-8:00pm

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday- Closed


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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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