Classes & Programs / Dance


Fall 2019-Winter 2020


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.

5th Annual MCA Free-4-All & Winter Open House on January 4th

Have you been waiting for just the right time to check out one of our classes? The wait is now over, MCA is having a Free-4-All… a day of free classes on Jan. 4, 2020, for the whole family! This event will feature classes for both youth and adults — so bring some friends and try a class or two. All classes are free. Space is limited so preregistration is recommended online, by phone or in person.

10:00–10:45 a.m.

My Grown-up and Me (18 mo.-3 years with adult) — J. Dienger (only 10–10:30 a.m.)

Irish (5+ years) — A. Pelowski       

11:00–11:45 a.m.

Creative Movement (3–5 years) — J. Dienger  (only 11–11:30 a.m. )

Ballet (7–13 years) — R. Ryan-Dahlgren

Noon–12:45 p.m.

Pre–Ballet (4–6 years) — R. Ryan-Dhalgren

Peanut Butter & Jelly Players (4–6 years) — C. Deysach

1:00–1:45 p.m.

Intro to Contemporary Dance (7–13 years) — J. Dienger

Barre (14+ years) — J. Goyette

Date: Saturday, Jan. 4

Price: FREE

More information

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

DRC II: Animals on Parade: Performances: Friday, Dec. 6- Sunday, Dec. 8.

DRC Annual Spring Dance Concert: Auditions: Jan. 18, Performances April 11-13 at the Page Theatre on the Saint Mary's University Campus

Next MCA Nutcracker will be in 2020.

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

“Frozen” Dance and Art Adventure Workshop

There will be miles of smiles as students dance and craft their way through  a magical journey unleashing their imaginations in this workshop centered around the movie “ Frozen” and perfectly timed to align with Winona’s Winter Carnival celebration and Frozen River Film Festival.

Day/Time: Saturday, Feb. 8th, 12:15 pm- 2:15 pm

Ages: Preschool (3-5 years) & K-2nd grade

Price: $19 (snack included)

Instructors: Location: R. Racki & A. Pelowski

ballet dancers

Pre-Ballet for 4 year-olds

Playful and engaging first steps into classical ballet.

Day/Dates: Mondays, Jan. 6-March 9

Time: 4:15-4:45 pm

Age: 4 (by Jan. 1)

Price: $80

Instructor:  R. Ryan-Dahlgren

Sample this class during our Free-4-All and Open House on Jan. 4th 2020. Free to participate, but registration required.

Pre-Ballet for 5 year-olds

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

Day/Dates:  Thursdays, Jan. 9-March 12

Time: 4:30-5:15 pm

Age: 5 (by Jan. 1)

Price: $90

Instructor: J. Dienger

Sample this class during our Free-4-All and Open House on Jan. 4th 2020. Free to participate, but registration required.

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: Wednesdays, Jan. 8-March 11

Time: 4:15-5:15 pm

Fee: $100

Age: 6 (by Jan. 1)

Instructor:  R. Ryan-Dahlgren

Sample this class during our Free-4-All and Open House on Jan. 4th 2020. Free to participate, but registration required.

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, ballet technique and games. Students will love expressing themselves through movement, gaining knowledge of different dance forms ,and benefiting from moving in space with others. 

Day/Dates: Saturdays, Jan. 11- March 7 (No class Feb. 8)

Time: 9-9:30 a.m.

Age: 4-6 years (by Jan. 1)

Fee: $64

Instructor: J. Dienger

MCA Classes in collaboration with Winona YMCA 

Adventures in Ballet: Frozen

Your Little one is invited on a magical journey that will tickle their imaginations as they fall in love with ballet during the class perfect for "Frozen" and dance enthusiasts.

Day/ Date: Wednesdays, Jan. 15- Feb. 26th (7 weeks)

Ages: 3-5 years

Time: 5:30-6 pm

Instructor: A. Klein

Adventures in Ballet: The Little Mermaid

Young dancers will fill with joy as they use their imaginations and bodies to dive under the water; point their mermaid tail, and jam with their underwater friends.

Day/Date: Wednesdays, March 18- April  29th (7 weeks)

Ages: 3-5 years

Time: 5:30-6 pm

Instructor: A. Klein

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: Mondays, Jan. 6-March 9

Time: 4:45-5:45 pm

Age: 7 years and older (by Jan. 1)

Price: $100

Instructor: R. Ryan-Dahlgren

Sample this class during our Free-4-All and Open House on Jan. 4th 2020. Free to participate, but registration required.

ballet dancers

Ballet II

Fast beginning level of classical ballet.*

Day/Dates: Tuesdays & Fridays, Jan. 7-March 13

Times: Tuesdays- 4:30-5:30 pm & Fridays- 4:15-5:30 pm

Age: Placement by Instructor

Price: $216 (22.5 hours/20 classes)

Instructor: Tuesdays- R.Racki, Fridays- J.Meinke


Ballet Dancers

NEW! Ballet TOO

This class is for the dancer that has advanced out of Ballet I and wants to continue her or his ballet training, but is not able to commit to more intensive instruction. As the class meets once per week, it is a great option for contemporary dancers who want to continue working on the foundation of her or his technique and proper placement.*

Day/Dates:  Mondays, Jan.6-March 9

Times:  6:00-7:15 pm

Ages: N/A

Instructor(s): R. Ryan-Dahlgren

Cost: $125

Ballet Dancers

Ballet III

Intermediate level of Classical ballet.*

Day/Dates: Tuesdays & Thursdays, Jan. 7-March 12

Time: Tuesdays, 5:30-7 pm &  Thursdays, 4:30-5:45pm

Age: Placement by Instructor

Price: $264 (27.50 hours, 20 classes)

Instructor: Tuesdays- J.Deinger, Thursdays-TBA

Ballet IV

Fast intermediate level of Classical ballet including pre-pointe.*

Day/Dates: Tuesdays and Fridays, Jan. 7-March 13

Tuesdays- 5:30-7 p.m.

Fridays, 5:45-7:15 pm

Fridays, 7:15-8pm (pre-pointe)

Age: Placement by Instructor

Price: $349 (37.5 hours/ 30 classes)

Instructor: Tuesdays- J.Dienger, Fridays- R.Ryan-Dahlgren

ballet dancers

Ballet V & Pointe

Fast intermediate level of classical ballet including pointe technique for female students*

Day/Dates: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Jan. 8- March 13 (No class Feb. 8, Sat. Demo class on March 7)

Wednesdays: 5:30–7: p.m. (R. Ryan–Dahlgren)

Thursdays: 4 –5:50 p.m. (T. Schmidt)

Fridays: 5:45–7:15 p.m. (R.Ryan-Dahlgren)

Saturdays:  9:45–11:15 a.m. (J. Dienger)

Pointe class as determined by instructor ( Pointe- Mondays, 4:00-5:30 pm or  Pre-pointe- Fridays- 7:15-8:15pm)

Time: See above

Age: Placement by instructor

Price: Females: $673 (48 classes/ 72 hours), Males: $539 (38 classes/ 62 hours, no pointe)

ballet dancers

Ballet VI and VII

Advanced pre-professional level of classical ballet and conditioning, including  the appropriate level of pointe technique for female students.

Day/Dates: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, Jan. 6- March 12 (No class Feb. 8, Sat. Demo class on March 7)

Mondays: 4-5:30 p.m. (T. Schmidt) Barre & Pointe class

Wednesdays: 5:30–7: p.m. (R. Ryan–Dahlgren)

Thursdays: 4 –5:50 p.m. (T. Schmidt)

Saturdays:  9:45–11:15 a.m. (J. Dienger)

*Ballet VI & VII students receive a registration of their choice of an additional lower level ballet class, contemporary class (jazz, hip hop, modern or contemporary) or PBT class included in their package.

Time: See above

Age: Placement by instructor

Price: Females: $794 (58 classes/ 85 hours), Males: $651 (48 classes/ 75 hours, no pointe)

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: Wednesdays, Jan. 8-March 11, 4-5 pm

Intermediate/Advanced Level: Sundays, Jan.12- March 8, 12:30-1:30 pm

Age: 12 years+

Fee: $90 for once a week or $160 when you register for both

Instructor: T. Schmidt, Licensed and Certified PBT Instructor

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. 21-Dec. 16, 5:30- 7 p.m., $96 (8 Classes)

Winter (A): Mondays, Jan. 6–Feb. 24, $96

Winter (B):  Mondays, March 2–Apr. 27, $96 (No class Apr. 13)

Age: Ages 14 & up 

Instructor: A. Honecker-Sherman

MCA Punch Card Accepted


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!


Fall (C): Tuesdays, Oct. 22-Dec. 17, 7-8 p.m., $81 (nine weeks),  J. Goyette, Certified Barre Connect Fitness Instructor

Fall (D): Thursdays, Oct. 24-Dec. 19 (no class Oct. 31 & Nov. 28) , 7-8 p.m., $63 (seven weeks), J. Dienger, Certified PulsePointe Fitness Instructor

Winter (A): Tuesdays, Jan. 7–Feb. 25, $72 (J. Goyette, certified Barre Connect & Barre Above Fitness instructor)

Winter (B): Wednesdays, Jan.. 8–Feb. 26, $72 (J. Dienger, certified PulsePointe Fitness instructor)

Winter (C): Tuesdays, March 3–Apr. 28, $72 (J. Goyette, certified Barre Connect & Barre Above Fitness instructor; no class April 14)

Winter (D): Wednesdays, March 4–Apr. 29, $72 (J. Dienger, certified PulsePointe Fitness instructor; no class April 15)

Age:  Ages 14 & up

Instructor: As listed above

MCA Punch Card Accepted for all Barre Classes

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2020 PTA Reflections  

Since 1969, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Reflections program has encouraged students across the nation to explore their artistic talents. The PTA Reflections program is designed to promote cultural arts in schools, encouraging students to create works of art in visual arts, photography, literature, music, dance, film and special artist categories. Every March since 2016 the walls of Galleria Valéncia have been adorned with all of the Minnesota state winners visual arts division of the Minnesota State PTA Reflections program.  For the second consecutive year MCA is now a registered Northstar Minnesota PTA  unit in good standing and any area youth in Preschool-Twelfth Grade is able to submit a work into the Reflections program now- Jan. 15, 2020 through MCA. The program is open to any area youth that has been an MCA student within the past year, as long as the student’s school does not have a PTA unit regardless if they attend a public, private, charter school or are home educated.

Submission Deadline: Now through Jan. 15, 2020 

Reflections Art Exhibit at MCA:  March 2020

Ages: Preschool- 12th grade

Categories:  Visual Arts, Photography, Literature, Music, Dance, Film & Special Artist

Price: Free

More Info

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. 

Summer Camp Dates: July 7-27, 2019 Daily

Age: 11-22

Auditions: La Crosse, WI– Jan.25, 2020, 9:30am-11:30am at La Crosse Dance Centre, 2716 Commerce St., La Crosse, WI 54603

Cedar Rapids, IA– Feb. 8, 2020, 10am-Noon at Pointe School of Dance, 225 Northland Court NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Winona, MN– March, 29, 2020, 11:30-1:30 at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, 1164 W. 10th St., Winona, MN 5598

Video Auditions also accepted

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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