Classes & Programs / Dance

Ballet

Update Regarding COVID-19

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Ballet Program

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.

Please note that due to COVID-19 the below information may not be up to date. Please click here to view MCA Online Progams.

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.

Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Day/Dates: Tuesdays, Aug. 31-Nov. 16

Times: Section A: 4-4:30pm

Section B: 4:30-5pm

Age: 4-6 years (by Aug 1)

Location: Inside Valencia Arts Center

Fee: $80

Instructor: Jenn Bechle

ballet dancers

Pre-Ballet for 4 year-olds

Playful and engaging first steps into classical ballet. Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Day/Dates: Thursdays, Sept. 30-Nov. 4 (No class Oct. 7)

Time: 4-4:30 pm

Age: 4 (by Aug 1)

Price: $48

Instructor:  Rachael Ryan

Pre-Ballet for 5 year-olds

An imaginative, technique-based introduction to classical ballet perfect for your 5 year-old. Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Day/Dates:  Thursdays, Sept. 30-Nov. 4 (No class Oct. 7)

Time: 4:30-5:15 pm

Age: 5 (by Aug. 1)

Price: $48

Instructor: Rachael Ryan

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. Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Day/Dates: Thursdays, Sept. 30-Nov. 4 (No class Oct. 7)

Time: 5:30 -6:30pm

Fee: $52

Age: 6 (by Aug. 1)

Instructor:  Rachael Ryan

Fee: $54

New to Ballet? We know that finding dancewear can be hard in our area, but please don't worry. Thanks to donations we are happy to offer families gentled used dancewear to families in need. Please contact our office to inquire at: mca@smumn.edu.

Ballet IA

Dancers will love this introduction to classical ballet basics, including the introduction of barre work. Dancers will gain poise, flexibility and strength as they build a strong dance foundation. Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Day/Dates: Tuesdays, Aug. 31-Nov. 2

Time: 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Age: 7+ (by May 1)

Fee: $100

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

Instructor: Jess Dienger

New to Ballet? We know that finding dancewear can be hard in our area, but please don't worry. Thanks to donations we are happy to offer families gentled used dancewear to families in need. Please contact our office to inquire at: mca@smumn.edu.

Ballet IB

Dancers will love continued introduction to classical ballet basics, including barre and center work, as well as combinations across the floor. Dancers will gain poise, flexibility and strength as they build a strong dance foundation. Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.*

Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Day/Dates:  Tuesdays, Aug. 31-Nov. 2

Times:  6:35-7:45 pm

Ages: N/A

Instructor(s): Jessica Dienger

Fee: $125

 

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.*

Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Day/Dates:  Thursday, Sept. 27-Nov. 4

Times:  6:30-7:45 pm

Ages: N/A

Instructor(s): Jessica Dienger

Fee: $125

ballet dancers

Ballet II

Fast beginning- Intermediate level of classical ballet.

Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Day & Dates & Times: Tuesdays, Aug. 31-Nov. 2 6:35-7:45pm & Thursdays, Sept. 30-Nov. 2 6:30-7:45pm (No class Oct. 7) 

Age: Placement by Instructor

Instructor: Rachael Ryan and Jessica Dienger

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

Fees:  $238 (16 classes, 25 hours)

Ballet III/IV

Fast intermediate level of Classical ballet.*

Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Dates: Aug.30-Nov. 18 (No Class Sept. 6)

Days & Times: Mondays, 6:45-8:15 & Thursdays 4-5:30pm

Age: Placement by Instructor

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

Instructor: Jessica Dienger

Fee: $271

ballet dancers

Ballet V 

Fast intermediate level of classical ballet including pointe technique for female students* Registration is separate for ballet and pointe, but students must be registered for ballet in order to participate in pointe.

Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Students joining from the comfort of their home will just need a little space, a chair or railing to use as a ballet barre, and a device enabled with Wi-Fi. We will be using Zoom and will enable cameras so if students wish to be able to interact with the instructor and other students, otherwise families can choose to not share their image. We recommend students wear dance apparel and shoes if they have them and have a water bottle near by to set them up for success.

Dates: Aug. 30-Nov. 2

Times:

Mondays- 6:45-8:15pm, R. Ryan (no class Sept. 6)

Wednesdays- 4:15-6:15pm, T. Schmidt (No class Sept. 22 & Oct. 13)

Thursdays- 4:15-5:45pm, T. Schmidt

Saturdays-10:15-12:15pm, J. Dienger (Class starts Sept. 18)

Age: Placement by Instructor

Location: Inside Valencia Arts Center (Virtual Option may be available upon request.)

Fee: $613 In-person (37 classes/ 64.5 hours)

Instructor: Jessica Dienger, Rachael Ryan & Tammy Schmidt

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.

Registration is separate for ballet and pointe, but students must be registered for ballet in order to participate in pointe.

Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Students will just need a little space, a chair or railing to use as a ballet barre, and a device enabled with Wi-Fi. We will be using Zoom and will enable cameras so if students wish to be able to interact with the instructor and other students, otherwise families can choose to not share their image. We recommend students wear dance apparel and shoes if they have them and have a water bottle near by to set them up for success.

Dates: Aug. 30-Nov. 15

Times:

Mondays- 6:45-8:15pm, R. Ryan (no class Sept. 6)

Wednesdays- 4:15-6:15pm, T. Schmidt (No class Sept. 22 & Oct. 13)

Thursdays- 4:15-5:45pm, T. Schmidt

Saturdays-10:15-12:15pm, J. Dienger (Class starts Sept. 18)

Age: Placement by Instructor

Location: Inside Valencia Arts Center (Virtual Option may be available upon request.)

Instructor: Jessica Dienger, Rachael Ryan & Tammy Schmidt

Fee: $613 In-person (37 classes/ 64.5 hours)

Classical Ballet Pointe Technique

Placement is determined by instructor. Dancers enrolled are required to attend a minimum of two ballet technique classes per week to participate in pointe class.

Day/ Dates/ Times: Beginning/Intermediate Pointe- Fridays, 4-5pm Sept. 3-Nov. 19

Intermediate/Advanced Pointe- Thursdays, 6-7pm, Sept.  2- Nov. 18,

Ages: NA 

Instructor: Tammy Schmidt

Location: Inside Valencia Arts Center 

 

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 ensures that each dancer has the benefit of personal corrections from the instructor.

Students joining in-person will need to familiarize themselves with MCA's COVID Code of Conduct.

Day/Dates: Mondays, Aug. 30-Nov. 1 (no class Sept. 6)

Time: 4:15-5:00 p.m.

Age: 12 years+

Instructor: T. Schmidt, Licensed and Certified PBT Instructor

Fee: $104

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. 

Day/Dates: Mondays, Aug. 30-Nov. 1 (No Sept. 6)

Age: Ages 14 & up

Location: In-person at the Valencia Arts Center (online option may be available upon request)

Instructor: A. Honecker-Sherman

Fee: $90

 

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.

Auditions will be held on September 11, 2021 for Dances from the Nutcracker for ages 6+. Click here for more information about Auditions.

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.

Ballet:

Students Identifying as Female – pink tights or appropriate skin-toned tights, pink ballet slippers/pointe shoes or appropriate skin-toned shoes, and a black leotard, hair pulled tightly off the face and neck in a bun.  A ballet skirt may be worn for pointe and variations classes. 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).

Students Identifying as Male white t-shirt, black leggings/tights or shorts, and black or white ballet slippers (dance belt required for teen and adult male dancers). 

Gender Non-conforming Students:  fitted black t-shirt or leotard, black tights or leggings and black ballet shoes (dance belt as appropriate)

Modern:

Students Identifying as Female - Any colored leotard. Leggings, footless tights and or biker shorts may be worn., well-fitted socks, and hair pulled off face and neck.  Female attire – Any color leotard. Leggings, footless tights and or biker shorts may be worn. No shoes needed, this class is taken barefoot.

Students Identifying as Male - Any color plain (no logos or design) T-shirt, dance pant, leggings, or shorts. Compression shorts and dance belts are required for teen and adult male dancers, respectively. No shoes needed, this class is taken barefoot.

Gender Non-conforming Students:  fitted black t-shirt or leotard, black tights, leggings or jazz pants, and well-fitted socks (dance belt as appropriate). No shoes needed, this class is taken barefoot.

Creative Movement & Boys in Motion:

All students: 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:

All students: Movable clothing and oxford style tap shoes. Hair is to be pulled off the face and neck.

Jazz:

Students Identifying as Female - Any colored leotard, black tights, leggings, or dance pants, black jazz shoes, jazz sneakers, or ballet slippers. Hair pulled off the face and neck. 

Students Identifying as Male - Any colored t-shirt, dance pants or leggings, and jazz shoes or jazz sneakers. 

Gender Non-conforming Students:  fitted black t-shirt or leotard, black tights, leggings or jazz pants, and jazz shoes or jazz sneakers, and hair pulled off the face and neck. (dance belt as appropriate)

Dance Technique for Boys:

Students Identifying as Male: White T-shirt, black leggings, tights, or shorts, and black or white jazz shoes or ballet slippers.

Gender Non-conforming Students:  fitted black t-shirt or leotard, black tights, leggings or jazz pants, and jazz shoes or jazz sneakers, and hair pulled off the face and neck. (dance belt as appropriate)

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.

Accreditation

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: tschmidt@smumn.edu 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.

LOCATION & CONTACT

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

OFFICE HOURS

Fall 2021 Hours (Aug. 31-Nov. 5)

Monday- Thursday- 8am-6:30pm

Friday- 8am-3pm

Saturday- 8:45am-1pm

Closed Sept. 6, 2021

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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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