Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts / Classes & Programs / DanceIrish Dance
Irish Dance programs
Established in 2014, MCA’s Irish Dance Program begun when Kate Flannigan of Flannigan’s Dancers retired to ensure that Irish dance traditions in Winona continued. MCA offers both beginner and intermediate levels of Irish dance for students aged 5 to adult. Beginner students are introduced to basic jig and reel steps, as well as ceili dances. Intermediate dancers explore basic hard shoe technique, incorporating hornpipe, treble reel steps, treble jig steps, and set dances. Our Irish dancers get plenty of performing experience, especially around St. Patrick’s Day and during area Irish Fests celebrations such as La Crosse and Rochester. Check out our Event Page for information about upcoming performances. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 our currently not running. We hope to offer them again soon.
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
- Butler University
- Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
- Chicago Human Rhythm Project
- Colorado Ballet
- Columbia College
- Continental Ballet
- Eastman School of Music – Rochester University
- Joffery Ballet
- 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: email@example.com 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.