Classes & Programs / Dance

Modern & Contemporary

Modern, Contemporary & Jazz Dance Classes

At MCA, all levels of modern dance include movement concepts from the Humphrey, Graham, Duncan, Horton, and Limon methodologies. Classes incorporate age appropriate experimentation with improvisation and dance imagery. Intermediate and advanced levels of modern dance also include partner work and dance composition. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 our Modern classes are not currently running. We hope to offer them again soon.

Jazz at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is a fusion of many different types of techniques from historical jazz grandmasters, such as Fosse, Dunham, Giordano, and Luigi. All levels of jazz class center around strong technique and initiation of movement, while incorporating different styles of performance.

Contemporary Dance is a newer and expressive dance genre that combines elements of modern, jazz, and classical ballet. 

My Grown up & Me

Does your child love to move? Children ages 18 months to 3 years are invited to explore a new environment and connect with a special grown-up in their life. This class will stimulate coordination, balance, and listening skills and will be filled with smiles to last a lifetime! Grown-ups attending will be asked to participate along with their child.

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

Day/Dates: Wednesdays, Sept. 1-Nov. 3

Time: 3:30-4:00 p.m.

Ages: 18 mo.–3 years (by Aug. 1)

Cost: $80

Instructor: Jessica Dienger

Creative Movement

Children will look forward to class each week as they creatively explore the world of movement while also gaining dance foundations such as balance and spatial awareness.

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

Day/Dates: Wednesdays, Sept. 1-Nov. 3

Time: 4-4:30 p.m.

Ages: 3–5 years (by Aug. 1)

Cost: $80

Instructor: Jessica Dienger

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

Contemporary Dance I

This is a beginning study of contemporary dance, an expressive dance genre that combines elements of modern, jazz, and classical ballet. No dance experience necessary.

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

Day/Dates: Thursdays, Sept. 2-Nov. 4

Time: 5:45-6:45 p.m.

Age: 8-10

Fee: $100

Instructor: Jessica Dienger

Contemporary Dance II

Come and study the world of contemporary dance, an expressive dance genre that combines elements of modern, jazz, and classical ballet. In addition to exploring dance technique, dancers will also focus on initiation of movement and emotional intent behind each combination. No dance experience necessary.

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

Day/Dates: Saturdays, Sept. 18-Nov. 20

Time: 9-10 a.m.

Age: 11+

Fee: $108

Instructor: Jessica Dienger

Contemporary Dance III/IV

An intermediate–advanced study of contemporary dance, an expressive dance genre that combines elements of modern, jazz, and Classical ballet. In addition to exploring dance technique, dancers will also focus on initiation for movement and emotional intent behind each combination. Best suited for dancers in Ballet IV+, Modern III+, Jazz III at MCA or equivalent experience.*

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

Day & Dates: Tuesdays, Aug. 30-Nov. 2

Time: 4-5:15 p.m

Instructor: Jessica Dienger

Fee: $100

dancers

Modern III/IV

This class will build further confidence in dancers on their hands or feet — in the air or on the ground — while nurturing dynamic and expressive movers. Students will gain more knowledge and clarity around contrasting techniques such as Cunningham, Limon, Graham, Horton, release, and Bartinieff, while building higher-level skills in movement improvisation, composition and partnering.*

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

Day/Dates: Wednesdays, Sept. 1-Nov. 3

Time: 4:45-6 p.m.

Age: N/A

Instructor: Jessica Dienger

Fee: $100

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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