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Classes & Programs / Dance

Summer Dance Intensive

Come experience the nurturing and intimate atmosphere of the 20th annual MCA Summer Dance Intensive, located in the beautiful river town of Winona, Minnesota.

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 9 to 11 hours of your day studying dance in technique classes and rehearsals under the direction of seasoned, professional instructors in the state-of-the-art Valencia Arts Center (VAC). The VAC is not located on Saint Mary’s University where boarding students reside along with chaperones. They will be bused back and forth to the VAC each day. Once again this intensive will be 3 weeks. Auditions at one of our two tour locations or by video submission is required for acceptance.

July 9-29, 2023

Audition Tour:

Des Moines, Iowa
Saturday, March 4, 5:00-7:00pm
The Pointe Academy of Ballet and Contemporary Dance
6151 Thorton Ave- Suite 100
Des Moines, IA 50321

Winona, Minnesota
Saturday, March 25, 10:00am-12:00pm
Valencia Arts Center
1164 W 10th St.
Winona, MN 55987

Video audition submissions will be accepted through May 1st, 2023.

2023 Audition Details Accepted & Returning Student Registration  SDI Interest Form

This was our first SDI and we weren’t sure what to expect. We learned quickly that MCA means Intense! Our daughter worked harder than she ever has and her knowledge along with her passion grew every day. A true Blessing to watch. On the last day, she was ready for a rest but not to say goodbye to many new friends. What a great group of dancers. Thank you, MCA.

Parent of SDI Participant

I loved everything about it and can’t wait to come back next year!

SDI participant

Summer Dance Intensive FAQs

What are the top three reasons dancers choose our Summer Dance Intensive?
  1. You get to do what you came to do….DANCE! Dancers often classes and rehearsals up to 7-9 hours a day (at many other intensives students may only dance 4-6 hours a day). At MCA all students are a part of the final showcase, when students are not selected for repertoire rehearsals they have alternative dance and theory classes.
  2. Lots of personal attention… you really get to know the MCA staff, instructors and guest artists.
  3. Affordability….our Summer Dance Intensive is affordable and free of extra expenses. With the exception of a couple of meals and nominal entertainment on the weekend, all meals and activities are included. There is no need to buy meal cards or write separate checks for tuition, room and board. Attendance for the final showcase and laundry facility usage is also free.
What is the typical daily schedule for a student in the intensive?

(Please note, this is a sample schedule)

Sample SDI Daily Schedule

7:30 am   Breakfast at Alverna Center

9-10:45 am  Ballet Technique Class for Yellow Level S#1

9-10:45 am Ballet Technique Class for Red Level S#2

11 am-12:15 pm Pointe Technique and Variations for Red Level S#1

11 am-12:15 pm  Pointe Technique and Variations for Yellow Level S#2

12:15-1:15 pm  Lunch at Alverna Center and free time

1:15-2:15 pm Theory Class: Dance Costume Design

2:15-3:30 pm  Contemporary Dance Technique Class (modern, jazz, African, hip hop, etc)

3:45-5:30 pm Repertory for selected dancers in S#1

3:45-5:30 pm Repertory for selected dancers in S#2

5:35 pm   Bus leaves for dinner on main campus

5:45-7 pm Dinner and Free Time

7-9 pm Arts and Culture Experience (attend a performance at Great River Shakespeare Festival, Minnesota Beethoven Festival, Minnesota Marine Art Museum, etc) OR Arts and Culture Class (Character Development Workshop, Theatrical Dance Makeup Seminar, Musical Theatre Repertory, Dance Aesthetics in Film, etc)

9:15 pm  Checked into dorms

10:00 pm  In bed

10:30 pm Lights out!

How long does the 2020 Summer Intensive run and what are the fees?

MCA will hold the Summer Intensive for 3 weeks this year. The program will run Sunday, July 9 – Saturday, July 29 2023. There is a tuition only option for local students and commuters. Tuition for all 3-weeks is $1500. Room & Board fees are $1500 and include overnight accommodations, activity ticket(s) & fees (during the week), ice machine, laundry, chaperone supervision, and all meals. The only extra expenses are: 1-2 meals each weekend, Intensive t-shirt (optional), and performance recording (optional).

There may be a minimal fee for activities on the weekend, such as $15 to Kayak/ Canoe at Lake Park or $10 Miniature Golf, Carousel Ride & Ice cream at Lark Toys. Both of these day trips allow for students to choose to participate in paid activities or just enjoy time hanging out in beautiful locations at no charge.

Returning students save 25%

Who performs in the final showcase?

All summer dance intensive students perform in the final showcase.  All students perform in the musical theatre repertoire piece and perform in a variety of demonstrations.  Selected students will perform repertoire or demonstrations in ballet, pointe, variations, musical theatre, tap, modern composition, and jazz. The final showcase traditionally lasts around 45 minutes- 1 hour and is complete with simple costumes and full stage lighting. The 2023 showcase will be performed on the Saint Mary’s University campus in the beautiful 455- seat Page Theatre. 

How many levels are there in the intensive and what level will I be placed in?

On the first day of the intensive, students will participate in placement classes. Students will be placed in one of two levels: intermediate or advanced. You may be placed in both levels depending on your ability in different dance disciplines. For example, you may be placed in advanced jazz and intermediate ballet. Also, placement may be changed throughout the intensive by visiting guest artists and/or if the MCA faculty see a need for a level change.

Where do boarding students stay?

TBA however it will be either on the Saint Mary’s University campus or The Alverna Center. Alverna Center features 24-hour security, free wi-fi, catered meal service, and a solarium for group activities. Students are available and located on the dorm property.  Adult chaperones will reside onsite with the students.

What are Meals like for Boarding Students?

Information TBA. There are a few options we are working out. Meals will either be organized through Chartwells Catering Services.  Breakfast and dinner are available at SMU’s Toner Dining Hall where they can choose from a variety of hot & cold options in a buffet cafeteria setting. Lunches will either be catered at the VAC or dancers will be bused to SMU campus to eat in the Toner Dining Hall. Some examples of catering are alternating between hot and cold day options; samples include; build your own sandwiches, fajita bar, mac n’ cheese, salads, and meatball subs. Accommodations for dietary concerns or allergies can be addressed on an individual basis.

What are MCA's facilities?

MCA is housed inside the Valencia Arts Center (VAC). Facilities include:

  • Three state-of-the-art dance studios
  • Black Box Theatre
  • Recital Hall
  • Dressing rooms with private lockers
  • Four music practice rooms
  • Costume shop
  • Offices and public lounge

The VAC is handicap accessible and is located on the beautiful and historic St. Theresa Campus in the center of Winona, MN about a mile from the Saint Mary’s University of MN campus.

As a student, do I have to participate in all the dance forms offered?

Students must participate in all dance forms throughout the intensive with the exception of tap and hip-hop. These classes will not be offered as frequently as other dance disciplines and are considered optional. Participation is required in all other classes including ballet, pointe (pre pointe for students not yet on pointe), variations, pas de deux, jazz, modern, musical theatre dance, Pilates and theory. Each year we try to highlight at least one form of ethnic dancing such as African, Flaminco, or Irish as well.

Do female students need to have experience dancing on pointe?

No they do not.

Can parents and family members visit students during the intensive?

There is no set visitation day, however parents are welcome to visit students on a day when the class load is less and students have more free time. If, for example, parents wish to take their child off campus for dinner one evening, please make sure to have the student sign out with the dorm chaperone or the program directors before leaving campus. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Showcase on: Saturday, July 29, 2023, 7pm. The performance is free and open to the public.

What are the meal options for my child if he/she will be a commuter student?

Students who will not be staying in the dorms should eat breakfast before they arrive for the day and pack a sack/box lunch and dinner. Purchasing individual meals in the cafeteria is not an option.

When are my registration materials due?

The application/registration form, photo, and $50.00 non-refundable deposit payment are due by April 1, 2023. The balance of your Summer Intensive tuition and room and board fees may be paid in two equal installments. Checks should be made out to “Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts” or payments may be made through our online registrations system.

Accepted & Returning Student Registration

What does it mean if my child was placed on the Summer Intensive waiting list?

Your child may have been placed on a waiting list based on their audition process and/or registration availability. Your letter concerning acceptance would have indicated this. After May 1, if additional spots are still available, your child will be contacted for acceptance into the intensive. You may register at that time.

How do I know if my child has been awarded a talent-based scholarship?

Dancers selected for talent-based scholarships will be notified at the time of acceptance and will have a two week time period to accept and register.  If a student who received a scholarship does not choose to attend the MCA Summer Intensive, that scholarship may be passed on to another student. Your child will be contacted if additional scholarships become available.

Do returning students need to audition?

No, if you have been a participant in the MCA Summer Dance Intensive you do not need to audition to participate in the program unless you would like to be considered for a talent based scholarship. We also offer returning students a 25% savings off their entire fee (including room & board).

We value returning students and the experience they bring to the program as well as we love to provide them with new challenges year after year. Returning students can register at any time by filling out this form and sending in a $50 deposit by April 1, 2023.

Audition information

What are MCA's programs for students that are under the age of 11?

Yes, MCA offers a variety of summer camps, classes and workshops. In July MCA is holding a 2-week Junior Training Dance Program for ages 10 – 16, which will run July 17 – 30, 9am-5pm, Monday- Friday. There is a boarding option for this program as well. 

When will I receive information about my roommate assignment, orientation/arrival day activities, a daily class schedule, etc.?

Information packets will be sent to all Summer Intensive students around June 1, 2022.

If I have more questions whom do I contact?

Please Contact:
Megan Baginewski,
MCA Administrative Assistant

Where is Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts located?

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts is located in the beautiful South Eastern Minnesota river town Winona, which is sandwiched between the bluffs. This small town with big arts is home to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, The Great River Shakespeare Festival, Minnesota Beethoven Festival, Midwest Music Fest and more. Winona is home to MCA’s affiliate, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Winona State University and South Eastern Technical College. It is a beautiful place take to hike, sit in a cafe, or stroll along the lake path. Families of students attending the intensive may want to plan a family vacation around the camp. Read While in Winona for some ideas of things you might enjoy in Winona.

Winona was named one of the16 most tourist-friendly cities in the U.S. by Expedia in 2017. Parents and students can also take comfort that while in Winona they are also in the city that was named 2016 Number 1 safest college town in America and the 18th safest city in America according to Safewise.

Here is a little video that sums up why we love Winona:







What other Summer Camps & Programs are offered at MCA & Saint Mary's University?

MCA offers summer camps and classes for ages 3-adult. We are offering a Junior Training Dance Program for dancers ages 10-16 years-old.

Saint Mary’s University offers a variety of summer camps including Basket Ball, Volleyball & Hockey.

The quality instruction our daughter got and the camaraderie was superior to other intensive’s my daughter has attended. She loved camp and didn’t want to come home. We were also impressed with the personal communication from the staff.

Parent of SDI Participant

My daughter had a wonderful time and I felt like she was very safe there.

Parent of SDI Participant

Sample daily schedule for MCA’s Summer Intensive

Sample SDI Daily Schedule
7:30 am Breakfast at Alverna Center
9-10:45 am Ballet Technique Class for Yellow Level S#1
9-10:45 am Ballet Technique Class for Red Level S#2
11 am-12:15 pm Pointe Technique and Variations for Red Level S#1
11 am-12:15 pm Pointe Technique and Variations for Yellow Level S#2
12:15-1:15 pm Lunch at Alverna Center and free time
1:15-2:15 pm Theory Class: Dance Costume Design
2:15-3:30 pm Contemporary Dance Technique Class (modern, jazz, African, hip hop, etc)
3:45-5:30 pm Repertory for selected dancers in S#1
3:45-5:30 pm Repertory for selected dancers in S#2
5:35 pm Bus leaves for dinner on main campus
5:45-7 pm Dinner and Free Time
7-9 pm Arts and Culture Experience (attend a performance by Great River Shakespeare Festival, Minnesota Beethoven Festival, Minnesota Marine Art Museum, etc) OR Arts and Culture Class (Character Development Workshop, Theatrical Dance Makeup Seminar, Musical Theatre Repertory, Dance Aesthetics in Film, etc)
9:15 pm Checked into dorms
10:00 pm In bed
10:30 pm Lights out!

My daughter enjoyed the high level of training and the small class sizes!

Parent of SDI Participant

Compared to other SDI’s this one was more bang for our buck!…longer amount of time spent dancing, more variety of classes taught, and a better showcase of lessons learned, at MCA. MCA seemed FAR SUPERIOR!

Parent of SDI Participant

Meet Some of the Past and Future Guest Artists and Faculty for MCA’s Summer Dance Intensive:

Allan Kinzie

Allan Kinzie

Associate Artistic Director of Ballet Ensemble of Texas

Allan Kinzie has been a Ballet Master and Choreographer for the past twenty six years. Some of the works he has created have been, “Coppelia”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Appalachian Spring”, “Scenes de Ballet”, and “Trauma into Light” to name a few. HIs ballets have been performed in Europe and the United States and his most recent work “Evensong” to music of Arvo Part was recently performed in the international finals of the Youth America Grand Prix competition in New York City. As a dancer, Mr. Kinzie performed with Dallas Ballet, Chicago City Ballet, Ballet Theatre Francais de Nancy, Ballet du Nord, and the Boston Ballet. Mr. Kinzie has toured extensively and performed with Rudolph Nureyev in his production of Don Quixote in fifteen foreign countries. Although choreographing with an emphasis on contemporary composers and movement invention is a passion, Mr. Kinzie is an accomplished Master Teacher and has taught at Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts, the Boston Ballet School, Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University and the University of Oklahoma.

Mariah Ciangiola

Mariah Ciangiola

Instructor - Music

Mariah Ciangiola has come back to her midwest roots and is excited to lead vocal lessons at the Music Conservatory of the Arts in Winona, Minnesota. She most recently finished a 7-month contract as a lead vocalist with AIDA Cruises based out of Germany. Before cruise work, she lived in New York City for ten years. While in New York she performed off-Broadway, in regional theaters, and toured as an Equity actress. She is now performing locally with jazz and blues bands as well as writing original music with The Mettalarks. Please feel free to check her website out at www.mariahciangiola.com for any updates and inquiries! 

Sharon Mansur

Sharon Mansur

Dance Professor & SHIFT Curator

Originally from the East Coast, Sharon Mansur is a dance and visual artist integrating movement and images within live performance events, site-specific installations and dance films. She is currently based in Winona, MN, and her dance films have been screened throughout the U.S. as well as Ireland, Canada, Germany and Italy. variation on residue won Best Performance Award at the Mirror Mountain Film Festival in 2015.  Sharon has been a dance professor at Winona State University and the University of Maryland, and was recently a guest artist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Luther College, and the Texas Dance Improvisation Festival. She has guest taught at several other universities, dance festivals and studios, including at MCA’s Summer Dance Intensive.  Sharon is currently on staff at Infinity Chiropractic & Wellness Center in Winona as a Certified Massage Therapist, Reiki energy healing practitioner and Somatic educator, and curates their SHIFT~ performance salons. 

Jamie Schwaba

Jamie Schwaba

Managing Director

Schwaba earned a Masters degree in Adult and Continuing Education Leadership from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a minor in Communications from Carroll University in Waukesha, WI, and is a certified Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Instructor. In addition to her role at MCA, Jamie is a member of the Education Committee for Great River Shakespeare and a former Secretary of the River Arts Alliance. Before relocating to Winona for this position she was the Director of Continuing Education and Children's Theatre Director at University of Wisconsin- Marinette from 2007-2014.  Also while living in Marinette Schwaba was an active member of the Menominee Area Arts Council who's mission was to promote, educate and support local arts activities.  Prior to living in Marinette she spent 8 years in the Milwaukee area where she was the Education Director at Milwaukee Youth Theatre, taught at First Stage Milwaukee, Danceworks, To The Pointe Fine Arts Academy and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music as well as performed professionally with Skylight Music Theatre, Discovery World and Windfall Theatre. Contact Jamie at: jschwaba@smumn.edu or 507-453-5501

Ryan Cappleman

Ryan Cappleman

Skylight Music Theatre & University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Ryan Cappleman, B.F.A in Inter-Arts Musical Theatre Performance from Peck School of the Arts at University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. A Milwaukee native, Cappleman is a performer, choreographer, director, musician, and teacher. He has performed Off Broadway, in Chicago, and in Milwaukee with the Skylight, In Tandem Theater, Vogel Hall, First Stage Children’s Theater, Milwaukee Chamber Theater, Sunset Playhouse, and Windfall Theater. Ryan has won six Tommy Awards for choreography and direction, working with many area high schools and universities. Ryan teaches for Danceworks, and has taught previously at First Stage, Children’s Theater of Madison, Northbrook Theater for Young Audiences, and The Virginia State Thespian Conference.

Jennifer TeBeest

Jennifer TeBeest

Instructor - Dance

Jen started dance training at age four and continued to study ballet, jazz, modern and tap at La Crosse Dance Centre.  She continued her to study modern at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and at Viterbo University in La Crosse where she graduated cum laude in 2005 with a B.A. in English Writing and minor emphases in Dance and Art-Graphic Design from Viterbo University.  She has attended the Miami Dance Festival; American College Dance Festival, PULSE workshop in Minneapolis, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project Summer Intensive, and was fortunate enough to work with Broadway tap legend Ted Levy through his work with La Crosse Dance Centre in 2006 and 2007. Jen was on staff at Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts in Winona, MN from 2005-2010 and has choreographed for MCA’s Dance Repertory Company and taught in more recent Summer Dance Intensives. Currently, she is an instructor at Viterbo University, Winona State University, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and La Crosse Dance Centre.  She has choreographed numerous musicals throughout the area, including “Oklahoma,” “L’il Abner,” “King and I,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “42nd Street;” “Suessical the Musical” for Appleseed Community Theatre, and many annual summer musicals with Home and Community Options of Winona.

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

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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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