Classes & Programs / Dance

Summer Dance Intensive- July 2022

Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is excited to announce that we will be offering our 19th annual Summer Dance Intensive July 10- July 30, 2022. This year’s Intensive will commence in-person while following MCA’s recently updated Health and Safety Code of Conduct. Room and board will be offered at a residence hall on Saint Mary’s University’s main campus. We are so excited to offer a wonderful well-rounded and personal experience for intermediate and advanced dancers ages 12-25.

Dancers interested in attending the MCA Summer Dance Intensive are invited to attend in-person auditions at 2 locations this year (details below). Please note that our April 23 audition has been rescheduled to April 30. 

If you cannot attend either of these two auditions, you may send in a video audition by May 1, 2022.

Please explore the schedule and Q & A below for more information and don’t hesitate to contact us at


La Crosse Dance Centre
2716 Commerce St.
La Crosse, WI 54603
Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022
10:00am – 12:00pm


MN Conservatory for the Arts
1164 W 10th St.
Winona, MN 55987
Saturday, April 30, 2022
10:00am – 12:00pm

Summer Dance Intensive FAQs

Will MCA's 2022 Summer Dance Intensive be In-Person?

The state of COVID-19 in our society remains ever changing, however, we feel confident that we can safely and successfully offer an in-person summer dance intensive experience. All dancers and teaching faculty will be required to follow our MCA COVID Code of Conduct to help keep our community healthy.

Information on boarding TBA soon. However, if you are a dancer from out of the area who is looking for lodging suggestions please contact our office at

How long does the 2022 Summer Intensive run?

MCA’s 2022 Summer Dance Intensive will run over three weeks, July 10-30. Classes will include ballet, pre-pointe/pointe, contemporary, jazz, modern, theory (such as dance composition, dance related careers, and costume design), and conditioning. Classes will run Monday- Saturday, 9am- 5:45pm. The schedule may vary a bit on July 29th and 30th as dictated by a dress rehearsal and final showcase. All dancers will have the opportunity to perform in the final showcase on July 30th for up to two friends or family per dancer can attend. Below is a sample daily schedule

The fee for over 100 hours of instruction is $1500. Past students are eligible for 20% returning student discount. Registration is limited based on acceptance and then by registration date. Priority will be given to those who have registered by May 1st. Visit the question about registration time and deposit for dates and refund policy.

Accepted students (including past participants) can register here.

Sample Daily Schedule (subject to change)

9:00-11:00 AM- Ballet Technique

11:00 AM- 12:15 PM- Pointe Technique & Variations

12:15- 1:15 PM- Lunch break

1:15-2:45 PM- Contemporary Dance Technique Class (Modern, Jazz, Contemporary)

3:00-4:10 PM- Theory class or repertory rehearsal (Site Specific Dance, Dance Composition, Body Image, Hula, Irish, Costume Design)

4:25-5:45 PM- Repertory rehearsal for final showcase

Three reasons dancers are choosing our Summer Dance Intensive?
  1. Well rounded dance experience….our intensive is rooted in a strong ballet technique but also offers dancers to explore modern, contemporary, dance composition and important dance related topics.
  2. Lots of personal attention….even in the digital format our instructors strive to give personal corrections and get to know dancers.
  3. Affordability….as a nonprofit organization we provide an affordable option for dance education. 
What is the weekly schedule?

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic our schedule is still be developed. We hope to offer a performance opportunity for students who attend the 4-week in-person program. A more detailed scheduled is set to be released around May 1. Below are sample schedules from our 2019 in-person intensive and 2020 virtual intensive.

Sample In-person Sumer Dance Intensive Daily Schedule (this is a sample schedule that may be modified to meet COVID related recommendations and regulations.)

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!

Sample Virtual Summer Intensive Schedule

Mondays(unless noted otherwise)

Dance Composition- 2:30-3:45pm (Ages 10-13), 4-5:15pm (Ages 14+), Tammy Schmidt

Modern III-V Technique- 5:30-6:30pm, Jessica Dienger

Cardio Barre- July 6-27, 7:00-8:00pm, Jessica Dienger

Tuesdays- July 7-21 

Ballet IV-VII- 4:15-5:55pm, Tammy Schmidt

Pointe & Pre-Pointe- 6-6:45pm, Tammy Schmidt

Wednesdays- July 8-22

Performance-based Practices- 4-5:15pm

Int/ Adv. Contemporary Technique- 5:30-6:30pm, Jessica Dienger

Thursdays- July 9-23 (unless noted otherwise)

Ballet IV-VII- 4:15-5:55pm, Tammy Schmidt

Pointe & Pre-Pointe- 6-6:45pm, Tammy Schmidt

Barre Fitness- July 9-30, 7-8pm, Jessica Dienger

Fridays- June 10-31 (unless noted otherwise)

Careers in Dance Conversations- 4-5 pm

Ballet IV-VII- 5:15-6:45pm, Jessica Dienger

Stretch & Relax- July 10-31, 7-8pm, Avin Honecker-Sherman

What is the registration timeline?

Registration is due no later than May 21, 2022, you can find the registration form here. The first tuition and boarding payment is due on June 1st, with final payment due on July 1st.

What are the theory classes all about and how will they help me become a better dancer?

The three theory classes each week are designed to inspire creativity, provide important unique dance related experiences, and help dancers make new connections in the dance world. Below are the course descriptions.

Dance Composition – Class will explore a number of creative tools to inspire movement phrases.  Students will meet via Zoom each Monday to discuss work and receive peer feedback.  Choreography, once created, will need to be recorded and uploaded to a class Google drive folder. Instructor: Tammy Schmidt, MCA Director of Dance

Preparing for Performance Workshops – These theory classes will provide insight into preparing for dance production.  Our guest lecturers will provide interesting background on how dance costuming is designed and created, how theatrical makeup is designed and applied, as well as a discussion about utilizing dance performance psychology to create success and consistency onstage.  Each workshop has a hands-on component for student participation. Guest Speakers: Asastasia Goodwin (Saint Mary’s University of MN Costume Designer), Daniel Klingler (Broadway Make-up and Wig professional and Author of Everyday Make-up Secrets) & Tammy Schmidt (MCA Director of Dance)
Careers in Dance – This class will explore three exciting careers in dance that might be overlooked by students that wish to combine their love of dance with other interests.  MCA will host virtual chats with a dance studio owner, a professional dance photographer, and a dance medicine practitioner with a specialty in hypermobility in dancers. Guest Speakers: Stefanie M. Best (Artistic Director of Allen Conservatory of Dance), Linda Bluestein, MD (Hypermobility Disorder Specialist at Hyper Mobility MD), and Ron McKinney (Photographer and Co-founder of Pas de Deux Photo)

*Not interested in all classes? Each class and session can be registered for individually.

What are the tuition fees and room & board?

The tuition fee for 2022 is $1500 for over 100 hours of instruction. In addition to merit based scholarships awarded at auditions, a limited number of need-based scholarships are available and are open to dancers from any location, however priority will be given to dancers within a 60 mile radius of Winona, MN.

Room and board is available. Cost is $1500 and covers lodging, meals, transportation and chaperones. Boarding will be located on the Saint Mary’s University Campus.

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

For the best experience and to see the most growth during the intensive, dancers are encouraged to register and participate in all classes and programs that are part of the intensive, however we know that everyone’s dance goals, at-home dance space, and schedules are unique, so we have a variety of cost saving packages.

If space allows Dancers who are interested only in a class or two are able to just register for the classes that they wish to attend. This is a perfect choice for dancers who are looking to supplement classes at their home studio. If a student will be traveling and is not able to commit to all three weeks, we encourage you to contact our office at to learn about in-advanced prorating options.

Please note that in order to participate in pointe class en pointe, dancers must be participating in at least two days of ballet classes a week and must attend the ballet class prior to pointe to ensure safety.


Do female students need to have experience dancing on pointe?

No, dancers who do not have pointe experience or who do not have a safe floor for pointe work are able to participate in pointe class en flat in their ballet slippers. Pointe class will strengthen muscles and technique for both pre-pointers and pointers.

Do I need to be a current or past participant of MCA to register?

No, any dancer of an intermediate or advanced level that is accepted (through virtual audition or video audition) is invited to participate. If in-person boarding and classes are possible, participation numbers may be very limited due to the pandemic. For our virtual programs, dancers from any geographic location are welcome. Please note that all classes will be listed and happen at Central Standard Time (CST).

Our program can also serve as a wonderful supplementary program if your home studio is opened up on a part-time basis, but you are looking to expand your training or dance knowledge this summer. Unlike with our traditional Summer Intensives we are offering many registration options and we are also happy to discuss pro-ration if one of our pre-arranged packages does not fit your needs.

Not sure if this program or level is right for you? Please contact us at: and we will help you find the right right.

Does MCA have any other summer programs?

Yes, MCA plans to offer a variety of dance and other arts programming throughout the summer including a Junior Dance Program. The Junior Dance Program (JTP) is from July 17-30, 2022. It is for intermediate students ages 10-16, with 2 years of ballet technique experience. Dance genres include dance technique classes, theory and arts enrichment classes. Final day showcase in the Page Theatre, Saint Mary’s University. Tuition fee is $700 and room & board (includes meals/transportation/chaperones) is $1000. Possible financial-need based scholarships available.


Can you tell me a little more about Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts?

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) is a non-profit 501(c)3 community arts school and affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of MN. MCA offers classes, camps, workshops, private lessons and performance opportunities in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. MCA was founded as a Ballet School in 1973 and offers programs for ages 18 mo.- adults.  We are also the home of the Pre-Professional Dance Company, the Dance Repertory Company.

MCA’s programs are designed to encourage artistic expression, develop heightened self-respect, discipline, and confidence. Students and alumni have studied at or performed with: American Ballet Theatre, Ananya Dance Theatre, 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, Julliard, 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, and Wichita State University among others.

We are a proud member of the National Guild for Community Arts School, National Dance Education Organization, and River Arts Alliance, and Winona Non-profit Alliance.

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:







If I have more questions whom do I contact?

Please Contact:
Megan Baginewski,
MCA Administrative Assistant

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

Rachael Ryan

Rachael Ryan

Instructor - Dance & Music

A graduate from the Eastman School of Music, Ryan earned her Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance. While at school, she frequently performed with the Eastman Philharmonic, Eastman Collegium, and Ossia.  Over the years she has participated in several acclaimed music festivals such as Bowdoin International Music Festival, Colorado College Music Festival, The Quartet Program, the Rochester Early Music Festival, and Northern Lights Music Festival.   Ryan has performed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and has appeared as soloist with the Winona Oratorio Chorus and La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.  Additionally, she has worked alongside many of the world’s leading artists, prize-winning soloists, and Grammy-award winning musicians such as Phillipe Jaroussky, Paul O’Dette, Charles Castleman, Lika Yakupova, and Jaroslaw Nadrzycki.  Ryan’s performance on the Viola da Gamba at the Boston Early Music Festival in the Summer of 2011 was described as “mysteriously beautiful” by the Boston Globe.  Additionally, Ryan is an alum of MCA where she studied Classical ballet for over a decade.  She performed many soloist and principal roles as a member of MCA’s Dance Repertory Company.

Jessica Dienger

Jessica Dienger

Instructor - Dance

Jessica has been studying all forms of dance since the age of three. She eventually turned her lifelong passion for the art into a career when she began teaching at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts in 2006. She was a founding member and dancer of the Two Lakes Dance Project in 2010, and in 2014 restaged Plum's Divine Crazy Quilt for the DRC 40th Anniversary Concert. Dienger has created original works for both DRC & DRC. Dienger now teaches jazz, hip hop and tap at MCA. In 2017 she became a certified PulsePointe Barre Instructor. She resides in La Crosse, WI with her husband, Mitch and daughter Elliotte.

Avin Honecker-Sherman

Avin Honecker-Sherman

Instructor - Dance

Honecker-Sherman is a graduate from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Studies: Dance and Movement Studies. She has performed with MCA’s Dance Repertory Company, as well as performing for WSU, the University of Minnesota, Ballet Arts City Children’s Nutcracker Project, American College Dance Festivals, Sam Costas “10,000 Dances” Company, Sweets of May Irish Dance, Children’s Dance Theatre, and many other community performances. She is a graduate of Perpich Center for Arts Education where she has also been a guest artist. Her teaching experience includes ballet, modern, jazz, tap, clogging, improvisation, swing, and Irish dance. Honecker-Sherman is also a certified Pilates instructor and Personal Fitness Trainer, skilled in kickboxing, land and water aerobics and weight training.

Raina Racki

Raina Racki

Instructor - Dance

​Raina's dance roots and shoots sprouted here in Winona, training, performing and even starting to teach ballet with Stefannie Valencia Kierlin.  After 10 years with Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (formally known as The Ballet School and Children in Concert), Raina dove barefoot into modern dance at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee where she earned a BFA degree in Dance, after which, she attended a Summer Intensive at the Alvin Ailey School in New York City.  Raina has enjoyed teaching dance in Honolulu and Hilo, HI, Durham, NC, Chicago, IL, Haifa, Israel and Winona, MN.  Her performing career has included a range of work in ballet, modern and hula dance, musical theatre, theatre, choral singing, French horn tooting and a touch of aerial strap flying.  Raina feels blessed to have traveled the world and performed in places such as Kyoto, Japan, Vilnius Lithuania, and at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Some companies Raina has worked with are:  Children in Concert of Winona; Chicago Moving Company, Rachel Bunting and the Humans, and Lyric Opera Company of Chicago; Convergence Dance Theater, Ohi'a Productions and Wai Company of Oahu, Portland Musical Theater Company and Randee Paufve and Dancers in Oregon. When not in the studio, Raina loves spending time gardening and being with her beloved husband and children.

Christine Martin

Christine Martin

Instructor - Dance

Martin has been a faculty member at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts since 1994 and served as managing director from 1999 to 2012. She also teaches dance for Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, Viterbo University, and Winona State University.  Martin previously taught at Virginia Luoma Dance Studio and Viterbo University. Martin's performing career includes work with the Minneapolis-based tap company, Keane Sense of Rhythm at: The Minneapolis and Thunder Bay, Canada Fringe Festivals, the Minneapolis and Chicago Human Rhythm Projects, and Choreographer's Evening at the Walker Arts Center. She has staged and choreographed a variety of original works and excerpts for Classical ballet's for the MCA's Dance Repertory Company including Paquita, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. Martin has choreographed several musicals including A Chorus Line, Baby, Cabaret, Company, Dames at Sea, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy, Little Shop of Horrors, Showtune, Urinetown, and The Wizard of Oz for Gilmore Creek Summer Theatre, Home and Community Options, SMU's Department of Theatre and Dance, and WSU's Theatre and dance Department. Martin is a graduate of Saint Mary's University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations.

Dr. Linda Bluestein

Dr. Linda Bluestein

Guest Speaker

Dr. Linda Bluestein has been practicing medicine for over 20 years and has helped countless people restore function and improve their quality of life.  As a former ballet dancer and instructor, she has a special interest in treating flexibility athletes (dancers, gymnasts, acrobatic artists, etc) and others at increased risk of hypermobility disorders.

Dr. Bluestein, national, international and invited speaker, is at the forefront of research on pain, hypermobility and dance medicine.  She has written and lectured extensively on the topics of pain neuroscience, chronic pain, and hypermobility disorders. Dr. Bluestein repeatedly receives top reviews from medical students for her teaching abilities and is a member of the clinical faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Central Wisconsin where she also serves as the Course Director for the RISHI Healer’s Art Program.


  • Anesthesiology Residency, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine

  • Doctor of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine

  • Bachelor of Science, University of California, Irvine​


  • Performing Arts Medicine

  • Board Certified, American Board of Anesthesiology

  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support

  • Diplomate, National Board of Medical Examiners, July 1991

  • Wisconsin Medical License, Active since June 1996


  • Chief Resident, Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic

  • Phi Beta Kappa, University of California

  • Magna Cum Laude, University of California

Learn more about Linda and hypermobilty by exploring her Bendy Bodies Podcast and the Hypermobility MD website

Stefanie Best

Stefanie Best

Guest Speaker

Stefanie M. Best is the the Artistic Director of Allen Conservatory of Dance in Allen, Texas. Stefanie was born in San Fancisco and was encouraged in classical arts by her mother, a Russian emigree. Stefanie furthered her ballet training at Southern Methodist University, and received a Masters Degree in Dance from the University of Houston. She also spent three years at the Houston Ballet Academy. 

Upon returning to Dallas, Stefanie spent ten years dancing for Krassoska Ballet Jeusnesse, under the direction of Nathalie Krassovska, former prima ballerina of the Balllet Russes de Monte Carlo and the London Festival Ballet. 

In 1995, Ms. Best founded the Allen Conservatory of Dance. Her students have been accepted into some of the most prestigious ballet programs in the county, many on scholarship. She has coached many dancers who have Top 12 or Top 24 in both Junior and Senior Classical Categories at YAGP. 

In 1999, Stefanie founded the Allen Civic Ballet, and functions as it's President and Artistic Director. The Allen Civic Ballet is a non-profit organization, funded in part by the City of Allen and the Allen Arts Alliance. 

Learn more about the Allen Conservatory of Dance.

Ron McKinney

Ron McKinney

Guest Speaker

Ron McKinney is an international leader in dance photography. Ron and his wife, Beth, are the founders and directors of Pas de Deux Dance Photo, an online community that supports the art and business of dance photography in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and South America.

They are the official photographer for Ballet Chicago, the DePaul University Dance and Cheer teams, and we partner with more than 20 local dance studios and many college, high school and professional teams and companies. They have also worked for Hubbard Street, the Houston Ballet, the Grand Rapids Ballet, and at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago.

Learn more about Ron McKinney Photography and Pas de Duex Photo

Anastasia Goodwin

Anastasia Goodwin

Guest Speaker

Anastasia Goodwin is a costume designer, fabricator, and educator with more than fifteen years of experience in the field.  Born and raised in Saratov, Russia, she has worked in her hometown as well as the Midwest, Santa Fe, New York, and the greater Seattle area. Anastasia’s experience with dance comes from working in the costume shop and wardrobe department at Pacific Northwest Ballet on a range of productions, including Swan Lake (designed by Paul Tazewell) and Kent Stowell’s The Nutcracker. She was the costume designer for Approaching Extasy, a modern ballet performance produced by Whim W’Him in Seattle, as well as the construction lead on the University of Washington’s School of Dance production of The Rite of Spring. Anastasia holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Costume Design from the University of Washington. She is currently the Costume Designer and Shop Manager at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Daniel Klingler

Guest Artist

Daniel currently works in the Hair/Makeup Department of Broadways ALADDIN. Previous Broadway credits include: FROZEN and MEAN GIRLS. Head of Hair/Makeup for the International tour of ANNIE. Head of Hair/Makeup for the National Tours of ANNIE and Andrew Lloyd Webbers WIZARD OF OZ. Additionally, he designed wigs for FROZEN for Disney Cruise Line. Daniel trained at the prestigious British Wig Academy in Eastbourne, UK.

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


Contact Us


Winter 2022 Hours (Jan. - Mar. 26)

Monday- Thursday- 8am-6:30pm

Friday- 8am-3pm

Closed April 15th & 18th

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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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