Classes & Programs / Dance

Virtual Junior Training Program For Dancers

Our 2020 Summer Dance Intensive has been moved online due to COVID-19. We are so excited to still be able to to offer a wonderful well-rounded and personal experience for dancers ages 10+.

There are no auditions required, but it is important to note that this intensive is geared towards dancers ages 10+ who have at least three years of ballet training.  Please explore the schedule and Q & A below for more information and don’t hesitate to contact us at if you have any questions about placement, the schedule or the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts. Please note that unlike our traditional program, this year students are also able to register for classes à la carte to best fit their schedule and dance goals.

July 6-24, 2020

Summer Dance Intensive FAQs

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 contemporary, hip hop, 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. When you register for the entire intensive experience you save 20% for three weeks of daily classes, Monday-Friday. However, at this time we know how important it is to be flexible, so we have created a handful of packages and à la carte options to meet dancer’s needs.
What is the weekly schedule?

Jr. Training Program for Dancers- ages 10+


2:30-3:45pm- Ages 10-13 Dance Composition, Tammy Schmidt

4-5:30pm- Ballet IIB/III, Rachael Ryan


4-5pm- Contemporary , Jess Dienger


4-5:15pm- Theory Classes exploring dance topics including Costume Design, theatrical make-up, and performance psychology


4-4:45pm- Hip Hop I/II, Jess Dienger 


4-5pm- Careers in Dance Series- hear from and interact with a dance studio owner, dance photographer and dance medicine professional

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

MCA’s Virtual Summer Dance Intensive will run over three weeks, holding classes Monday- Friday, July 6-24. 

Junior Training Program for Dancers- $98 ($24/ 20% savings)

Dance Composition 1x weekly

Ballet IIB/III 1x weekly

Performance-based Practices 1x week (3 weeks)

Careers in Dance Conversations 1x week (3 weeks)

Contemporary I/II 1x weekly

Hip Hop I/II 1x weekly

Each of these classes can be registered for individually so that dancers can find the right schedule to fit their needs. Please note that in order to participate in pointe class, students must be enrolled in a min. of two ballet classes per week for the safety of the dancer.

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.

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

No, any dancer of an intermediate or advanced level is invited to participate. Due to the unique virtual platform dancers from any geographic location are welcome. Please note that all classes are 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.

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. 

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.


Is an online dance program worth it? If so how do I make the most of it?

Yes, here are couple articles that discuss the benefits and ways you can make the most of your experience:

Dance Teacher Magazine Article- A Parent Asks, Are Online Dance Classes Really Worth It? 

Pointe Magazine- As Summer Intensives Adjust to Social-distancing, Here’s How to Make the Most of It.

Dance Magazine Article- How Do You Stay Performance Ready When You are Stuck at Home?

Pointe Magazine- How can I Stay Motivated When I am at Home?

Dance Informa Article- 4 Ways Keep your Training Strong during Quarantine 

Are there ways I could make my at-home dance space safer and better?

Yes, ideally each dancer should have a ballet barre and a safe floor to dance on. Here are some links to some video tutorials that provide instructions on how to inexpensively create a space in your home so that you can make the most out of the intensive and dancing at home

DIY PVC ballet barre (Can make a 5-foot long barre for under $30!)

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:







Does MCA have any other summer programs?

Yes, please click here to see a full list and descriptions, but here is an overview of MCA’s July 2020 Programs:

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:

Tammy Schmidt

Tammy Schmidt

Director of Dance

Schmidt holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Ballet from Texas Christian University and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Oklahoma. In 2017 she became an ABT (American Ballet Theatre) Certified teacher for Pre-Primary-Level 3 and in 2018 she was certified as Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT) Instructor. As director of dance, Schmidt leads and teaches in the dance division of MCA, as well as the dance minor program at Saint Mary's University. Additionally, she serves as artistic director for MCA's Dance Repertory Company. Schmidt has restaged and choreographed several full-length ballets for the company including: Cinderella, Paquita, The Nutcracker, Excerpts from Swan Lake, and the Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadère. Schmidt received the State of Oklahoma's Miguel Terekhov award for her original ballet, A Tender Age. Schmidt is a member of the American College Dance Festival Association and the National Dance Education Association. She has previously taught at Viterbo University, Winona State University, La Crosse Dance Centre, the University of Oklahoma, North Houston Ballet, and Backstage Dance Theatre. Her performing career includes work with Ballet Dallas, Houston Ballet, Ballet Austin, Milwaukee Ballet, and Oklahoma Festival Ballet. Contact Tammy at: or 507-453-5502.

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.

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.

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.

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

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


Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, our office hours are limited to the following but subject to change:

Mondays: 4:15-7:15 pm

Tuesdays: 4:00-6:30 pm

Wednesdays: 4:15-6:45 pm

Thursdays: 4:15-6:45 pm

Fridays: 4:15-6:45 pm

Saturdays: 9:30am- 1:15 pm



sponsor logo

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.

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Instagram

© Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy | Site Feedback/Changes | Accreditation