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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

News & Events

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A Letter to Entering Dance Majors or Minors:

Welcome to the Department of Theatre & Dance.  We are thrilled you will be joining us this fall. 

The Minnesota State Mankato Dance Program offers four-degree programs in the major.  They include:  1) a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance (BFA); 2) a Bachelor of Arts in Dance (BA); and, 3) a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Dance; or, 4) a Bachelor of Science in K-12 Dance Education (BST).  You don’t have to know just yet which degree program is best suited for you, but I wanted you to be aware of these options.

If you have not already participated in a placement audition, please attend this on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013.  The audition is an opportunity for the Dance Faculty to watch you dance so we can place you in the correct level of dance technique based on your skill level.  If you are also auditioning for the BFA in Dance, this audition will occur at the same time.  If you already auditioned last spring, you do not need to attend the audition, but you do need to attend the short advising session that follows. Finally, there are still Freshman Talents Grants available, so you can still audition for this grant at the same time.  Please let us know this when you arrive for the audition.

The audition will occur in the Earley Center for Performing Arts in 126, our main dance studio in the lower level. Here is what to expect on the 23rd:

  • 10:00-11:30 a.m.—Dance Class (combination of ballet, jazz, and modern)
  • 11:30-12:00—BFA Applicants Only (solos, interviews, writing sample)
  • 12:00-12:15—Questions & Answer Session
  • 1:00-2:30—Individual Advising Sessions (all entering freshman & transfers)

When you arrive, please warm-up and be really to dance.  Wear clothing so that we can assess you alignment and other dance skills.  Some examples might be leotards and tights, or leggings and a form-fitting t-shirt. Bring ballet slippers and jazz shoes, but make sure your feet can be bare for the modern portion of the audition.

I look forward to working with you next fall.  You will be joining a very dynamic and exciting dance community.  Please contact if you have any questions between now and August at:


Dr. Julie Kerr-Berry
Professor and Dance Program Director


Crash by Daniel Stark

The 13 Minnesota State University, Mankato Dance students who performed in faculty member Dan Stark’s piece, Crash (2010), at the American College Dance Festival Association regional conference in Madison, WI, March 28-April 1 got another chance to perform it when they headed to Washington, D.C., and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Gala Concerts May 25-27, 2012.  Two years ago, the last time selections were made, Stark’s piece Politics Religion Sex was selected.

Twenty-five Minnesota State Mankato students attended the Regional Conference at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  The festival included 500 participants from around the country.  Crash was first selected to the Gala concert for the conference, along with eight other dances.  Then it was selected from those to perform at the Kennedy Center.

Says Stark: “Performing at the Kennedy Center is an artist's dream and represents accomplishment at the highest level.  By [attending] this event, our students will be given an incredible opportunity, will gain knowledge and experiences that will be brought back and used to foster growth of our Minnesota State Mankato dance community, and will create recognition of our Dance program at the national level.”

Dancers in Crash are: Chris Jones, solo; Joseph Crook and Nicole Einerson in duet; and Sydney Burch, Shareen Brazil, Bridget Carlson, Brittany Ford, Alexis Heruth, Emily M.X. Higgins, Alexa Lautenbach, Jaclyn Vlasak, Geneva Walters and Kayla Wittstein.  Faculty designers are: George E. Grubb, sound, Steven Smith, lighting, and Catherine Schmeal-Swope, costumes (based on original designs by Jessica Guthrie).

In addition to Crash, student Sydney Burch’s piece, Introductions (2011) was performed at the adjudicated concert.  It featured performers Burch, Heruth and Lautenbach, with sound by Grubb, lighting by Smith and costumes by Schmeal-Swope.

Also, Sophie Pimsler choreographed a dance that was performed in the Informal Concert: 21 Blues (2011).  Dancers were Pimsler, Heruth, Lautenbach, Alicia Olson and Amy Wilson.

ACDFA's membership currently stands at over 300 institutions.  According to the national website:

“The National College Dance Festival highlights, on the national level, the outstanding quality of choreography and performance that is being created on college and university campuses by bringing together schools from all over the country to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.  The 30 participating schools have been selected by nationally recognized adjudicators at each of the 11 ACDFA regional conferences.  Selections are based on outstanding artistic excellence and merit.”

Larry Yazzie
A past Andreas Guest Artist, fancy dancer Larry Yazzie

High School Dance Workshop

The Department of Theatre & Dance will host its second High School Dance Workshop from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, in the Performing Arts Center studios. Registration is open now by clicking here; more communication and finalized schedule to follow based on enrollment numbers.

For more information, contact the Department.

Visiting Guest Artists for 2011-2012

• Zenon Dance Company
• Flying Foot Forum
• Zorongo Flamenco Company

Guest Artists to World Dance classes for 2011-2012

March 1: Flying Foot Forum Dance Company; clogging and hambone, and some jazz roots.
March 30: Classical Javanese dance artist Tri Sutrisno
April 12: Brazilian dance artist Marciano Silva dos Santos
April 24: Tango dance artist Gretchen Larson

Classes meet from 12:30-1:55 p.m. in PA 126. Please contact Dr. Julie Kerr-Berry for information.

American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA)

The Department will participate in the American College Dance Festival at theUniversity of WI, Madison; March 28-April 1, 2012. In March 2013, the Minnesota State Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance will host the regional festival.

Francis Kofi
Another past Andreas Guest Artist, Francis Kofi

Dance program performed at Kennedy Center in May 2010

The Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Theatre & Dance presented one of its dance pieces, “Politics Religion Sex,” at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, in May 2010.  Choreographed by faculty member Daniel Stark, it was selected following its performance at the Regional Gala Concert of the American College Dance Festival Association March 17-21 at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Thirty-two dances from 24 colleges and universities from around the country, as far away as New Mexico and Washington, competed in the festival (schools are not limited to competing in their own region).  Adjudicators were made up of a panel of three nationally recognized artists in the field of dance.
From those 32, seven were selected for the Regional Gala (including “Stay,” a student-choreographed work by Katie Drietz from Mankato), and two, including “Politics Religion Sex,” earned performances at nationals.

For 22 years, Minnesota State Mankato has been involved with the American College Dance Festival Association and on several past occasions (2006, 2007 and 2009) has had dances adjudicated and invited to the regional conference’s esteemed Regional Gala Concert.  
Dance became an academic major at Minnesota State Mankato in 2005 and is the only one of its kind in MnSCU.  The Department of Theatre and Dance offers the only Dance Education major in the state of Minnesota.  Director of Dance, Dr. Julie Kerr-Berry, currently serves as the Regional Director of the North Central Region of ACDFA.