The twin cities are known for being the location of several amazing dance studios. There are dozens of quality Minnesota dance studios located in the suburbs, as well as in downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis. These studios are great places for children to learn ballet, tap, jazz and other styles of dance. Several Minnesota dance studios also offer the opportunity for more advanced students to perform with elite competition lines. These dance groups train several hours each week, and compete against each other on a regional and national level. Every year, Minnesota dance studios win a variety of national dance competitions, including Showbiz, West Coast Dance Explosion, Jump, and New York City Dance Alliance, among others. With so many great Minnesota dance studios, how should an aspiring competitive dancer choose which dance school to attend? While many base decisions on proximity, others prefer to look at the types of classes offered, as well as the background of the teachers and the cost for tuition, costumes and competing. The following three studios are considered the most some of the most elite in the state, and may be a good place to start your search.
Summit Dance Shoppe
Recently, Summit School of Dance and the Dance Shoppe combined forces to create Summit Dance Shoppe, which is currently the largest of all the Minnesota dance studios. Summit Dance Shoppe has location open in both Plymouth and Wayzata. At Summit Dance Shoppe, students receive instruction in a variety of dance styles, such as ballet, pointe, hip hop, tap, jazz and contemporary. Advanced students can audition for one of several competition lines, which practice anywhere from ten to twenty hours a week, depending on age and ability. Competitive dancers perform in production numbers, large group and small group ensembles, duets and solos at several regional competitions, and in the annual Summit Dance Shoppe recitals. Several competition lines also attend a national dance competition every summer.
Larkin Dance Studio
Known nationwide as one of the best dance schools, Larkin Dance Studio has a long history of excellence. Founded sixty years ago by Shirley Larkin, the studio boasts award winning teachers and choreographers, including Michele Larkin Wagner (whose battle against breast cancer inspired the famous So You Think You Can Dance contemporary duet choreographed by Tyce Diorio), Molly Larkin Symanietz, Trey Barber and Ilia Gorev. Larkin is home to ten competition lines, including six lines for dancers ages 4 to 18 and two lines for adults (the Larkin Ladies and the Dancing Dads). Larkin dancers have gone on to dance with the University of Minnesota dance team (national champions), at Julliard, and even as Radio City Rockettes!
Named for the four sisters with a passion for dance (Kari, Stacey, Heather, and Melissa Nelson), Studio 4 is one of the newer Minnesota dance studios, and is already becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of competitive dance. Located in Burnsville, Minnesota, dancers from Studio 4 can be seen performing at regional dance competitions such as Hall of Fame, Primetime and Showbiz, as well as at national competitions such as Showbiz Nationals in Daytona, Florida. Competitive dancers are required to attend ballet lessons twice a week, and jazz, lyrical, musical theatre and tap classes two or three times a week, depending on which group they are placed in during auditions.