Featured Artist: Minnesota Dance Ensemble

Minnesota Dance Ensemble was set to perform their Choreography Showcase on the Paramount stage on April 2nd. Their performance has been indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19. We had a chance to connect with Samantha Collen, Artistic Director, about what she and the dancers are doing during this time. Read all about it below, and visit their website, www.minnesotadanceensemble or on Facebook for more information.

1. Tell us a little bit about who you are, what type of performance you “normally” do and about what type of performance you were planning to do at the Paramount.

I [Samantha Collen] am a choreographer, dancer, teacher and coach. I work with local theatres, schools and dance groups, teaching ballet and creating innovative choreography for productions. I am the Artistic Director of Minnesota Dance Ensemble, and Director/Owner of Central Minnesota Ballet Academy. My passion is teaching ballet. I enjoy sharing the knowledge I gained through my professional experience dancing nationally and internationally. I was able to bring a Russian folk tale to life at the Paramount in January, when I directed and staged the ballet, “The Snow Maiden”. Many of the local artists involved in The Snow Maiden ballet were preparing for a choreography showcase to be performed April 2nd at the Paramount.


2. What are you doing now that you can’t perform in front of a live (in person) audience?

Central Minnesota Ballet Academy is offering open classes online to the community. We are doing an online dance recital on Saturday, May 16th. If you would like to join a class or watch our online dance recital, visit us on Facebook (@cmballetacademy) for more details.


3. Are there any new opportunities or partnerships, artistically, that have come about for you during this time?

One nice thing about online ballet classes is that some of my students, who now dance professionally in other parts of the country/abroad, are able to join classes as well. Local dancers are enjoying online class as well, as they do not have the same commute times or regular business hours, so they are able to make it to more classes. I am also starting to experiment with new opera, ballet ideas for future productions.


4. How can people connect with you while we are all staying at home?

Check out Central Minnesota Ballet Academy on Facebook, or email me at sammy_russia@yahoo.com.


5. Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Paramount online audience?

Stay positive and keep doing what you are passionate about. Passion and art will help us through this.