LEAD Student Convention
Date and Time: Saturday November 11, 2017 10:00am – 4:00pm
The 2017 Student LEAD Convention will be held at Chaska High School! We have amazing instructors on board, including The University of St. Thomas Dance Team, Minnesota State Mankato Dance Team, Kelly Clement and Casey Hall, Katie Peyton, Alysia Ulfers, Anna Itman, and many more!
We are also offering a wide variety of movement classes like Jazz, Kick, Contemporary, and Hip Hop. In additon to that, we have yoga, fitness and strength for dancers, lyrical, and improv! There are great classroom based offerings, too – Stress Management, Planning Your Dances, Leadership, and The Importance of Performance, just to name a few!
This year, we are thrilled to have Mackenzie Larkin Symanietz teach a master class to our convention participants!! Mackenzie is a University of Minnesota Dance Team alum. She grew up dancing at Larkin Dance Studio and continues her grandmother’s legacy as a teacher and choreographer, inspiring dancers all across the country. She recently choreographed the University of Minnesota Dance Team Jazz routine that earned them a National Championship title in 2017. She feels fortunate to have been a part of so many dancers’ journeys, including Eva Igo on World of Dance and Taylor Sieve on SYTYCD. She gains inspiration from ALL the dancers she works with and hopes to share her passion with this year’s Student Convention participants. We are excited to have our dancers share this hour with Mackenzie as she leads the group in a contemporary combo.
This is sure to be a great day of dance and we look forward to seeing you there!!!!
Class Descriptions and Teacher Bios
Advanced High Kick: St. Thomas and Minnesota State Mankato
Focused on strength and execution of movement, flexibility, quick transitions, and challenging combinations. Learn ideas for strength training specifically for kicks.
Advanced Hip Hop: St. Thomas
This class covers challenging musicality, isolation, and various styles in choreography with a focus on movement and variation of ticks, such as kips and head springs.
Advanced Jazz: St. Thomas and Minnesota State Mankato
Challenge yourself not only with technique (turns, jumps, extensions) but through breaking out of your comfort zone. Class will focus on poise, musicality, and emotion in performance.
Beginner/Intermediate High Kick: St. Thomas and Mankato
Practice the importance of body awareness and alignment, smooth movement, and weight changes. Learn combinations to incorporate technical skills.
Beginner/Intermediate Jazz: St. Thomas and Mankato
Learn innovative entrances and landings of turns, leaps, and combinations of technique, as well as focus on maintaining cohesive and smooth transitions in and out of skills and choreography.
Intermediate Hip Hop: St. Thomas
This class will cover range of motion and how to get into performance. Tricks like head stands, stalls, and kips will be broken down.
Kick 101: Minnesota State Mankato
If you are new to dance team, then you are new to high kick! This is a unique style of dance that can take years to master. Come learn the basics and tips and tricks for mastery. Recommended for those dancers just joining dance team!
Turns 101: Minnesota State Mankato
New to jazz? New to dance team? This class will cover all you need to know about perfecting your turns. We will practice and discuss different skills and exercises you can do to increase your turn ability.
THE MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY- MANKATO DANCE TEAM is made up of 19 dancers who are an essential part of school spirit at MSU. The team performs and all home football games, men’s and women’s basketball games, and other on-campus events. The MSU Dance Team competes at UDA Nationals in jazz and pom, and recently brought home the Champion title in the jazz open division in 2016. They have placed 3rd or better the past four years in the open pom division as well. The team hosts an annual Kids Clinic, dance team prep clinic, and other clinics for high school dance teams in the twin cities.
THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS DANCE TEAM is a 11-time UDA National Champion in the open division, earning jazz titles in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014… and hip hop titles in 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The Tommie Dancers perform at home football and basketball games, as well as participate in the Unified Dance Marathon for Special Olympics MN and host the annual collegiate “Tommie Invitational” dance team competition.
Character and Teamwork: Anna Itman
As Henry Ford stated, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” Team dynamics and individual accountability play a huge role in creating a season of significance. In this session, we will identify character attributes that every coach wants their players to embody. In addition, we will generate ideas through guided discussions about how to stay motivated as an individual and teammate through the ups and downs of the year.
ANNA ITMAN is the former Head Coach of the eight-time National Champion Eden Prairie High School Pom Squad. Studio trained in her youth, Anna went onto earn a Dance degree from St. Olaf College. She has choreographed throughout the United States for high school, college, and professional teams. She currently teaches at The Dance Warehouse in Chanhassen.
Dance Team Rules 101: Erin Kruesi
This class will cover some of the key aspects of dance team rules that dancers need to know. You’ll discover the myths and misconceptions about dance team rules and look at new and exciting changes this year. We’ll also be looking at the why and how we do things they way we do and have a little fun looking at the history of our unique sport. Whether you’re a new dancer or a long-time veteran, you’ll learn something new!
ERIN KRUESI has been a dance team coach in Minnesota for 15 years. Coach Kruesi’s teams have won 2 state championships and 10 section titles. She is a 3-time MADT Coach of the Year winner, published author in national press and blogs about dance, and a screen write on a dance team themed movie. Founder of Minnesota High School Dance Team Online, Coach Kruesi continues to push the boundaries for dance team media coverage and score reporting for Minnesota dance teams.
Fitness and Strength for Dancers: Katie Peyton
This entertaining and interactive fitness class is designed to help you use the most powerful muscles on your body. The focus will be using your core, legs, and glute muscles while you move through situations to keep your body guessing and time flying by. You can look forward to stronger leaps, higher jumps, consistent turns, and increased endurance after this class. Bring tennis shoes and water!
Nutrition for Dancers: Katie Peyton
Learn how to fuel your body to reach its highest potential in and out of your dance season. Have an expert guide you through fueling your body for practice, performances, and competitions. Learn the best foods for recovery and healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. Creating healthy habits around food will help you improve as an athlete and improve your quality of life.
KATIE PEYTON is a holistic health coach, personal trainer, and world champion dancer. She has combined her 25 years of dance and her expertise in nutrition and fitness to create conditioning classes and nutrition lectures designed just for dancers. Katie empowers dancers to view themselves as athletes and gives them the tools to increase their strength, endurance, injury prevention, and overall performance.
The Importance of Performance: Kelly Clement and Casey Hall
Ever wonder how to get that X-factor you see in amazing dancers or teams? How can you get your dance team to be one of the teams that projects a unified story and performs at an elite level? We will explore how performance can change and amplify the movement through connection to lyrics, story, and emotive focus. When a group of dancers align on a story and project it, a new level of synchronization happens. One of the most important ingredients for any choreography is the way in which the dancer performs it. There needs to be as much texture and dimension to your emotive dancing as there is in the choreography. How can you own that as a dancer? Tell us your story!
Improv and Movement: Kelly Clement and Casey Hall
We will explore improve techniques to carve out musicality, initiation of movement, and spatial awareness as ways to expand your style. Dancers will create resistance and emphasis to enhance their movement with the end goal always to build your toolkit of techniques to grow as athletes and artists. Dancers that can move to music individually can bring more to their dance teams in choreography, but also in how they add their own personality to their execution of dance.
KELLY CLEMENT and CASEY HALL are not only identical twins who share a lifelong passion for dance but are talented instructors who help take teams to the next level of performance excellence. Former co-captains of the University of Minnesota Dance Team and Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders, they have also choreographed 3 of the U of M Dance Team’s Pom National Championships and a Team USA Dance Worlds gold medal routine. They are proud to teach at The Dance Warehouse in Chanhassen and also share a unique gift for teaching Performance Workshops. Casey also works in strategy and digital operations for a fortune 50 retailer and Kelly is owner and chief energy officer at IGNITE Dance Connections, creating custom costumes for studios and dance team locally and nationally.
Leadership Round Table Discussion: Kristen Gagnon
Calling all leaders! Do you hear your coach asking for you to step up and lead? Have you ever wondered what to do with strong personalities on your team? What about lack of motivation and commitment? This class will be an open forum guided by 25 years of coaching insight and suggestions on how to kick off the season with strong leadership, an integral part of a positive team culture.
KRISTEN GAGNON started as a studio dancer and continued dancing through high school as a member of the Totino-Grace E’gals Dance Team. She has spent the last 25 years as the varsity head coach at her alma mater and is a 5 year Program Director with Just For Kix. Coach Gagnon has sat on the Board of Directors for MADT and MSHSL Activity Advisory Committee. She is an MADT Hall of Fame Inductee and 5-time MADT Coach of the Year.
Lyrical Combo for Intermediate/Advanced Dancers: Nicole Bruhn
Challenge yourself in the class to interpret music and express emotion. In this combo, dancers will utilize their technique with subtle and dynamic choreography. Practice expressing emotion through movement and use this class to hone in on your own personal style and emotive quality.
NICOLE BRUHN is originally from Colorado where she danced at studio and for her high school dance team. She moved to Minnesota to attend the University of Minnesota and continued her dance career as a four year varsity letter winner for the University of Minnesota Dance Team. During her time on the team, she won 6 national titles and UDA College Championships and won a gold and silver medal as Team USA at ICU World Championship. She was also a captain her senior year. She now works at Medtronic and is an assistant varsity coach with the Chanhassen Dance Team.
The Mental Game: Jessie Helbacka-Peterson
Are you tough enough? To be a successful athlete it takes strong work ethic, sacrifice, and a determined mentality. It also takes a lot of heart and a lot of grit. Further, it takes great confidence and mental toughness to perform at the top of your game. This class focuses on an athlete’s ability to handle and accept critique and feedback as well as preparing for pressure situations that arise both in practice and competition.
JESSIE HELBACKA-PETERSON has been a nutrition and fitness coach for 9 years. She specializes in organizational growth, leadership, nutrition coaching, yoga, and yoga sculpt. She teaches vinyasa yoga and yoga sculpt at Core Power Yoga and loves pushing her students to their physical and mental limits. She also owns the Edge Nutrition and Fitness in Chahnassen and has built an organization that has lead to her being an internationally sought after trainer and speaker.
Planning Your Dances: Alyse Iorio
The key to a great first draft of your dance team routines is having a plan before you begin. Mapping your music, coming up with your routine’s story, and drawing formations are all aspects of choreography that could be even more important than the actual steps you put together. Your committee must work together and be open to new ideas to be successful during your sessions with each other. Having a plan for your routine before creating your choreography will make the entire process smoother. This class will go through how your choreography weeks can develop in order to create the best “rough” drafts your team has seen.
ALYSE IORIO is entering her 9th season as a coach at Wayzata High School. Her teams have won two jazz state championships, and multiple runners-up. Coach Iorio is a former University of Wisconsin-Madison member and captain. In her three years at Wisconsin, the team placed in the top 4 at UDA Nationals in the jazz division. She also danced at Wayzata High School for four years on their varsity team, placing in the top 6 in both jazz and kick from 2000-20004. She has 15 years of formal studio training from the Dance Shoppe and is currently the Director of Experiential Filmmaking at Acowsay Cinema in Minneapolis.
Power Yoga for Dancers: Lindsay Danielson
Whether it’s ballet, jazz, high kick, or hip-hop, every dancer relies on flexibility, confidence, and balancing or centering of the body. Power Yoga can be beneficial to all dancers for these reasons and many more, such as strength, posture improvement, improved circulation, and purifying the body from toxins. Power Yoga focuses on linking postures with breath and this unique capability warms up the body, preparing it for deep stretching and building stamina, beneficial to the dancer’s body for overall performance endurance.
LINDSAY DANIELSON is a skillful and passionate choreographer, teacher, and performer with an extensive background in dance and yoga. She has been involved in the dance team world in Minnesota through several different award winning teams including Eden Prairie, Edina, Chaska, and Shakopee. She was a 16-year faculty member at Just For Kix and has worked at studios throughout the Twin Cities. Her choreography has been seen on Miss Dance Team MN contestants, The MN Swarm Performance Team, The Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders, and many collegiate teams. Currently, Linsay manages CorePower Yoga- Eden Prairie and is an assistant with the Chaska Hawks Dance Team.
Score Sheet Training: Tara Lindemeier
This year MSHSL launches a new score sheet for jazz and high kick. This is an important class for at least one or two teammates from your program to come and get familiar with the edits and shifts in this new score sheet. Learn how it has changed and get tips on the best way to utilize the score sheet for your team. This class is not to be missed and will help you stay on top of your game and understand this important tool.
TARA LINDEMEIER has 12 years of studio training, along with 4 years on the Chaska Hawks Dance Team and 2 years on the St. Cloud State University Dance Team. She has 16 years of coaching experience, leading her teams to 4 state championships, 7 conference championships, and awarded AAA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2012. She assisted in authoring the 2017 score sheet and has been instrumental in its roll out and education to coaches. She lives in Minneapolis with her fur kiddo, Pippa. By day, Tara is a fashion designer and owns the couture bridal label Tara LaTour.
Stress Management: AJ Peterson
Have you ever felt your heart racing during competitions? How about before a test? Our natural inclination as humans is to feel stress, and stress can be a good thing, but too much of it can overwhelm us and make us perform below optimal levels. When you are about to step on that gym floor, you need the tools and skills to be at your best. This class will teach you how to control your emotions and increase your confidence. Through techniques like belly breathing, positive self talk, and visualization, you will learn how to increase performance and consistency.
AJ PETERSON was an athlete in his past life. A native Minnesotan, Coach Peterson graduated from Minnetonka High School and the University of Minnesota. Baseball has always been his sport and he played three years of minor baseball in the Minnesota Twins organization before hanging up the cleats and becoming the Head Baseball Coach at Chanhassen High School. He is also a real estate agent and loves to spend his free time with his wife, son, and dog, Willa.
Time Management: Molly Carlson
Dancers are some of the busiest athletes around- there is a lot to juggle in the life of a dancer and only so many hours in a day! This class will help you examine your own schedule and figure out how to manage your time effectively, especially in the middle of dance team season. We will look at how to prioritize school, dance, friends, and other activities and how to avoid pesky “time monsters.” There ARE ways to get it all done and still have time to relax and have fun!
MOLLY CARLSON is a veteran teacher and the Head Dance Team coach at Mound Westonka High School, with 17 years of teaching and coaching experience. She teaches Engligh, public speaking, and a course devoted to organization and time management. Molly has also served on the MADT Board of Directors for the past 3 years.
Top of Your Game: Alysia Ulfers
As an athlete, you have the responsibility to be at the top of your game. As a team, you have to hold each other accountable in order to achieve your predetermined goals. Building stamina and being game day ready is one of the most difficult things athletes need to do in the short time they have between when the season starts and when they compete. This class focuses on working as individuals and as teams to be gameday ready both mentally and physically.
ALYSIA ULFERS is the head coach of the University of St. Thomas Dance Team. She has been coaching there since 2004 and has led her team to 11 national titles at the UDA Collegiate National Championships in the open jazz and hip-hop categories. Trained for 13 years at Dance Arts Centre and Victoria Dance Productions, she also captained the University of Wisconsin-Madison Dance Team. She is a former NBA dancer, UDA Head Instructor, V!Roc choreographer, and instructor at Pure Barre Minneapolis.