CAN Dance – Summer 2019

In July, we welcomed more than forty children from Minneapolis and Robbinsdale area public schools into our studios for our annual CAN Dance summer program. 

This two-week program is offered free of cost for participating families and includes dance classes, lunch, and transportation to and from the MDT studios in downtown Minneapolis. Teachers were Derek Phillips and Raina Quammen with MDT company members Elissa Fonseca and Adrián Pastén

Entering its fifth year, the four-phase program aims to expand access to classical dance and the performing arts, reaching more than 1,500 children every year. The first phase of the program begins as we invite more than thirty schools to join us for a matinee performance of Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy, which includes free admission and transportation to and from the State Theatre. The performance experience is followed by in-classroom workshops, a tuition-free summer program, and opportunities to train year-round at MDT on scholarship. 

This year, more than forty children attended the summer program, which is four times as many as attended last year. We were thrilled by this growth and very inspired to see the children thriving in the dance studios, discovering a new outlet for self-expression through ballet, contemporary dance, and improvisation.

Please view the photos below for a glimpse of the classes and the studio performance that concluded the program.

Five students from the summer program have been invited to continue their studies year-round at MDT on full merit scholarship, with additional invitations extended for our free boys classes.

We are both thrilled and challenged by the exponential growth of the program, and we continue to believe in its necessity. We look forward to building the infrastructure to support our capacity for further growth alongside developing an increasingly robust, inclusive, and thoughtful curriculum. 

We are grateful to everyone who has offered their ongoing support for this program through their donations to MDT, and we continue to seek new partners. If you would like to help sustain and grow CAN Dance to provide uplifting dance experiences, please visit our support page and consider setting up a recurring donation to MDT today. You can dedicate your donation to CAN Dance in the comment field.

Special thanks to the Mayo Clinic Community Contributions Program for their continuing support for CAN Dance.

Thanks also to the MDT faculty, program sponsors, supporters, volunteers, and bus chaperones (this year, we designed two separate bus routes for many energetic and enthusiastic children). Without all of your contributions, this program would not have been possible.

For more information about CAN Dance, please contact Kaitlyn Gilliland, the CAN Dance Program Director, at

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