Young Dance Finds New Home in St. Paul

Young Dance, a nonprofit dance organization for students of all abilities, moved to St. Paul and is hosting a grand opening Nov. 8
An instructor dancing with young male student

Courtesy of Blake Nellis

For 32 years, Young Dance has provided inclusive dance programs for people of all abilities, but the nonprofit dance organization has never had a central home base. That is, until now. In September, Young Dance moved into the new CoMotion Center for Movement in St. Paul, and the organization/center is hosting an open house on Friday, Nov. 8.

Challenges of a Multi-site Organization

“Before this year, we were renting at several different locations, offering classes in as many as nine different locations weekly,” says Jennifer Glaws, artist director of education at Young Dance. The ever-changing locations meant some dancers were practicing in three different spaces within one week. The quality and accessibility of studio spaces and parking also varied greatly from one location to another. For more than three decades, the organization made it work, but the staff wanted one space that could house all its programs.

Under One Roof

Young Dance now has enough space at its St. Paul location to house all of its classes and rehearsals. “We’re very excited,” Glaws says. “It gives multiple opportunities for connections between the dancers—and the staff, and the artists—that we’ve never had before.”

In the past, classes were isolated. “There wasn’t an opportunity for students to see each other or have an awareness of all of the dancers and all of the classes,” Glaws says. “Now, dancers get to see each other. Teachers get to talk more, and engage more, and support each other more. It gives staff an opportunity to have an office and be able to have an environment where we can collaborate more and work together more.”

At one point, staff members believed renting various locations throughout Minneapolis allowed the organization to serve diverse communities, but now they feel it will be much easier to do that from one central hub. “With our mission to have inclusive programming, it’s so important for our spaces to be controlled in a way,” Glaws says—“that we know there’s going to be ramps, it’s going to be a certain level of cleanliness, and it’s going to provide an environment where our dancers can move freely and feel safe in.”

About Young Dance

Young Dance is a company of 30 dancers who rehearse on weekends and perform twice per year. It’s also a nonprofit offering dance classes to youth ages 1-18 and adults living with disabilities throughout the week. Its main focus is to encourage individual artistic expression. The organization also has several partnerships with Hennepin County Juvenile Corrections, Upstream Arts, Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts, Bridge View School, Hennepin County Libraries, St. Paul Public Libraries, and Highland Friendship Club.

The company’s dancers—ages 7-18, who audition each year—get the opportunity to work with professional artists to create dances that go into a fully produced show every fall and spring. “We believe in these partnerships to propel our programming forward,” Glaws says. “We feel that collaborations with professional artists deepen the learnings for our students. It gives them a wide range of performance opportunities.”

Young Dance classes include Dance Together, a class for toddlers ages 1-3 and a guardian; World Dance, for youth ages 11-18; and All Abilities Dancing Two, for dancers 11 years or older. It offers various styles of dancing, too, including contemporary, modern, ballet, creative movement, hip-hop, and choreography.

About CoMotion Center for Movement

Young Dance’s new home is equally unique. CoMotion Center for Movement is “a collective of 12 nonprofit and for-profit arts and athletic organizations and eight trainers.” According to its Give MN webpage, the Center’s mission is to “strengthen our community by inspiring diverse individuals to build strength and create art under one roof.”

Other CoMotion tenants include Element Gym, Go Physio, Ripple Effect Crossfit, St. Paul Ballet, Push Fitness, St. Paul Strength Room.

Young Dance/CoMotion Open House

Interested in learning more about Young Dance and CoMotion? Stop by the open house.

Date: Friday, Nov. 8
Time: 4-10 p.m.
Location: CoMotion Center for Movement, 655 Fairview Ave. N., St. Paul, MN 55104
Details: Enjoy catered food, performances, and movement activities guests can participate in. Young Dance will have mini-performances 5-8:30 p.m., games in the lobby, and a dance party.
Contact: 612-423-3064

Can’t make it to the open house? Learn more about Young Dance at youngdance.org.

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