Category: News and Events

‘Hope Awakens’ Event April 23rd–Ballet Minnesota and Mn Adult and Teen Challenge Partnership

Hope Awakens Graphic


Benefiting Lakeside Academy,

a MN Adult & Teen Challenge program.

The Women’s Impact Foundation of Mn Adult & Teen Challenge will host a special theater event and fundraiser featuring guest emcee Elizabeth Ries of Twin Cities Live, followed by Ballet Minnesota’s Sleeping Beauty, 5 p.m. Saturday, April 23, 2016, at Saint Catherine University, Saint Paul. Tickets are $100 per person, or $75 if purchased by April 11. Purchase tickets online at

HOPE AWAKENS particularly wishes to thank their premier event sponsor, Schuler Shoes.

Hope Awakens:

5 p.m.              A Special Program to benefit the teen boys at Lakeside Academy (Jeanne D’Arc Auditorium)

7:30 p.m.        Ballet Minnesota’s performance, Sleeping Beauty (The O’Shaughnessy)
Ticket included as part of the Hope Awakens event.


Press Release Minnesota Dance Festival Spring 2016

cropped-BMN-teal-black-transp-icon.pngBallet Minnesota presents the enchanting fairytale ballet
Sleeping Beauty
April 22 and 23, 2016 at The O’Shaughnessy

aurora-arabesqueSt. Paul, MN (March 18, 2016) – Ballet Minnesota presents its 28th Annual Minnesota Dance Festival featuring Sleeping Beauty at The O’Shaughnessy on the campus of Saint Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, at 7:30 p.m. April 22 & 23. In addition, a special 2 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, April 23 includes the Minnesota Dance Festival along with excerpts from Sleeping Beauty.

Sleeping Beauty is a beloved story ballet based on the original fairy tale by Charles Perrault and later popularized by the Brothers Grimm. It tells the tale of beautiful princess Aurora, who is cursed into a hundred-year sleep by the evil fairy Carabosse but ultimately awoken by her true love’s kiss. The production is rich with masterful dance, including a host of inspiring solo turns, along with a thrilling score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and exquisite costumes, making it an enduring delight for audiences of all ages. Ballet Minnesota’s Artistic Director, Andrew Rist and Cheryl Rist, Regisseur and Costume Designer, restage Sleeping Beauty, a well-loved ballet from the classical repertoire.
MSA Head Shot (1)The principal role of Aurora will be performed by Sarah Elena Wolff, formerly with National Ballet of Canada. A native of Traverse City, Michigan, Wolff trained at Canada’s National Ballet and graduated with honors in 2006. While a student, she received The Peter Dwyer Award presented by The Canada Council For The Arts. She joined The National Ballet of Canada as an apprentice in 2007 and became a member of the corps de ballet the following season. During her tenure with the company, Sarah danced several featured roles and world premieres and was noted for her musical sensitivity and charismatic stage presence. She currently dances in New York and Toronto while training with world-class teachers including Nancy Bielski and Christine Wright.
MatthewPrescott-5896-EditBallet Master Matthew Prescott will dance the role of Prince Florimund. A past company member of the Joffrey Ballet, Prescott has also lent his choreography talents to the national tour of Broadway’s “Billy Elliott,” and more recently, Broadway musical workshop for “Kiss of a Spider Woman.” He most recently danced for Ballet Minnesota in the role of Cavalier in The Classic Nutcracker, for which he earned enthusiastic reviews.
The role of the evil fairy Carabosse, which is traditionally offered to a male dancer, will be performed by Ted Sothern, Artistic Director of Rochester Dance Company and a Minneapolis native. Sothern began his 30 year performing career with Minnesota Dance Theater and has danced principal roles with North Caroline Dance Theater, American Repertoire Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Les Ballets Grandiva and Washington Ballet, where he was a featured soloist.
Ted SothernThe MN Dance Festival on Saturday afternoon offers an enriching variety of dance performances that will showcase works from Minnesota’s foremost dance artists. In addition, all shows will include a special children’s story ballet, “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” performed by dancers from Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota (CBA), with original choreography by Andrew Rist.
Purchase your tickets now by calling The O’Shaughnessy box office at 651-690-6700, or order online at


Friday, April 22, 2016 @ 7:30pm*
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 2:00pm**
Saturday, April 23, 2016 @ 7:30pm*

*Please note: Ballet Minnesota’s 28th Annual Minnesota Dance Festival features the full performance of the classic ballet, Sleeping Beauty, on April 22 & 23 at 7:30 p.m. along with Classical Ballet Academy’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” with choreography and a special appearance by Andrew Rist.

**The Dance Arts Showcase on April 23 at 2 p.m. features favorite excerpts of Sleeping Beauty, CBA’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice and other inspiring works of dance from Minnesota’s foremost dance artists.

Adult $34
Senior $22
Student $18
Child 12 & Under $14
Groups of 10+ save 10% on each ticket.
*Price includes $2 theater restoration fee.

Benefiting Lakeside Academy,
a MN Adult & Teen Challenge program.

The Women’s Impact Foundation of Mn Adult & Teen Challenge will host a special theater event and fundraiser featuring guest emcee Elizabeth Ries of Twin Cities Live, followed by Ballet Minnesota’s Sleeping Beauty, 5 p.m. Saturday, April 23, 2016, at Saint Catherine University, Saint Paul. Tickets are $100 per person, or $75 if purchased by April 11. Purchase tickets online at
HOPE AWAKENS wishes to thank their premier event sponsor, Schuler Shoes.

Hope Awakens
5 p.m. A Special Program to benefit the teen boys at Lakeside Academy
Jeanne D’Arc Auditorium

7:30 p.m. Ballet Minnesota’s performance, Sleeping Beauty
The O’Shaughnessy

About Ballet Minnesota
Ballet Minnesota’s performance season includes: the Fall Concert (October), The Classic Nutcracker (December), The Spring Classic Ballet and the Minnesota Dance Festival (April) and The Summer Series (June-September).

For more information on Ballet Minnesota, call 651-222-7919 or visit:

Ballet Minnesota gratefully acknowledges the support from Target Foundation, Schuler Shoes,
The Pioneer Press, The St Paul Hotel, MN Monthly Magazine, Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine, Wells Fargo Foundation, Mn State Arts Board, Metro Regional Arts Council, McCarthy-Bjorklund Foundation.

Ballet Minnesota’s Erin Warn featured as a “Minnesotan to Meet” on WCCO

Ballet Minnesota’s company dancer Erin Warn and our production of the Nutcracker were featured by Ali Lucia in her “Minnesotan to Meet” program. From the WCCO website:

“MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s a classic ballet story – The Nutcracker.

For the 2015 holiday season, the O’Shaughnessy Stage at St. Catherine University performed the show with 36-year-old Erin Warn among the cast. Warn’s talent, passion and determination is what makes her this week’s Minnesotan to Meet.

Warn has been tackling different dances in the Nutcracker for more than three decades.

“Growing up with this “Nutcracker,” doing the first original one [at the O’Shaughnessy,] I’ve walked my way through almost every part,” she said.

This year, she danced the part of Rose.  But, it’s not just Rose she enjoys. Warn said she loves really getting into any character.

“It depends on the character. So, Frau Ratheimer, I play an evil lady in the first act. It’s kind of fun to be something completely different,” she said.

Warn comes from a dance family– her older sister danced the part of Rose before her.

“My older sister did Rose and I remember watching that scene. I love the tutu, it’s absolutely beautiful,” Warn said.

Now she’s not dancing with her sister, but rather her daughters.

“Last year my daughter was Clara and I did Snow Queen, so dancing with her on satge was overwhelming for my heart. Hard to hold back tears,” she said.

Her youngest played a mouse in this year’s dance, but even with her daughters on stage she said the final curtain call is getting close.

“I also teach math at Metropolitan State University, so that’s kind of where my career will go. Bodies don’t last forever doing this,” she said.

While she is getting herself ready for life after the stage, she believes this magical performance prepares anyone for the road ahead.

“A few things: how to deal with frustration, how to be with yourself, dedication to something and how you can individually work hard,” she said.

The next ballet performance for Warn will be during the 27th Minnesota Dance Festival. The festival will feature the ballet “Sleeping Beauty.” The show has not yet been cast but Warn will most certainly have a starring role, probably as one of the fairies.

More from Ali Lucia”

Keeping dance in the family: feature on former CBA student/Ballet Minnesota company member Brie Meyer and daughters

From the Inver Grove Heights East Side Review (Lillie News):

“More than holiday tradition

It’s not uncommon for kids to follow in their parents’ footsteps.

For one Inver Grove Heights family, ballet shoes are making those footsteps.

Brie Meyer will be helping daughters Mia, 5, and Drew, 4, with their mice costumes before taking her seat to watch them perform in “The Classic Nutcracker” later this month at O’Shaughnessy auditorium on the St. Catherine University campus.

A little over two decades ago, it was Meyer adjusting her own costume before she performed the role of Clara in the 1992 production.

“It’s fun to be on the other side and watch it,” Meyer says.

She began dance lessons when she was 3, but didn’t start focusing solely on ballet until fourth grade. It was one of Meyer’s dance teachers who said she was really talented and pointed her in the direction of the Ballet Minnesota Company.

After college, Meyer was a member of the professional dance company for two years.

A couple years ago, Meyer noticed her daughters would not stop dancing around the house, so she started looking at dance schools.

She says she visited other schools thinking her daughters just wanted to dance, but she kept thinking back to her own positive, childhood experiences, she decided she just “couldn’t take them somewhere else.”

Now, both Mia and Drew are part of Classical Ballet Academy, the dance school their mother was part of when she was a child.

“They didn’t even know I was in ballet because I didn’t want to pressure them; not that I don’t want them do dance; not that I don’t like it. I just didn’t want them to feel like they had to because Mom did it,” Meyer says.

Even though Mia and Drew are now in ballet classes, Meyer laughs as she says there is still plenty of dancing going on around the house. They turn music on and have dance parties. The girls even “dance” in the car while strapped in their seats.

Mia was in “The Classic Nutcracker” last year as a blind mouse. She says performing on stage is her favorite part of ballet.

“I’m a cheese mouse this year,” Mia says.

There was a scary moment for Mia her first year. At one point when the mice are on stage, rats jump out. When the rats appeared, Mia says she “ran the wrong way right through the middle.”

This will be Drew’s first time being part of the show, but the 4-year-old says confidently that she isn’t nervous.

“I’m proud that I’m doing it cause I love ballet,” Drew says, adding that her favorite part is spinning.

An enduring legacy

Andrew Rist, artistic director, says it’s amazing to now have young performers who are the children of those he worked with previously in the production.

“It’s wonderful. It also makes you realize how long you’ve been doing this,” Rist says with a chuckle.

When Mia and Drew are on stage, Meyer says everything comes flooding back. “Memories start coming back, and you wish you were on stage doing it.”

Even though they only have practice one day a week, Meyer says there are still the days the girls don’t want to go.

“Every time they [begin a rehearsal], they’re fine and love it,” Meyer says.

The decision to stick with ballet is up to Mia and Drew. Meyer says as a parent, “you kind of get an idea of things your kids might be good at.” Mia is not a sports child, but rather dance, singing and theater, Meyer says.

Drew is showing some sports abilities, Meyer says, but she is always moving and will start dancing whenever she hears music.

“If they want to do it, I will support them. If they find something else, that is fine, too,” Meyer says.

She hopes her daughters learn some of the same lessons she did from being part of the ballet world. “I always loved the grace, the art and beauty of ballet. I hope that my children learn the dedication, strength and confidence ballet has taught me.”

A large cast

The magic of “The Classic Nutcracker” is brought to life by a cast that includes nationally known adult dancers in feature roles, Ballet Minnesota Company veterans and apprentices, members of Minneapolis’s Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and students from Classical Ballet Academy.

Student roles range from the starring turn of Clara to the round-bellied mice, like Drew and Mia.

Lively sets further the magic with a Christmas tree and grandfather clock that grows before audience eyes. Sparks fly in the battle between the Rat King and Nutcracker, and snow falls gently on snow fairies emerging form the enchanted Land of Snow.

Rist says each year they try to improve their presentation of the ballet.

“We’ve added sets. We’ve changed parts of the choreography. It’s still very much the same ‘Nutcracker,’” Rist says. “It’s an absolutely beautiful production.”

Hannah Burlingame can be reached at 651-748-7824 or”

2015 Rat King Guest Artist Riley Thomas Weber featured in DanceMN News

From the DanceMN site:


Riley Thomas Weber will reprise his role as The Rat King in Ballet Minnesota’s The Classic Nutcracker, December 18 – 20, 2015, at The O’Shaughnessy on the University of St. Catherine campus in St. Paul. Weber is currently a company member with Collide Theatrical Dance Company where he has danced lead roles in “Romeo and Juliet,” “Class of ‘85” and “Zoot Suit Riots.” A native of Fargo, ND, Weber moved to the Twin Cities to study dance and cello at the University of Minnesota.
“When I hear the word ‘nutcracker,’ I think of the magic of my childhood,” said Weber. “’The Nutcracker ‘ is actually the first book I ever read as a child, the first ballet I ever saw and the first ballet I danced in.””

Ballet Minnesota’s Classic Nutcracker highlighted by

Critic Ron Hubbard includes Ballet Minnesota’s “Classic Nutcracker” in his listings of 11 holiday dance entertainment events for 2015 on, the Pioneer Press website:


Dec. 18-20: Ballet Minnesota has been presenting its version of “The Nutcracker” for 28 years. As with other local troupes, it acts as the year’s highest-profile showcase for its students, but its “Classic Nutcracker” also imports some outstanding lead dancers. This year, the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy will be danced by Violeta Angelova, a soloist from Washington, D.C.’s renowned Suzanne Farrell Ballet, while the Cavalier will be Joffrey Ballet alum Matthew Prescott. And those adrenalin-delivering Russians come from the Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, 2 p.m. Dec. 20; the O’Shaughnessy, St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; $44-$18; 651-690-6700 or”