by Dennis Dalman
A new Sartell venue for the St. Cloud School of Dance & Ultimate Gymnastics opened for business Aug. 30 in Riverside Plaza Mall, 101 Seventh St. N.
It is located in a completely remodeled business space next to the Hardware Hank store. The dance/gymnastics classes started at the new studio on Sept. 6.
Previously, the dance/gymnastics company’s Sartell classes took place in the Sartell Community Center. The studio in Riverside Plaza Mall will be the School of Dance’s new Sartell home.
The parent company, which began nearly seven decades ago, is located at 3027 Southway Drive in St. Cloud. Sue Arnold, the owner of St. Cloud School of Dance & Ultimate Gymnastics, told the Sartell Newsleader a bit of the history of the school of dance. In 1953, Sue’s mother, Ruth Babler, opened a dance studio in the basement of her home in south St. Cloud, right across from Washington Elementary School. Sue grew up – not surprisingly – with a passion for dancing and teaching dancing. She was the leading teacher of dance for 13 years at Tech High School and for five years at Apollo High School. Last year, she returned to teaching a co-op team of Apollo and Tech dancers. The teams she taught won many championships throughout the years.
Arnold’s daughter, Becky Quinn, is also a dance instructor for her mother’s studios – in St. Cloud and Sartell. She was a member of the University of Minnesota Dance Team and has been teaching students for more than 25 years. Quinn is also an award-winning choreographer who has a master’s degree in education and curriculum development. She is the mother of four daughters, all of whom (surprise!) love dancing.
There are about two dozen instructors, as well as assistant instructors and sometimes distinguished guest instructors for the St. Cloud School of Dance & Ultimate Gymnastics.
One of those instructors is Sartell’s Sloan Schwarzentraub, who was an award-winning Sartell High School Sabres team dancer. She graduated in 2017, then earned a degree in private-studio dancing at Mankato State University, graduating in 2021. During her college years, she danced with the university’s Maverick Dance Team, serving as its captain when the team placed second and third in jazz dancing. She won a national championship in the pom-pom dance category. Last month, Schwarzentraub choreographed the musical, “Mary Poppins,” at Rocori High School, Cold Spring.
At the new Sartell location, Schwarzentraub teaches dance but also yoga, Pilates and other classes.
St. Cloud School of Dance & Gymnastics offers classes that include classical ballet and forms of dance that include lyrical, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, tap and more. The dancers compete in dance meets at area high schools, a show at the Minneapolis Convention Center and hold spring and winter recitals at Ritsche Auditorium on the campus of St. Cloud State University. This Nov. 19, they will have a Sartell Dance Team show at Sartell High School.
Among the dance program offerings are these:
A Recreational Dance and Gymnastics introductory course meets one hour each week and includes ballet, jazz, hip-hop and tap dancing. All of the courses are designed to build the students’ self-confidence and self-discipline.
The 1-Day Competition Dance Lines course meets once a week for two hours. It is meant for students who already possess dancing skills and for those with intermediate skills. Students perform a dance at the Winter Show in December, in a spring recital in May and at one dance competition in spring.
The 2-Day Competition Dance Lines students typically include some of the finest dancers in the state who win awards consistently in competitions far and wide. The class meets twice a week for two hours.
There is also a wide variety of classes in gymnastics – for example preschool gymnastics for ages 3-5, recreational gymnastics for ages 5 and up, team gymnastics that include a Cub Prep team and a Tiger Competitive Team. Preschoolers as young as 2 years old can participate in basic gymnastics classes.
Tuitions for most classes at St. Cloud School of Dance & Ultimate Gymnastics range from about $60 to $90 per month. For a full schedule of offerings, visit its website at stclouddance.com
The company is also seeking to hire more dance instructors and gymnastics coaches. For more information, visit the website or call 320-251-3110.