Community Partnerships


Young Dance partners with artists, community organizations, and government institutions to engage youth in developing self-confidence, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and leadership skills through dance. Partnerships allow us to bring dance programming to diverse groups, supporting and empowering youth to improve their lives and strengthen their communities.  

In addition to collaborating with artists and organizations on programming, Young Dance offers its studios to community artists to further their own practice, research, and artistic development. 

Reach out to to inquire about Young Dance partnering with you and your organization!

Arts + Justice: Moving Into Mindfulness

Moving Into Mindfulness is a curriculum developed by Anat Shinar and Gretchen Pick, combining Creative Movement with Dialectic Behavioral Therapy concepts. This program utilizes an embodied practice of the skills meant to help youth understand how mindfulness, interpersonal skills, emotion regulation, and distress tolerance manifest in the body. This technique develops a mind-body connection, whereby noticing and understanding one, we are able to control the other.

For example, if you feel mad, where in your body do you feel it? Is it a tightening in your chest or are you holding your breath? If you can relax your chest and take a deep breath in that moment, then it can change the emotion that you’re experiencing, helping you make more thoughtful decisions that have both immediate and delayed consequences.

In this program, students develop skills in mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal skills, and distress tolerance, while exploring creative expression, growing in confidence, and exploring their creativity through movement.

This program began in 2016 and was originally developed at Hennepin County Home School. It is currently being offered at Great River School (St. Paul) and Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center (St. Paul).


Young Dance is currently working with Arts for Healing and Justice Network, an interdisciplinary collaborative that provides arts programming in order to build resiliency and wellness, eliminate recidivism, and transform the juvenile justice system. They are based in Los Angeles and have been working to replicate this work in other regions across the US. 

Together, we are assembling a cohort of arts organizations to expand program offerings beyond movement, as well as implement this curriculum in state facilities.

Dance and Literacy

Since 2015, Young Dance has partnered with libraries in Saint Paul, Hennepin, Washington, and Dakota Counties to promote literacy through movement. These Dance Together classes are offered free to patrons and combine movement with storytelling, engaging pre and early readers in embodied narrative. Through movement and storytelling, caregivers and children deepen their relationships to one another, build a connection to their local library, and get excited about reading through full-bodied activities.

I Will Dance

Children’s author Nancy Bo Flood and illustrator Julianna Swaney capture the spirit of Young Dance’s All Abilities Dancing Initiative in this beautifully told and visually captivating book. 

  • Kirkus starred review A gorgeous, immersive celebration of dancing and the grace within all bodies.”
  • 2020 top dance book – New York Times  
  • Finalist, Colorado Humanities Book Award
  • Winner of the Colorado Authors’ Annual “Best Children’s Book” Award
  • Trailer to the book I Will Dance
School Residencies

Every year, Young Dance partners with Saint Paul and Minneapolis Public Schools to create and offer programming to meet the interests and needs of their students. These programs range in ages (K-12), ability, genre, and duration.

In addition to visiting schools to offer classes, Young Dance holds performance matinees for students of our Spring Show, a production performed by our Youth Performing Company

Bridgeview School and Focus Beyond Transitional Services

Bridge View is a federal setting 4, k-12, specialized special education school that serves the learning needs of students with severe and profound low-incident developmental disabilities. The school curriculum emphasizes supporting students’ abilities to communicate, make choices, and understand the world they feel and see and what they have the potential to be. Focus Beyond serves students ages 19-21, with on-site instruction to meet individual students’ needs including communication, self-advocacy, and relationships. 

Since 2016, Young Dance has provided Creative Dance classes across all grades for students to explore fundamental movement concepts geared towards individual expression, communication, and group collaboration, to align with the schools’ goals.

Great River School

Since the spring of 2021, Young Dance has offered an elective class for 7th and 8th graders, Moving into Mindfulness. In this class, students develop skills in mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal skills, and distress tolerance, while exploring creative expression, growing in confidence, and exploring their creativity through movement. This curriculum was initially developed in 2016 with incarcerated youth at Hennepin County Home School. It has been especially valuable as students navigate their return to in-person school. 

Roosevelt High School

When Roosevelt High School (Minneapolis) offered the school district’s first dance class for DCD students in 2015, Young Dance collaborated with dance specialist Mariah Johnson to develop curriculum to meet the needs of the students and the structure of the high school based class. In addition to curriculum development, Young Dance staff worked with the Educational Assistants to help them understand goals of the creative dance curriculum and tools for supporting students’ independent participation in the class. 

Young Dance has been an invaluable resource as well as a vital part of the development and growth of our adaptive dance program. As a dance teacher in the Minneapolis Public Schools, I was charged with creating and teaching an adaptive dance class. Young Dance has not only provided movement experiences for the adaptive dance class through residencies but has also guided and created curriculum to assist in long-term implementing and teaching. They have changed my approach in teaching the adaptive dance class, enriched our adaptive dance program, and made an impact in student development and learning.
–Mariah Johnson, Roosevelt High School Dance Specialist

Community Performances and Organizational Partners

Upstream Arts: In a long history of collaboration, Young Dance and Upstream Arts create wide-ranging arts programming that engages individuals with and without disabilities in creative expression.

Walker First Free Saturday

Mia Family Programs

Opportunities and Resources for Artists

Young Dance believes in cultivating a community under the values of abundance and reciprocity. As space is often a needed resource in the Twin Cities Performing and Performance communities, we are proud to offer our studios for rent, for exchange, or for free to our community.


Workroom is a residency program that invites three artists to use the Young Dance studios for three months and up to 60 hours. This program is for BIPOC artists and artists with disabilities. The Young Dance administrative team also supports artists should they choose to hold workshops or showings, though this is not a requirement of the program.

Name tags from a community partnership program.
Photo by Gretchen Pick
Dancers making shapes with their bodies at a community partnership program.
Photo by Stan Waldhauser
Dancers at a community partnership program.
Photo by Stan Waldhauser
Photo by Scott Pakudaitis
Photo by Scott Pakudaitis


The Young Dance Company partners with professional artists and organizations to immerse dancers in artistic inquiry and push their practice of dance. The list of collaborating artists and art organizations includes:


Meridian Movement Company
Emily Gastineau
Gabriel Rodreick


Aneka McMullen
Blake Nellis
Margaret Ogas
Anat Shinar


Theo Langason
Alexandra Beaumont
Gretchen Pick
Anat Shinar


Gabrielle Abram
Eben Kowler
Emmet Kowler
Aneka McMullen Shana Crawford
Aubrey Donsich
Patricia Mullaney-Loss


Jennifer Glaws
Herb Johnson III
Dalton Outlaw
Threads Dance Project
Anat Shinar


Ananya Dance Theatre
Gaelynn Lea
Angelique Lele
Jeffrey Lusiak André Shoals
Heather Spear
Pedro Pablo Lander
Stephen Herzog
JAC Stringer
Media Active


Phillips Community Television
Sarah Miller
Leah Nelson
Nic Zapko


Susana De Leon
Aneka McMullen
Stuart Pimsler
Nic Zapko

“Young Dance teachers were relentlessly supportive and inspiring, accommodating but also challenging our child to grow.”

-Young Dance parent