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Cultivating Growth Through Dance

Experience the mental & physical rewards of dance with Cultivate Dance Collaborative

Article by Lutie Ronglien

Photography by Crown of Life Photo and Video

Originally published in Waconia City Lifestyle

Cultivate Dance Collaborative in downtown Waconia is one of the newest dance studios in the area. Co-owners Maddie Burnham and Melissa Brown Guenther both hold degrees in dance. Maddie has been teaching and producing work with her dance company, 8:20, for the past five years. Melissa has also produced her own work and has been teaching dance for over 20 years. 

Maddie and Melissa started Cultivate this past September. They wanted a space where dancers feel supported in their growth through dance. 

"We value technique here at Cultivate and feel that we set ourselves apart with educated, professional teachers that know their art form,” Melissa says.  

Currently enrolled with over 90 students, Cultivate offers classes in several styles, including ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip-hop, continuum modern, and creative movement. Their students, both boys and girls, range in age from three to 18. 

If you’re looking for a dance studio to enroll children, choosing the right one can be difficult, with so many great ones in the area. What sets Cultivate apart, according to Maddie and Melissa, is their strong technical focus in all of their classes, their one-on-one approach with all students, and a welcoming and warm environment at the studio. 

Proof of the impact Cultivate has on their students lies in the students themselves. One student, Shay, says, “Dance is the way in which I see the world, the way I process my emotions, and really my one true love. It is a healthy exercise outlet that also keeps me occupied in my free time, although sometimes maybe a little bit too occupied! Dance is also a way for me to keep my mental health in check. I’ve danced through failed tests, breakups, and so much more.”

Not only is dance physically beneficial, but it’s also mentally therapeutic. It offers a way to be creative and gives people an outlet to work through stress. 

“Dance does so much for the body,” Maddie says. "It helps build muscle, stamina, flexibility, and endurance. Not only that, it conditions the body to physically hold itself with confidence and pride.”

For those of us who don’t want to hit the gym or use our Peloton at home, dance offers a great alternative to get exercise. Dance benefits your cardiovascular, bone, and muscle health and can help people feel more socially connected. This can help with the winter doldrums many of us feel this time of year. 

Cultivate just started offering different adult dance classes for ages 18 and up. At the time of writing this article, they offer three adult drop-in classes: ballet, ballroom (no partner required), and contemporary fusion. Each adult class is $20 and is about an hour. This offers a fun opportunity for adults to try something new, sharpen their dance skills, and get out of the house in the winter for some activity. Plus, dance classes may help alleviate a bit of the embarrassment some of us may feel when dancing in public. 

”At Cultivate we believe dance is for everyone," says Melissa. "We strive to create a space where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome to explore movement at their own pace, level, and style.” 

So, for those of you who have a bunch of weddings or other events to attend next summer, maybe it’s time to sign up for a class so you can show off your moves on the dance floor. 

You can check out all they have to offer at Interested in attending a spring performance? They have shows April 5 - 7, and their end-of-year recital is May 30 - June 1. Classes run September - May. 

Dance does so much for the body.

At Cultivate we believe dance is for everyone. We strive to create a space where everyone can feel comfortable and welcome to explore movement at their own pace, level, and style.

  • Co-owners Madelyn Burnham and Melissa Brown Guenther