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About Us

Russian Vaganova training -- the foundation

St. Croix Ballet...one of the Twin Cities top ballet training programs

Founded in 1991 by Karla and Brian Sweeney, St. Croix Ballet has become one of the Twin Cities top ballet and dance studios.

The year-round program includes two full-length classical ballets -- The Nutcracker and a spring show (past shows have included Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia); a three-week summer intensive that includes modern, character, jazz, ballet, and Pilates; a Summer Gala performance in Stillwater's picturesque Pioneer Park as well as periodic Master Classes by guest artists and intensives throughout the year. 

In 2013, Susan Hovey took over as Director of the studio from founder Karla Sweeney, who recently passed away (February 12, 2015) after a gallant 15-year ongoing battle with late-stage breast cancer. Mz. Karla left an incredible legacy of ballet and dance to the St. Croix Valley and her inspiration continues to guide the studio through its ongoing training and yearly performances.

In recent summers, St. Croix Ballet's students were accepted into some of nation's top dance programs including Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Alvin Alley American Dance Theater, Indiana University Dance, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Austin, Milwaukee Ballet, Bossov Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Academy and numerous others. Our students are often invited by the schools to stay year round. But each year all students return in time to take St. Croix Ballet's three-week Summer Intensive! In short, St. Croix Ballet training can take a dancer as far as they wish to go in the dance world.

Many of our alumni have continued to dance throughout their college careers and have majored or minored in dance. Several have gone on to careers in dance and the arts. But all who have been part of the St. Croix Ballet family throughout their elementary and high-school years 'as their sport', have taken the discipline, training and the love of dance and the arts and helped them forge successful life trajectories and careers in many fields. Of this we are most proud.

For two decades, St. Croix Ballet has touched many lives. Now under the talented and experienced leadership of Ms. Susan, the studio is poised to continue its next phase of development and growth and continue to serve and entertain another generation of east metro families.

St. Croix Ballet’s new Pre-Ballet program meets Minnesota’s state pre-school standards

St. Croix Ballet is excited to offer Pre-Ballet (ages 3-4) and Level I-1 (ages 5-6) classes that meet Minnesota state standards for preschool. SCB has also redeveloped the curriculum for the first three years of ballet (Pre-Ballet through Level I-3) so that it is developmentally appropriate, fun, and gives young dancers a strong foundation to launch them into the Vaganova method of ballet taught at St. Croix Ballet.

SCB’s pre-ballet program was developed by long-time SCB ballet instructor Abbie Defiel Kaufenberg. Abbie is a certified Minnesota teacher, with both k-6 elementary and k-12 French licenses, and is a high school French teacher at the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Susan Hovey, SCB Director, is also a Minnesota certified teacher for English Learners (EL). She teaches and advises at Skyview Elementary, Oakdale. Ms. Abbie and Ms. Susan oversee SCB’s pre-ballet program (Pre-Ballet, ages 3-4; Level I-1, ages 5-6).

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