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DanceBARN Collective is a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to creating dance opportunities to rural communities. We strive to:

Build community

Aspire to create challenging and innovative dance

Reinvent dance as collaborative community art

Nurture creative minds and bodies




Molly Johnston


Molly Johnston is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, screendancer, and co-founder of DanceBARN Collective. Her roots lie in Minnesota, but dance has taken her from the land of 10,000 lakes to Philadelphia, PA (BFA, University of the Arts), Eugene, OR (MFA, University of Oregon) and back to Minnesota where she worked as Zenon Dance Company and School's school coordinator before moving to rural Minnesota to pursue her passion for creating dance in rural communities. Since making the big move to small town Minnesota, Molly has cohosted the annual DanceBARN Festival and curated many other events, classes, and workshops in the region. Molly resides on Silver Lake in Battle Lake, MN with her husband and son and is excited about continuing the collective effort of bringing professionally charged dance makers to the community she loves. 


Ayumi Shafer


Ayumi Hori-Shafer is an educator, choreographer, dancer, and co-founder of DanceBARN Collective. New to the Twin Cities, Ayumi and her husband relocated from Oregon after she earned her MFA in Dance at the University of Oregon (2013). Passionate about dance and education, she completed her thesis research on the idea of play and creativity being effectively integrated into a curriculum in dance in higher education. Prior to her arrival at the UO, Ayumi extensively trained in modern dance in the city of San Francisco, and earned a BA in Dance from San Francisco State University (2009).
Following her passion for teaching, Ayumi has over 10 years of experience teaching in studios and schools that offer classes for both recreational and professional dancers. In building DanceBARN, Ayumi dreams of supporting all artists and creating an environment that encourages collaborative projects. With community in mind, Ayumi is excited in continuing to host workshops, shows, and the annual DanceBARN festival.


Robert Uehlin

Screendance Festival Curator

Robert Uehlin is an award-winning screendance cinematographer from Oregon. He has studied film production at Northwest Nazarene University and at the University of Oregon where he also taught. His work has been screened at the American Dance Festival, The Utah International Screendance Festival, The Northwest Screendance Exposition, the 40 North Dance Film Festival, and the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema.
For Uehlin, screendance is the digital age's most powerful vehicle for conveying the simple beauty of the human form in motion. In his work, audiences are transported. They go with the dancers into new spaces where they explore their own relationships with nature. They dance along with them as partners and witnesses. They are brought closer to the choreography itself, moving with the camera, echoing the choreography, experiencing a kinesthetic empathy unavailable to traditional dance audiences.

Read more about Robert and his work here


Alyssa Berube

Rural Dance Collective Coordinator

Alyssa Berube is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, studio director, and nature lover from Pelican Rapids, MN. She graduated with a BA in Dance and Arts Management from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point (Go Pack Go!), before following her heart out West. Alyssa interned with Bravo! Vail Music Festival and taught at Vail Valley Academy of Dance in Vail, CO before her journey south to complete the teaching apprentice program with National Dance Institute of New Mexico. In 2018 she found herself back home in Minnesota and was thrilled and fulfilled to find there was a really groovy pair of women creating opportunities for dancers in the rural lakes area. Alyssa now resides in Vergas, MN and is the Studio Director of Summit Dance School in Detroit Lakes, MN. She is passionate about moving, creating and connecting to community. Alyssa is excited to be a voice for DanceBARN and help bring people together through movement! 


Board of Directors


DanceBARN Collective is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with an incredible board of directors!

Mary Pettit, Board Chairwoman

Michele Anderson, Vice Chairwoman

Reba Gilliand, Treasurer

Julia Everts-Demars, Secretary

Nicole Reinan

If you are interested in serving as a board member or volunteer of any kind, please email us at!

Work with us

"Your community can exist beyond your sense of place."


There are many ways for you to experience dance in our rural community:



A week long dance festival for professional level dancers looking to trade a week of the hustle and bustle of their daily lives for a week of dancing, relaxing and creating in lake country. Find out more here!  


The DanceBARN Youth Camp is a 5-day sleep-away camp for dancers grades 6-12 hosted in Battle Lake, Minnesota. The camp is a joyous mix of dance technique, choreography, and all of the fun things associated with a traditional summer camp including campfires, lake time, and making new friends.


Proposals are taken year round for both choreographic/creative residencies and teaching residencies. We coordinate each residency on a case by case basis, so dream big!


We truly believe that the word "community" is not solely place-based. Let us share our community with yours!



Invite DanceBARN into your community and we'll share how we use dance to bring communities together, solve community issues, and create dance with community members. Whether you are struggling to connect, or want to celebrate the community you have created, DanceBARN would love to be a part of it!


DanceBARN is able to speak at events about the work they do in rural communities and even get groups (dancers and non dancers) moving their bodies to creatively solve problems in their communities. Contact us to start the conversation about collaboration! 


Are you interested in starting a regular dance class in your community? Want to create a community building dance with your coworkers? Need a dance in your summer parade? Contact us! We would love to help you add dance to your community! 

Work with us





PBS Newshour


Good Job Zine



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