Beethoven 6th    Mozart 40th    Beethoven 9th    Italian Symphony    At The Museum     Rhapsody In Blue     Black Dog Cafe     Sleeping Beauty     Don Quixote      La Bayadere     Swan Lake    Giselle    Nutcracker    Coppelia
arist header
Company: 651-222-7919
School: 651-290-0513
A N D R E W   R I S T ...... artistic director: Ballet Minnesota
Twitter      Facebook
1988 - Present

Andrew & Cheryl Rist

Ballets by Andrew Rist
Costumes by Cheryl Rist

At The Museum (book 1)
Ballet School (book 3)
Beethoven's 9th Symphony
Beethoven's 6th Symphony
Black Dog Cafe
Empress New Clothes
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue
Mendelssohn's 'Italian Symphony'
Handel's 'Messiah'
Mozart's 40th Symphony
Nightmare (book 2)
'Classic' Nutcracker
Pachelbel's Canon In D
Song of Silence
Sorcerer's Apprentice
The Egg
and others...

Classical Ballets
Restaged & Costumed by
Cheryl Rist

Don Quixote (acts 1-2)
Giselle (acts 1-2)
La Bayadere (acts 1-3)
Les Sylphides
Pas de Quatre
Sleeping Beauty
Swan Lake (acts 1-4)
Nutcracker (costumes)

Andrew & Cheryl Rist

      Artistic Director: BALLET MINNESOTA

Andrew's interests have always been in the areas of teaching, directing & choreography. After dancing professionally for 14 years, Loyce Houltonencouraged Andrew to become Avocational Director of the Minnesota Dance Theater school (1986-87). In 1987 Andrew and his wife Cheryl co-founded the Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota and in 1990 they co-founded Ballet Minnesota, of which Andrew became artistic director. Under his direction, Ballet Minnesota has developed a strong season which includes Fall Concert, annual Nutcracker, The Youth Concert Series, The Minnesota Dance Festival (which features the restaging of a classical ballet each year) and the River Songs Summer Series. As a choreographer, Anderw prefers working with original scores. He has created works in collaboration with Robert E Hindel, Charlie Maguire (National Park Service "Singing Ranger") and the rock group Mock Duck. His choreographic works include "Pachelbel", "At the Museum", "Nutcracker", "Italian Symphony" and in 2006 "Black Dog Cafe". "Beethoven's 9th Symphony", choreographed in 2008, recieved standing ovations to a sold out opening run. Andrew teaches in the school. He has been nominated and included in three editions of 'Who's Who Among American Teachers.' Only 5% of the nation's teachers are honored in each edition and less than 2% are included in more than one edition.

Cheryl Rist, Andrew's wife, has designed all the costumes for every work he has choreographed. "Most of my works are deeply dependent upon the costume design, which will be quite obvious when you scroll down and veiw the photo gallery below"

In the Fall 2006, Ballet Minnesota launched its Fall Concert Series dedicated to the creation of new choreography. Andrew has created 4 new works for the fall Concert. 'Black Dog Cafe' (2006, 2007), 'Beethoven's 9th Symphony' (2008) and most recently Gershwin's 'Rhaposdy in Blue' and Mozart's '40th Symphony' (2009).

Andrew & Cheryl have 2 children - Heather and Richard. The newest addition to the Rist family is their granddaughter, Chloe, daughter of Richard and Becky.

In January 2010, Andrew's first book was published "At The Museum: Adventures of the Ballerina Girls"


Cheryl, a graduate of the Cornish School of Arts in Seattle, was the recipient of (7) Arts Scholarships. Her teachers include Robert Joffrey, Loyce Houlton, Hanya Holm, Flemming Halby and Frank Bourman. She began dancing with Sacramento Ballet under the direction of Jean-Paul Comelin (formerly Paris Opera Ballet). She danced as a principal with the Banff Festival, the Minnesota Dance Theater (under the direction of Loyce Houlton) and Ballet Minnesota. n 1987 Cheryl and her husband Andrew co-founded the Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota and in 1990 they co-founded Ballet Minnesota. Cheryl has a special gift understanding the art of Classical Ballet. She has restaged many of the classic ballets for Ballet Minnesota which include "Swan Lake", "Giselle", "Sleeping Beauty", "Les Sylphides", "Flower Festival pas de deux", "Coppelia" and "La Bayadere". Cheryl is known for restaging the complete ballets such as 4 acts of Swan Lake. In addition to all of this she designs and costumes all the works presented by Ballet MInnesota. Although she is a sought after designer, she concentrates her engeries on CBA and Ballet Minnesota.

Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota, official school of BALLET MINNESOTA, co-founded by Andrew and Cheryl Rist in 1987.

Sampling of Ballets by   A N D R E W   R I S T

Costumes - C H E R Y L   R I S T                           Photography - D A V E   T R A Y E R S

C I N D E R E L L A    Acts 1-3

April 5-6, 2013
25th Minnesota Dance Festival
O'Shaughnessy, St Paul, Minnesota

Choreography: Andrew Rist
Costumes: Cheryl Rist

Photography: Chris Emeott, Mark Vaughan


Cinderella ......... Jennifer Pray / Erin Warn

Prince ................ Allen Gregory
Stepmother ........ Jennifer Bennett
Father ............... Antone Gregory
Skinny (Stepsister) .. Ben Olson
Dumpy (Stepsister) .. Riley Thomas Weber
Dancing Master . Nik Nelson

Fairy Godmother Erin Warn / Jennifer Pray
Spring Fairy ...... Maggie Selner
Summer Fairy ... Hannah Wagner
Autumn Fairy ...; Margaret Underwood
Winter Fairy ...... Harper Skulley
Fairies................ Berea Ames, Celesta
                  Brainard, Mary Shrake, Maggie
                  Sullivan, Kayla Assimacopoulos,
                  Erin Chase, Olivia-Rose Awsumb,
                  Gretchen Gerlach, Jordan
                  Jankowski, Clara Konetscka,
                  Christina Smith

Jester ................ Nik Nelson
Prince's Valet .... Aaron Davies

Cavaliers ........... Aaron Davies, Elijah
                   Heggernes, Andrew Lester
Maid Servants ... Keilah Iliynkh, Angelina
                   Swanson, Bailey MacKenzie,
                   Jordan Jankowski, Gretchen
                   Gerlach, Clara Konetschka,
                   Lauren Woessner

King ...................Aaron Olson
Queen .............. Ruthina Fink

Shoemakers ..... Elijah Heggernes,
                                Aaron Olson
Horses .............. Lisette Amacher,
                               Olivia Huseonica
Sisters as children  Lisette Amacher,
                                  Olivia Huseonica

Cinderella     2013

Handel's   M E S S I A H
Messiah Wide

Beethoven's    9th SYMPHONY

Premeire: October 2008
Fitzgerald Theater
St Paul, Minnesota

Beethoven's 9th bow


Woodbury Magazine
Written by Nancy Eike
December 2009

With hard work and dedication, Woodbury's Andrew Rist has built a successful ballet company and academy.

Woodbury Magazine
Written by Nancy Eike
December 2009

    "Have a seat," says Andrew Rist, co-founder of Ballet Minnesota, as he offers me a chair with a perfect view of the company of six dancers, who are beautifully performing the jete and releve in a quaint St Paul studio. "We're working on Mozart's 40th Symphony," he says as he heads for the CD player and the dancers take their places.
     The music begins. "Up; good! Turn!" shouts Rist as he claps in time with the rhythm, his eyes scanning, his body mimicking some of the movements. "Yes, that's it! Good! 1-2-3!"
     The dancers leap and turn. The teacher observes and directs. They are all clearly in their element, one where Rist knew he belonged at a very young age. "I always knewI wanted to teach, and I always knew I wanted to create," he says after the dancers have left and he takes a moment to sit down and chat, a somewhat unusual feat considering he has worked seven days a week for as long as he can remember.
     Rist played football and prticipated in gymnastics before he started dancing at the less-than-youthful age of 18. After earning an associate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Maine (and turning down an apprenticeship with Eastman Kodak), Rist realized that although he found "the creative process to be the same whether you're in science or art," the latter would be where he wanted to linger.
     So, he began dancing professionally and met his wife, Cheryl, also a professional dancer, outside Seattle at a summer dance camp. They moved to Woodbury in 1996 (after 14 years of dancing). Andrew accepted an avocational directorshiop with a Twin Cities dance and theater school, MInnesota Dance Theater in 1986. In 1988, he and Cheryl struck out on their own, launching Classical Ballet Academy; Ballet Minnesota formed in 1990.
     The pair knew they needed a cornerstone piece to build their dance company on, something to get their name out there en masse. The Nutcracker was the perfect choice. Their first production in 1987, staged at Galtier Plaza, was performed in front of 200 people. "It was a lecture and a demonstration, and one of the little girls in the first performance is now one of the dancers in our company," Rist says.
     For the next 21 years (in addition to working with composers, creating the Youth Concert Series, Minnesota Dance Festival and Ballet Minnesota Fall Concert, and working with some of the best dancers in the world including Oksana Konobeyeva and Dmitri Tubolsev), Andrewchoreographed. Cheryl re-staged the annual performances of The Nutcracker and made all of the costumes.
     It's little wonder, then, with all of the talent, that last year alone more than 10,000 people attended Ballet MInnesota's sold-out Nutcracker performances at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium.
     All of those shows need a lot of performers. "Each of the 210 students, from ages 4 to 18, have a role in The Nutcracker if they choose to participate," says Cynthia Betz, Ballet Minnesota executive director.
     One of those students anxious to perform again is 14-year-old Sara Ezzell of Woodbury, who's taken classes at Classical Ballet Academy of MInnesota since she was 5. "Last year I was Clara, so this year I know I'll a different role, she says. "It doesn't really matter which role I get, I'm just happy to be part of such a wonderful production."
     Ballet MInnesota has come a long way since its humble beginnings; with six paid dancers in the company and the six-year-old satellite studio in Woodbury, the troupe has had several dancers garner scholarships and professional roles. And Ballet Minnesota recently partnered with MInnesota Public Radio and The Fitzgerald Theater to ensure a permanent venue for all furture performances, The Nutcracker aside.
     "Our whole system is designed so that the dancers can experience the life of a professional dancer," says Rist. "We want them to see and feel the creative process here, we want them to see that it's all about opening up their soul, and without any fear, having everyone else peer inside."

AT THE MUSEUM        Now Available in Paperback

At The Museum Ad

George Gershwin's  RHAPSODY IN BLUE

Rhapsody In Blue

Choreographer:  Andrew Rist

Composer:  George Gershwin

Costumes:  Cheryl Rist

Sets:  Jim Arnold

Lighting:  Tom Campbell

Photography:  Dave Trayers

BMN Company 2009
      Julia Heggerness
      Erin Warn
      Jennifer Bennett
      Kari Jensen
      Jordan Nelson
      Sean Laughead

CBA & Guests 2009
      Anna Betz
      Margaret Ulland
      Maren Gray
      Olivia Brunzell-Garrett
      Antone Gregory (guest)
      Jim Arnold (guest)

Ballet Minnesota Premiere:
      Rhapsody In Blue
         4th Annual Fall Concert
         November 6, 2009
         Fitzgerald Theater,
         St Paul, Minnesota

Musical Premiere:
     February 12, 1924,
     Aeolian Hall, New York


Black Dog Cafe

Choreographer:   Andrew Rist
Composer:  Many composers
Costumes:  Cheryl Rist
Sets:  Jim Arnold, Cythia Betz
Lighting:  Mike Wangenl
Photography:  Dave Trayers

BMN Company 2007
     Erin Warn, Julia Heggerness, David Schmidt, Allen Gregory, Garvin Jellison

Guests dancers 2007
     Ted Sothern, Maryann Johnson, Jim Arnold, Antone Gregory, Elizabeth Hobbs

CBA dancers 2007
     Megan Simon, Rachelle Horowitz, Karmyn Grant, Marisha Johnson, Rebecca Pelletier,Maren Gray, Sarah Pelletier, Margaret Ulland, Julia Valen, Jacqueline LIs, Anna Betz, Maren Gray, Olivia Brunzell-Garrett

Guests artists 2007
     Charlie Maguire (songwrtier), Desdamona (singer), Carnage (rap artist), Frank Brown (sculptor), Ta-Coumba Aiken (painter), James Penfield (painter), Ill Chemistry

Ballet Minnesota Premiere:
      1st Annual Fall Concert, October 13, 2006, St Paul Student Center, St Paul, Minnesota

Last Performed:
      October 19-20, 2007, St Paul MN, Fitzgerald Theater

Classic Nutcracker Collage


"Choreographer Andrew Rist's classic interpretation focuses on telling the story through the dynamic flow of the dancing. Notable for
its stunning design and energetic performances, this 'Nutcracker' makes the children a vital part of the story.     - PIoneer Press -