She Keeps Us Dancing: Senior Allison Noll Choreographs Third Musical Production

She keeps students dancing, in fact, Senior Allison Noll has been keeping the campus noll_a_with_cast.jpgdancing for three years. An agricultural business and agricultural education double major, Noll's passion for dance began as a high school student growing up in Mahnomen, Minn., dancing for her high school dance line, the Sparklers.

To date, Noll has choreographed three musicals at the U of M, Crookston including "Leader of the Pack" in 2010, "Dracula, the Musical?" in spring 2011, and now, "Zombie Prom." Her work begins by listening to the music and lyrics and putting together ideas. She may check other sources, but as Noll explains, "I like to try and keep the dances my own so I don't rely on outside sources much at all."

She is given the score for the musical from George French, who heads up the music and theater department on the campus. She writes down the steps on the score as the dance moves develop. "I try not to repeat dance steps to keep the choreography from getting boring," Noll says. "I keep the cast busy learning almost until they are ready to perform in order to refine the steps as they memorize each move."

Working with the students is something Noll enjoys particularly the freshman who are excited to be performing for the first time. Dance is not offered as part of the curriculum at the U of M, Crookston so Noll treasures the opportunities she has had to choreograph. "I find it a wonderful way to be involved in a hobby I have loved since high school," she says. "And, I have the privilege of working with so many people."

Noll has choreographed two of the Mr. UMC pageants along with her work on the musicals. She is gratified by the experience particularly when she is part the audience watching the stage, but also, listening and looking for a reaction from the rest of the audience. "I really like to see the them enjoy the performance and watch it all come together," she reflects. "I am nervous before the curtain goes up because I have spent a lot of time with the cast, and I really want it to go well."

For one season, Noll was the coach of the Crookston High School Treasurettes dance line. She also is involved in Collegiate FFA and has worked for four years in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations. When the opportunity became available, Noll studied abroad in Australia and will be back for one final year at the U of M, Crookston to finish up her double major. Her advisor is Associate Professor Lyle Westrom, who teaches in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department. Noll is the daughter of Dale and Linda Noll of Mahnomen.
Noll doesn't tire of dance and her enjoyment of choreography is unwavering even when she considers the countless hours she has invested in each of the performances. "I get a deep sense of gratification from it," Noll says.

And, it's a good thing she doesn't tire of designing dance steps because Noll is responsible for keeping the campus dancing, and her work makes us all feel good.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

In the photo: Joe Harren (Jonny), Eagle Bend, Minn., a senior majoring in agronomy; Melissa Graf (Toffee), Hokah, Minn., a sophomore majoring in animal science; Brooke Hamilton (Miss Delilah Strict), Adams, Minn., a junior majoring in business; Allison Noll, (choreographer) Mahnomen, Minn., a senior double majoring in agricultural business and agricultural Education; and Austin Czichotzki (Eddie), Barnesville, Minn., a senior majoring in communication. 

Contact: George French, director of music and theater, 218-281-8266 (; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (