They get a 'kick' out of teaching dance
Two former assistant coaches of the Canby-Minneota dance team have banded together to start their own dance studio in each of those two towns.
Center Stage Dance Studio will likely become a feeder program for the Canby-Minneota varsity dance team, while also offering several various types of dances.
Shauna Vernlund and Morgan Hansen performed for the Canby-Minneota dance team while in high school at Canby, and then later became assistant coaches. Because of their love for dance, they decided to expand their enthusiasm for dance by teaching others.
This is the first year for the Center Stage Dance Studio at both locations.
Dance classes are being offered in the Canby High School cafeteria, as well as the St. Edward’s School gymnasium in Minneota.
“Our original plan was to only take on Canby this year,” said Vernlund. “But there was a lot of interest shown from the Minneota area and our plans changed and we decided to add classes in Minneota, too.”
There are approximately 60 girls signed up for dance in Canby, ranging in age from pre-school to high school seniors.
And several girls have already signed up for classes in Minneota. Vernlund and Hansen recently secured the St. Edward’s location for its classes here.
“Lots of parents brought up the St. Ed’s gym space and how it would be a good place for us,” said Vernlund. “So we reached out to Mrs. Garvey and she helped us figure everything out.”
Classes in Minneota begin on Oct. 11 and will be held every Thursday, excluding holidays and school breaks, until May 2. A recital will then be held on May 11.
Girls that want to join the classes in Minneota can still sign up by Oct. 20. “The more dancers we can get signed up, the better,” said Hansen.
“We want to spread the passion and love for dance to each and every child that we can.” Vernlund and Hansen have been pondering the idea of opening a dance studio for some time and are excited to see it come to fruition.
“We had both been dreaming of opening a studio and we had been talking to each other here and there about it,” said Hansen.
“So one day we just said to each other, ‘Let’s go for it’.” “So we started arranging things and bouncing ideas off one another. Finally, we made our dreams become a reality.”
Vernlund and Hansen each graduated from Canby High School in 2014. They started dance lessons in a studio at a young age and progressed to eventually perform for the varsity dance team.
Vernlund was an assistant dance coach the past three years, while Hansen has been an assistant the last two seasons. Now with the opening of their studios, they will no longer be coaches for the Canby-Minneota dance team. Each expressed sadness in giving up coaching, but are excited for what the future brings.
“I love coaching and teaching new dancers,” Vernlund said. “Seeing their progress from learning new techniques when they are in their early stages of their dance careers, and then seeing them a couple of years later and how much they’ve improved over time is rewarding.”
“I absolutely love coaching and teaching these girls for so many reasons,” said Hansen. “Being able to see them grow as a dancer and also as a person as the years pass, is so awesome.”
“And knowing that I had a part in that makes my heart happy. I love seeing their faces when they finally nail the move they have been trying to get for so long.”
Center Stage Dance Studio will offer various types of dance for girls in pre-school to high school, such as ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pom, hip hop and high kick.
“I grew up dancing tap, ballet and jazz,” said Vernlund. “And we do offer Mini Dance Team, which will be High Kick. We both have our experience with that skill from dancing and coaching the Canby-Minneota dance teams.”
“Pom is more of a jazz style of dance; just more upbeat and fast-paced music that is similar to competitive cheerleading without the stunts.” “I learned the Pom style from being on the cheer team at SMSU.”
“I was also in studio from a young age and having that knowledge helps out tremendously when teaching these girls the skills and techniques they need to do the routines we are teaching them,” added Hansen.
Vernlund and Hansen are envisioning the day when they can secure a permanent location to offer their wide variety of dance styles. “We want to eventually get our own permanent location/building and offer classes of all dance styles from hip hop to ballroom,” said Hansen. “We want to expand so we can accommodate all age groups as well. And we want to share our love and passion for dance with anyone and everyone who wants to learn.”
The classes at St. Edward’s begin on Oct. 11 with the schedule will be as follows: First-Second grade (ballet, jazz, tap): 3:30-4:15 p.m. Third-Fourth grade (ballet, jazz, tap): 4:15-5 p.m. Pre-school (ballet, tap): 5-5:30 p.m. Kindergarten (ballet, tap): 5:30-6 p.m. Fifth-Sixth grade (lyrical, jazz, tap): 6-6:45 p.m. High school (lyrical, jazz, tap): 6:45-7:30 p.m.
(Following Christmas break, pom will be added to those in Fourth Grade to high school, mini dance team will be added to Second to Sixth Grades, and hip hop will be added to Fifth grade to high school).
For more information or to sign up, email Vernlund and Hansen at firstname.lastname@example.org, message them on Facebook, or through their “Contact” tab on their website at www.centerstage.canbymn.wordpress.com/minneota.