KEARNEY — The Dance Works opened 32 years ago above the former Creative Teacher store in downtown Kearney.
On Sunday, the dance school will show off its new 12,000-square-foot studio at the Hilltop Mall.
According to owner Kathy Huddleston, the business has grown from a few handfuls of students in the early years to 500 today. They range in age from 2 years to adult, and about 90 percent are girls.
“Numbers have just kept growing, and we’ve been looking for something for a long time, propbably the last four yerars,” Huddleston said about The Dance Works’ expansion into the mall.
The dance school is among the tenants of the former Herberger’s store. Planet Fitness operates on the south end of the former Herberger’s store while Kohl’s plans a March opening for its new store. A third retailer is preparing space on the north side of the former Herberger’s store.
“We’re super excited to get everyone under one roof,” Huddleston said, explaining that while details on the lease and remodeling were ongoing, her students were spread among four diferent dance studios, including two in north Kearney, one near Heritage Bank and the other in the Sinclair Plaza.
Huddleston’s partner in The Dance Works is her daughter, Siera Greiner, who grew up in the dance culture while her mother grew the business.
Most of the lessons unfold in the afternoons and evenings, but toddlers’ classes are in the morning, Huddleston said.
The Dance Works’ 12,000 square feet is partitioned into six studio spaces.
“We have a tumbling room and two smaller spaces for our youngest dancers. Also, we have two rooms for our older kids and one awesome performance-size space that’s the size of a stage.”
Having multiple studios also allows boys at the dance school to practice and rehearse together, a strategy Huddleston said has helped to encourage more boys to dance. She said the boys are a big hit when they take the stage at recital time.
Walls in the new studios are ablaze with bright colors, including bright green, the business’ signature color.
Floor coverings are specially suited for dance and tumbling. One-way mirrors allow visitors to see into the practice studios without distracting the students, such as during parents’ night, Huddleston said.
The school has 20 instructors and an office manager.
With Sunday’s open house just two days away, the construction crew and many of The Dance Works’ instructors were busy today adding finishing touches to the dance school. One of the final exercises will be hanging 120 feet of 6-foot-tall mirrors.
The Dance Works’ new address is 4915 Second Ave. Suite 1. The entry is on the east side of the mall. The open house runs 2-7 p.m. Sunday.