On Pointe Dance Company celebrates first dance season
As soon as school started in Blue Earth, another kind of school opened up on Main Street known as the On Pointe Dance Company.
Maija Brown, owner of On Pointe, and her trusted co-instructor, Kayla Schaper, just began their first season of classes on Sept. 5. Both the instructors were Blue Earth Area High School graduates and raised in Blue Earth.
Brown participated in both dance and gymnastics for 15 years, and went on to teach dance for two years and gymnastics for three years. She took a step back from both dance and gymnastics when she went to college at South Dakota State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy and a minor in pest management and ag business.
She came back to the Blue Earth area after she received a job opportunity with CFS. She later married and took on a new role when she became a mother to her son, Henry.
“My love for children and my passion for dance fueled me to open this studio,” she says. “Its something I just couldn’t give up. I had so many great memories of my time in dance and gymnastics and I’m very much looking forward to educating more students with what I know.”
As for Schaper, she spent most of the time in the dance studio and gymnastics center growing up in Blue Earth as well. She has 11 years of dance and 13 years of gymnastics under her belt, as well as eight full years of coaching.
She took a step back from Blue Earth and moved to La Crosse in order to pursue a degree in Early Childhood-Middle Childhood education. After graduating from college, she spent her first two years teaching first grade in La Crosse.
After that, she decided to move back home to Blue Earth and is teaching at the Granada-Huntley-East-Chain Elementary School teaching second and third grade math and reading.
“I’m excited to be back home and reconnecting with familiar faces,” says Schaper. “That, and getting to know new ones while we get to share our passion for dance and movement.”
Brown says once she came back to Blue Earth, a fire reignited inside her to go back to dance. She pondered the potential of opening her own dance company and could not resist when the right opportunity came up.
“I’ve always wanted to do this,” she says. “We love to dance and we are excited to give more girls and boys an opportunity to enjoy it as thoroughly as we did.”
The two women work full-time jobs, and still find time to create their own choreography for each one of their dance classes. And there are a lot of them. The classes offered at On Pointe include: tiny tots for three-year-olds, dancing divas for four to five year olds, mini movers for six to eight-year-olds, jazzy juniors for nine and 10-year-olds, middle school classes for students age 10 to 14, high school classes for ages 14 to 18, junior lyrical and junior hip hop classes for students age seven to 12, senior lyrical and senior hip-hop for ages 12 to 18, a mommy and me class for mothers and students age 18 months to three years old, and they even have an adult class for dancers ages 21 and older.
Granted, these classes have already begun for On Pointe’s first year of dance, but Brown shares they are currently taking enrollment for the 2020-21 season.
“It is a lot, but we are very dedicated to what we do,” says Brown. “We are learning and our parents of our dancers have been very understanding.”
“Yes, we have a pretty large group of three year olds, and it has its own unique set of challenges,” Schaper laughs. “You never know when a meltdown over an untied shoelace can go down. I think we now know to make smaller class sizes for our tiny tots next year.”
“We have close to 100 students for this season. We even have our own boys hip hop class and they are awesome,” says Brown. “It’s really great to see our male students being involved in dance. And they have some moves!”
This year’s recital theme is “Once Upon A Time,” with all songs familiar to the tune of some great Disney hits. It’s scheduled for Saturday, April 18.
If you or a family member is interested in joining the On Pointe Dance Company, take a peek at their Facebook page, head to www.onpointedanceco.com, or call them at 507-525-3916.