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Taking the leap

Wilson Dance Co. opening in downtown Monroe

A lifelong dream of three home-grown women is becoming a reality as Wilson Dance Co. leaps into town beginning the upcoming season. Cindy Wilson, along with her daughters Morgan Steenhoek and Lainy Curry, have a lifetime of dance experience, from dancing themselves to coaching and choreographing, they are excited to share with incoming students.

“It is something we have all wanted to do for a long time. We were presented the opportunity with a location so we thought, let’s go for it,” Steenhoek said. “We’ve all been dancing since we were tiny, three-years-old, we’ve done it our whole lives. I’ve done it collegiately, Mom coached high school and collegiate levels, Lainy’s coached and taught, I’ve coached and taught so it just kind of makes sense.”

All from Monroe, the women have a long history of dance in the community. Wilson started at Bev Owens’ studio while the girls danced in Newton before continuing locally. Each danced on the high school dance team and Wilson was the very first choreographer for the All-Iowa Honor Dance Team. Steenhoek has also gone on to coach the PCM Dance Team for the past nine years.

“We just have always kept dancing in our lives,” Wilson said. “We just love dance.”

At the new studio, located on the west side of the Monroe square next to Salon Essence in the former Home Video building, the trio plan to start with the fundamentals and help the students grow. Offering a variety of dance mediums, there will be a little bit of something for anyone at Wilson Dance Co. 

“We are planning on offering your basic tap, ballet, jazz class combos. For older girls we will have lyrical and contemporary. We will have some hip hop classes, tap and clogging, we’ll have a musical theater class that is competitive and a jazz/pom class that is competitive. Also, technical and acro will be offered,” Curry said.

To help keep class sizes down and offer more personal instruction, the studio will have separate three-year-old and four-year-old classes. The classes with be a combination of tap, ballet and tumbling.

“I’m all about the basics and the technique. I want to see a very strong, everyone that is beginning start of with good technique, make sure we’re doing it right from the beginning,” Wilson said.

From there, classes are offered based on skill level and the students desire to compete or just take general dance.

“We have competitive classes that are kids who are interested in being a little more aggressive with the amount of dance they are taking and we classes for kids that just want to come every week and have fun and do a recital,” Steenhoek said.

The season will start the Tuesday following Labor Day through the end of April or beginning of May when the recital will be held. Keeping May open is important to the women who want the students to be involved in whatever other activities may interest them along with dance.

“People deserve to enjoy their Labor Day and Memorial Day and there are all types of things in May with Tulip Times or graduations whether college or high school. We are shortening it up by a month so people can do those types of things,” Wilson said.

“I think by that time of year people are ready, it is a nice little break, gives us a chance to look at possibly doing some summer camps or summer intensives. We can have dance more than just from September through April,” Steenhoek said. “It gives everybody a little break in the spring when it gets warmer out.”

Dance can often come with a large price tag but while developing their model for Wilson Dance Co., the worked to make it affordable for anyone and everyone.

“We’ve talked about how can we do it and teach the kids as much about dance as we can, that’s our goal and the fun, end goal is the recital,” Steenhoek said. “Our goal isn’t to spend hundreds of dollars on costumes for a the three- and four-year-old, we want something that looks cute, is fun, a tap/ballet combo costume and a cute, inexpensive tumbling costume. We want it to be enjoyable and fun and don’t want to break the bank by any means.”

For those looking to take the next step and compete in dance, the studio plans to start competition classes this year and work its way up throughout the season.

“Competitive classes, they learn the choreography a lot quicker. It is a lot more of a technical routine, you’re working on putting in more tricks and turns and harder things that certain levels and ages can handle,” Curry said. “They are going to different competitions throughout the season and competing against other studios for the top category routine and top overall for the age category.”

Most competitions are in central Iowa or within a couple of hours from home. The studio could go on to a national competition which is often in a surrounding state during the summer.

“Our goal is to do between three and five. Probably start with less and work our way up,” Curry said.

With the work just getting started, having had registration begin and the logos officially go up on the building, the women are really just excited to share their love of dance with the students who walk through the door.

“When you find something you like that you were good at growing up and then be able to teach kids and watch them grow into the success of doing it, it is an amazing feeling,” Steenhoek said.  “To watch them succeed and then to feel like you played a part in it, that is what I love about dance. You build these great relationship with the kids, you want them to not only grow as dancers but people, too, and dance is the connection you have to build that bond and that relationship, but it is always so much more than that.”

“When we discussed doing this together and we were talking about building our brand as Wilson Dance Co., one of the things I was big on was we’re a family starting this and we want our family to grow,” Curry said. “We want the dancers and families that come to our studio to feel like they are a part of our family, too, not just some dancer coming in off of the street, they are joining the Wilson Dance Co. family.”

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or

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