Dance studio steps into Woodbury
Denise Yackel started dancing at 4 years old and by the time she was 13, she was running a dance studio out of her parents' basement, ending up with 40 kids on Saturday mornings.
After two decades of dance instruction, Yackel is moving her dance school and studio from Cottage Grove to Woodbury this month.
"My lease was up in Cottage Grove and we needed to expand," she said. "And I'm really drawing students from this area."
Yackel and her daughter Beth Yackel Wasley will run the studio that will make its debut at the Woodbury Days parade Sunday, Aug. 25.
Yackel Dance Studio has 250 students from ages 2 to adult, with the majority being young children.
Wasley heads the studio as artistic director and works with six other teachers who offer classes in ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop.
"We're really experienced with young children, " Yackel said. "Most of my teachers are school teachers, and they've got early childhood development degrees. We work very well with children."
The studio will have a grand opening Sept. 7 following an introduction to the community by having 75 of its dancers at the annual Woodbury Days parade performing a jazz number.
Yackel will be running the business and also teaching a couple classes, something she's enjoyed since her teenage years.
"I just love watching a dancer develop from a very young dancer and then watch them grow -- see all aspects of dance affect their lives," she said. "The person they become, how they handle situations in their life outside of dance. I just think it really makes them a strong, well-rounded person."
Yackel said dance is an activity that boosts kids' confidence and self-esteem levels and teaches them a number of skills, including respect for adults, camaraderie with fellow students, time management and performance skills.
Yackel Dance Studio dancers recently competed in the "Starquest National Dance Competition" where they won first and second place awards for top scores in the "Quest for the Best" finals.
Yackel said the dancers continue to place in the top five at various competitions, while Wasley continues to win top choreography awards for her work.
Classes at Yackel are divided by age group and type of dance. The new studio will accommodate more dancers with three studios currently under final phases of construction.
The grand opening celebration will include a dance demonstration in the main part of Valley Creek Mall.