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Woodbury Dance Center has fit in, grown with city

Woodbury Dance Center students take part in the Woodbury Days Parade in 2016. Submitted photo1 / 2
Founded in 1995, Woodbury Dance Center now serves more than 1,400 students. Submitted photo2 / 2

Kathy Mueller and Buffy Johnson Breen are sisters. They have grown together, danced together, taught together and, in 1995, they brought their partnership to a new level.

These sisters along with their mother, Carol Bourquin, decided to hone their passion and natural chemistry and start what is now one of Woodbury's premier dance schools, Woodbury Dance Center.

Woodbury Dance Center is currently located on Rivertown Drive and offers education in a variety of dance styles including jazz, tap, hip-hop, ballet and more. According to Mueller, Woodbury Dance Center is unique because the current multi-room facility allows them to teach different age groups at the same time, which is very convenient for parents who have children of different ages.

With over 20 instructors and serving about 1,400 students, Woodbury Dance Center has provided a way for children to stay active and for Woodbury families to engage with one another.

Kathy Mueller (left) and Buffy Johnson Breen (right) launched Woodbury Dance Center with their mother, Carol Bourquin.

But the center has not always been what it is today. When the Woodbury Dance Center first started, these two sisters were teaching out of a location with a much smaller capacity.

"Our first space was a one-room, very small space that we grew out of after one year," Mueller said. Although the space was small, the school flourished and filled up so quickly that, when the lease ran out, there was only one logical option: get a bigger space.

Woodbury Dance Center moved into a second location on Currell Boulevard, "...right across the street from the post office," Johnson Breen said. After much renovation, Woodbury Dance Center now had enough space for two dance studios and 300 students.

It wasn't until 2006 that the Woodbury Dance Center found the space they now call home. Here they have been able to expand their services, offer more flexible classes and manage an entire staff of teachers and coordinators.

Working as sisters has been a breeze for these two.

"We've always worked really well together," Mueller said. "We both have different strengths that work out with what we each concentrate on."

And while these sisters clearly posses a passion to teach, Woodbury Dance Center has also made a great impact on the community.

Darby's Dancers is one special outreach in which Woodbury Dance Center provides specialized dance lessons for children with special needs. Woodbury Dance Center also participates annually in the Woodbury Days Parade and even collaborates with the East Metro Symphony Orchestra during the holidays to perform Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker."

The recitals are just another way for the community to come together. There is even a special time during the year where the parents have a chance to bust a move on stage.

"I don't know what's more entertaining, the dads or the 2-year-olds," Mueller said, laughing.

For the last 22 years, Woodbury Dance Center has made an incredible contribution to the active city of Woodbury and they celebrate Woodbury's 50th anniversary as an essential part of the community's development.

"Between the school system and the community itself there is just a wide variety of programs for kids that are interested," Mueller said. "It's just been a great place for us to fit in."

The sisters are now beginning to see some of their very first students bring in their children. "Parents who once danced at our studio [are] now bringing their kids to classes. It's really fun to see that," Mueller said.

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