At four-years-old, both Erin Ebbers and Nicole Becker started dancing. Jazz, tap and ballet were their chosen outlets. But the unforeseen happened. Children were born. A car crash at seventeen. Yet dance and choreography stayed in their minds, even when the music stopped.
Then two years ago, while Becker was Ebbers’ daughter’s head start teacher, Becker posted on Facebook that she wanted to follow her dream—dance. This got the two talking about their mutual love, through tears, and their time away from this passion. Ebbers had not danced in twelve years. For Becker it had been much longer, since a car accident cut her career short in high school. They decided to join forces, and eventually started the Precision School of Dance on the 1st floor of the Corydon American Legion.
Before opening their school, the two taught a few lessons together in the spring of 2012. They saw that there was definitely interest. Becker was a coach for youth football cheerleaders. She realized the crossover appeal of cheerleading and dancing, and many of her students are now signed up for dance. They also held a dance camp in June with good turnout. All beginners, Ebbers says she “gave them tough stuff, but they soared right through.”
Ebbers had experience already, operating a dance studio in Cambria in 2001. Enrollment was good, but she wanted to spend more time with her son, who was two-years-old at the time. A graduate of Wayne, she participated in professional dance competitions in Kansas City. She began her first teaching job at Center Stage Dance Studio in Centerville in 1992, and taught there until 1994. One of her dance teachers trained at Drake University and Ballet Iowa, a professional company in Des Moines. Another trained in Kansas City.
Becker is originally from West Virginia. Though she could not continue her own dance career, she graduated from Marshall University in West Virginia with a degree in education. “I love to teach children,” she says. She is married to Wayne County native Mike Becker. After she graduated, the couple moved to Myrtle Beach, S.C., where she taught primary school. She then got homesick, since Mike’s work often kept him away from home, and they moved back to West Virginia before the job market brought them to Corydon in 2007.
When she presented her husband with the idea of beginning a studio, “Mike was very supportive, because he knew that’s all I talked about. But he’s much more practical-minded than me.” Her husband worried about the financial aspects of a business, but ultimately he was impressed with her enthusiasm and the numbers enrolled so far. 40 students have registered already, and Becker expects at least 50 by the time that classes start. “What’s helping our numbers is we’re making class cost-effective,” she explains.
Ebbers husband was not surprised, either. “He was completely supportive [of the idea of opening my studio],” she says. “I’d done it before. And he knew I was going to do it no matter what.”
This also allows the women to dance again, during instruction. “There was some rust,” Ebbers says. “I’m almost 40!” But she added that at this point the barriers are mental more than physical. Having Becker makes the transition smoother:
“It’s ten times easier having a partner. I’m not a business-oriented person. Nicole takes care of that. It’s nice to have backup. Nicole is a godsend.”
Parents have been asking about competitive dance already. “There’s some extreme raw talent we’re seeing,” Ebbers says. “We don’t have the bling of some programs, but we have talent and technique. It’s not about costumes. Kids need an outlet. Dance was my salvation when I was a girl. It was my safe place.”
The women plan to instill this attitude in their students. “Girls coming back from camp know that they can trust us,” Becker says. Their studio is a family place, supportive, where saying ‘you can’t dance’ won’t be tolerated. “We don’t care if you’re too tall or too whatever, that’s not what it’s about. Just come dance.”
Precision School of Dance accepts toddlers to adults, including a ‘mommy and me’ class for two and three year olds. There are also slots for an adult-exclusive class. They are still taking registrations, and students can sign up Aug. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the American Legion in Corydon. Right now, only girls have registered, but classes are open to anyone, and boys are welcome as well.
For more information, please call Erin Ebbers at 641-344-2766 or Nicole Becker at 641-414-8260.