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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Deborah's School of Dance celebrates 35 years

Monday, June 11, 2012

Deborah Dunn is pictured alongside two of her younger students, Alivia Schmillen and Addison Phipps, during a recent recital. Dunn is celebrating 35 years as a dance instructor.
It's a blessing to be able to do what you love in life as a profession. For the past 35 years, that's what one woman has been able to accomplish. Sharing her love of dance with countless students in Northwest Iowa.

Deb Dunn, owner of Deborah's School of Dance, of Cherokee and Storm Lake, began her life as a dancer instructor in her senior year in high school.

Her dance instructor left and that is when she, the student, became the teacher. It was in the fall of 1976 when she opened her first dance studio in Storm Lake. Dunn credits her mother as her inspiration for her love of dance.

She said her mother started her in dance classes at the age of nine, "and I loved it," said Dunn. Still to this day Dunn, says her mother, Mabel La Bounty of Storm Lake, is still part of her life in dance. In fact her mother makes many of the costumes that Dunn's dancers perform in.

In the fall of 1981 she expanded by opening a second studio here in Cherokee. That studio, as many readers may remember, was on top of the Brummer Building for many years.

She then moved to the old Garfield School for a few years and then had the opportunity of buying the building that once housed the Democrat newspaper, and before Dunn purchased the building Dorr's Sporting Goods.

Dunn's enterprise in dance is truly a family affair. Dunn and her husband, Doug have two children, and both of her children, Demi and Derek have spent many an hour helping her with the recitals.

Dunn's sister, Lisa Shima, is the tap and dance instructor. Dunn smiles as she describes her sister, "She is my other half, if it wasn't for her I wouldn't be able to do all this."

Dunn currently has around 200 students enrolled in both studios.

When asked how many students she has taught over the years she honestly said she doesn't know. She does however stay in contact with many of them with the help of the social network Facebook.

In fact, she is at a point now in her career where many of her students that have graduated are now enrolling their children.

When asked why her studios are so successful, she replied, "I think it's because dancing gives the students a safe place to express themselves without any fear or judgment."

"It's a two way thing, they give so much and I get back so much. But the real joy is being part of their lives. In our studios it not about the money, it's about the kids. And when you spend that much time with them they become like your own kids," said Dunn.

The style of dance that Dunn teaches ranges from Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Tap and Jazz and she is currently adding Hip Hop.

Each year her classes begin in September and run through May and are held on Tuesday and Thursday in Cherokee and Monday and Wednesday in Storm Lake. She holds her dance recitals during the first or second weekend in May in both Cherokee and Storm Lake.

During the summer she holds one or two workshops but likes to take some time on learning new things.

She also spends time taking her students to other professionally led workshop across the Midwest to show the world of dance out there.

Dunn's Cherokee studio is located at 108 N Second St. and her Storm Lake studio is located at 620 1/2 Lake Ave.

For more information on enrollment and class time, Dunn invites folks to go to her website at www.deborahsschoolofdance.com or visit her on Facebook

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