Two years ago, Lindsey Homeier woke up to a nightmare that could have easily dashed the dreams of most young entrepreneurs. One December morning in 2013, the promising young dance instructor learned the building, formerly a great opera house, that housed her studio had been condemned by the city as an unsafe structure. After months of evasive maneuvers by the building’s owners to avoid responsibility for their crumbling south wall, a large chunk had fallen onto the parking lot below during a snowstorm the night before, leaving the city no choice.
The building had two tenants, Homeier, who had leased the space from the owner, her former boss, and a resident of a basement apartment. Both had less than a day to arrange help to remove all their belongings from the premises.
Shell-shocked described the look on her face when she arrived at the studio that morning with a core group of students, their parents, and family and friends, all there to help load what they could when the city gave the nod to allow them a brief window to enter.
Elks step up
Euphoria Dance Centre’ had been a dream of Lindsay’s throughout her years studying dance at the University of Kansas, and later as an instructor at Bates Dance Studio. When the opportunity to buy out her boss was offered, she felt her dreams were about to take off. And they did. Into her second year in business, her first winter showcase and dinner theater was only a month away. Throughout the fall, her competition team had been preparing a contemporary group dance that involved the use of a large prop, essentially what looked like a giant cage on wheels. Where she would move everything to was her first concern, but a close second would be where she would be able to continue to hold classes.
Thankfully, garages and basements were offered up for storage. Calls were made until finally, The Elks Lodge #1127 of Great Bend agreed to provide space where classes could be held in the interim while the search began for a new studio.
Learning to bend
Flexibility is important in dance, but Lindsay had to learn to be flexible in new ways. The Elks continued to hold events in the space, which meant some classes had to be cancelled or postponed some weeks, and equipment had to be moved in and out each week.
“In many ways, I felt like I was homeless, and The Elks was my shelter, “she said.
It was a two way street, though, she’s quick to add. The Elks did all it could to accommodate her during the critical weeks before performances and competitions during the oft-times gruelling spring competition season. The hall even turned down some bookings for receptions.
Finally, the summer of 2014 arrived, and renewed efforts were made to find a new location. The search took longer than expected, and another season of classes began before finally, the right space was found.
The building at 1912 Broadway would have the space she needed, but it would require a lot of elbow grease before Lindsay and her students and instructors would call it home. After months of work, Euphoria Dance Center opened its door on Dec. 1, 2015. It was two-weeks short of two years from the day the Forest Street studio was closed.
The new studio includes a large space on the ground level with a brand new rubberized Morley floor, which can be divided into two separate work spaces. A front and a back lobby are also available for parents and siblings to relax in during classes. Upstairs, a loft provides space for dancers’ cubbies, study space, and Hollywood style bathrooms with mirrors and lights and space where photographs can be taken. Room for storing props is no longer a problem now either.
In the coming year, a 4,000 sq. foot basement will be transformed into two additional studio rooms, a staff room, and a space Lindsey plans to call “Euphoria’s Closet,” where branded clothing and second-hand costumes can be purchased.
EDC student takes a huge leap
During the two-year interim period, Euphoria Dance Centre’s Competition team persevered, and took honors at competitions both in and out of state. Lindsay also enjoyed the special excitement that comes when a student catches the eye of judges and gets called up to the next level.
Blake Stanley began dancing at the age of 14 at Euphoria Dance Centre under the instruction of Lindsay Homeier and remained at EDC from 2012-2014. In the spring of 2014, he was accepted into the prestigious Dance Department of Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts and moved to Kansas City. While in Kansas City, he spent a vast amount of time traveling to assist Joe Berry, a past choreographer for MTV and judge on the hit reality TV show, “Dance Moms.”
He competed predominantly in the Midwest and achieved the highest scoring solo at Talent on Parade Nationals in Oklahoma City, winning the title of “Grand Champion.”
Stanley moved back to Great Bend to finish high school and taught classes at Euphoria Dance Centre while he was home. He graduated from GBHS in December of 2015 and was soon off to Indianapolis as he had auditioned for and was accepted into the pre-professional ballet program at the Indiana Ballet Conservatory. He now trains at IBC on a full scholarship.
Stanley plans to audition in the spring for Disney and attend the 2016 Dance Awards in Orlando where he has been invited to audition for Senior Male Best Dancer.
Instructors are key
Stanley’s success helped keep Lindsay motivated to do what she can to propel more students into the spotlight. That includes bringing in the best instructors she can. Guests from Kansas City, etc. have traveled to provide weekend-long seminars. But one important instructor, Paige Lofland, is home grown.
Paige Lofland is now teaching classical ballet at Euphoria Dance Centre and is a lifetime resident of Great Bend. She began dancing at age six at The School of Dance Arts taught by Dorothy Donnelly. She studied there until she went to college at Fort Hays State where she continued her study of dance.
Paige has studied under several different instructors including Madam Swaboda from New York and Joffery Ballet Company in St. Louis.
Coming back to Great Bend, she started teaching with her mentor, Mrs. Donnelly for several years in Great Bend and in St.John. After a hiatus to raise her four daughters, she is back to her love of teaching classical ballet at EDC.
Euphoria Dance Centre will be holding its Third Annual Winter Dinner Theater and Showcase on Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Great Bend Events Center. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the brisket dinner will be served at 6 p.m. Show only guests will be seated at 6:45 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m.
Tickets are still available for the both at the door. Proceeds help cover EDC Company dancers’ competition entry fees. Dancers from preschool through high school will perform a wide variety of numbers they’ve been working on since August.
The showcase will offer a sneak peek to the upcoming spring show scheduled for May 21 at the Barton Community College Auditorium.