Jeffrey & Carla Haper

Keep Calm and Fundraise On.  To borrow a couple of words from The Chive, we are that fundraising couple.  But, our story begins much earlier when our daughter, Rylee, was three years old.  Interesting enough our son’s first T-Ball coach, Becky Jankowski, also taught cheerleading for Midwest Dance Center.  She said Rylee would have to wait a year to start cheerleading but she could definitely start dance in the meantime.

Becky’s husband, Tony, played in a band back then with a “boyfriend” of one of the owners of Midwest Dance Center.  She invited us out to listen to them and that is the night we first met Jen Garry.  Jen said Rylee would be perfect for dance and invited us to stop by the studio on Minnesota Avenue.

Jeffrey: I remember stopping by the studio for the first time.  I thought it was pure chaos!  Dancers were all over the place running from one classroom to the next.  Parents and other people in the lobby waiting for their dancer to finish for the night.

It wasn’t until I went to my first recital that it all made sense to me.  It was so rewarding to see my little girl up on stage doing her first routines.  It was then that I fell in love with dance.

Something else happened that night.  I was watching some of the other routines from the older competitive dancers and started wondering…would my daughter grow into a talented dancer like these girls?  The answer is yes!

I have had so many dance “moments” over the years that I have lost count.  I can’t imagine how it has been for Tonia and Jen.  One thing that I do know is that I want every three or four year old that dreams of dancing to be able to discover their passion.  In fact, I want everyone that wants to dance to just dance.  For me, MDC is that opportunity!

Carla: As Jeffrey mentioned, Rylee was only 3 years old when she entered her very first dance classroom.  As a mom you are scared to death to let them go.  So many things run through your mind like will she listen to the teacher, will she understand, will she have fun?

It only took a  few moments for my fears to subside as I saw a great big smile when the door opened to the classroom and she came bouncing out.  I could tell she had fallen in love with dance and it was then that I fell in love with it too.

I have worn several different hats with MDC over the years.  I have been and still am your basic dance mom.  Scrambling to make sure Rylee has all her costumes and accessories, especially the shoes!  I have been a team mom too scrambling to fix someone’s costume or find another set of earrings.  I have held different positions with the Booster Club making sure there was opportunity for everyone to dance.  And now, I am an owner making sure the studio continues with its great traditions.

It has been several years since Rylee’s first smile but MDC has not just been a place I have watched her grow into a beautiful dancer but has also become our family.  It means so much to me to see young dancers with dreams in their eyes and being a little afraid of what dance holds for them only to see them mature into independent and confident young adults.  Midwest Dance Center is our second home and I hope your dancer’s as well!