The Beat Goes On...July Featured Business of the Month



Dancing on stage and teaching her classes “sets me on fire,” which explains why Laura Klima-Fehr is so passionate about sharing her excitement and expertise with students, their families and the public. Klima-Fehr, who was raised in Hoisington and Great Bend, owns Danceography at 1701 K-96; she also has a De Soto, Ks., location. The business opened in 2014 “on faith, and love for dance, children and teaching,” said Klima-Fehr, who began dancing at age 2. “Our students range in age from toddlers who just started walking to over age 80,” she said. “Our Tiny Tykes program includes toddlers still in diapers who want to be active and are learning to understand directions.” Danceography also provides competitive teams, studio classes, tumbling lessons, fitness classes, couple’s classes and adult small group classes. A ballet group of senior women meets weekly to keep their bodies mobile and healthy. “We love all styles that we teach,” Klima-Fehr commented. “Younger kids really love jazz, which is super sassy and fun, along with hip hop, which is a little less structured and a little funkier. Older students like to channel their emotions with lyrical and contemporary styles. And once anyone tries our tap classes, most of them are hooked.” Those who may shy away from dance because they believe they have two left feet may surprise themselves - no matter what the style. “Sometimes these students turn out to be the best dancers,” Klima-Fehr noted. “You don’t need natural talent to be amazing at dance. God make us unique, which is why teaching is so much fun. It is exhilarating and we thrive on sharing techniques for each individual dancer. “Their reactions are priceless when something clicks,” she added. “Those moments of nailing a routine, technical element or trick are thrilling for students and instructors. It is so special to watch them grow and trust in their own God-given bodies. We say ‘you got this,’ and bam, they get it.” All Danceography employees teach, with the support of the junior assistants. The staff includes Alyson Smith, Tandi Mai, Sarah Burkhead, Nakita Adame, Faith Beck and Daphne Doll. The young assistants are Sydnie Strong, Aubrey Smith, Alyvia Mingenback, Makeila Straub and Elle Damm. Returning alumni that have helped are Molly Kaiser and Johnelle Moshier. “I want to give a huge shout out, not only to this amazing staff, but our dance families,” Klima-Fehr emphasized. “Tears well up in my eyes just thinking about what we have accomplished during the pandemic. Families are the reason we are successful and their recent support shone through. “In addition, our staff showed up for our kids. They made the Zoom meetings happen, adhered to strict sanitizing guidelines in the studio and trusted in the process. I am so proud of them. And above all, our dancers worked hard and learned over Zoom. I’m just so proud of everyone and to be part of the Great Bend community.”

Klima-Fehr acknowledged that it was tough going during the shutdown. “I’m sure everyone can say ‘amen’ to that. We Zoomed for nine weeks and the kids liked it at first but later we realized how much we all missed the hugs and giggles in person.” Zoom was a new way of life and “none of us liked it; students weren’t loving dance classes like they used to. It was a new way of life, as I am sure everyone can relate.” Finances soon became a problem too and “it was a struggle. I didn’t know if Danceography would make it to August. Parents were struggling because of lost jobs, furloughs and wage cuts. There were many tears and prayers, while staying true to my faith that God would see us through.” Contributing to this difficult time was planning for a recital that may or may not happen. But Danceography teachers, parents and students reached their goal, even though circumstances and protocols were far from the norm. “All of us were trying to teach recital routines and be optimistic that restrictions would lift. We pushed toward a performance with no real idea of what was going to happen. These kids worked hard on routines – nine weeks in person and nine over Zoom. They deserved to dance and show off what they learned.” The hard work, optimism and prayers paid off. Restrictions were lifted and Danceography had its first in-studio recital May 30-31, with parents. Dancers weren’t able to enjoy hearing applause from the big crowds at events such as football and basketball games, Chamber of Commerce events, Relay for Life and many more. But they demonstrated their skills for parents with protocols in place. “We are incredibly blessed by a community that supports dance and the qualities that Danceography stands for,” Klima-Fehr said. “This support allows us to look forward to a wonderful future of performing for recitals and local events. “Since day one, we have been treated so well and have felt so loved by our dance families. Moms and dads are incredible people who love their kids.”