THE FOOTWORKS STORY
My name is Kim Mader and I am the owner of Footworks Dance Company. We are a unique dance studio located in Kimberly, Wisconsin. I come from a long family tradition of dance. I give thanks, with sincere gratitude and appreciation, for the example in dance studio ownership and life lessons that I have learned from my Great-Uncle Richard Verhoeven and his daughter Patti Verhoeven-Provost. I will say that I teach dance, but more importantly I’m in the business of human beings.
With over 17 years of dance studio ownership, I have worked with many amazing students. Sharing in our students joys and successes, far beyond the short time they spent at the studio as a child, brings me great pride. For those that come up through our studio know, the studio is family. Over the years the term “2nd daughters” (or sons) is a very common phrase and heard regularly at the studio. My teachers share in my philosophies. Their talent in dance, dedication and heart is unmeasured. I can truly say that whether I am your teacher, or one of our fabulous instructors is your teacher (Michelle, Megan, Paige, Brittany, Jen, Nicole, Terri, Tiahna, Aubree or Mercedes), you are in the same good hands. We work together and want the same outcome. Many of our teachers grew up at the studio, and were part of our student mentorship program, and are considered my family, whether biological or not. Between my husband and myself, we have 5 daughters (all of whom danced from me growing up) and 1 son. 3 daughters are teachers with our studio and 1 works in administration (Allyssa).
My dance journey has been shaped by so many. My parents and grandparents helped start me out on this journey, and without them, their support and their encouragement I could not do this today. They were instrumental in the opening of Footworks Dance Company. My brother Todd works at the studio during the week, with cleaning and miscellaneous tasks. If you spend time at the studio, you will come to see the very special and kind-hearted man Todd is. My husband is my best friend and life partner and there is absolutely no way I could do this without him. He does so much work behind the scenes that goes unrecognized. From maintaining our yard and taking care of snow, remodeling projects, props, cleaning – you name it – he helps. If I have a married staff member, you can bet their husband has helped our studio, in some way, as well. Even my ex-husband (Dan) and his wife (Jen) still help with our recitals and stay involved. Many other family members and parents of our students come together each year to help make our recital successful, and pitch in throughout the year. I could not have asked for a better family support system.
My gratitude extends far beyond family, former teachers and former students. My life has been shaped and forever changed in this dance world by the teachers I worked with at my 1st dance teaching job (Tabby, Lisa, Jill, Chris, Jody, Amy & Deb). I cannot thank Peggy and the Kimberly School District enough, for their help in shaping Footworks Dance Company. Without them, I could not have started the studio as it is known today. Kathy Hansen, has been an angel to me. The year I opened the studio, my mom was to be my “right hand” helper and she was my best friend. She was to take care of all the administration while I taught classes. A few weeks after we opened our doors, my mom was tragically diagnosed with a glio-blastoma brain tumor and died 7 weeks later. Without question and without any expectation of pay, a beautiful woman and life-long friend of my mom’s stepped in. She was Kathy Hansen, who also brought her daughter Nicole in to help. Nicole (and myself), over those first years, recruited a friend, Terri, into this mix as well. They are all working at the studio to this day. Steve Leitermann and Chad Smith (Nicole and Terri’s husbands) have voluntarily done too many projects to name over the years, to keep our studio going. I thank you all, from the deepest depths of my heart. YOU HAVE ALL POSITIVELY CHANGED SO MANY LIVES.
Before our dancers perform, I tell them “love you, you will be great”. I tell them things like “I believe in you”. “be confident, show everyone what I see”. “each performance is about being better than last time, don’t worry about everyone else”. When they watch an amazing dancer performing before them, and I see the fear and lack of confidence building, I say “they are not you, only you can be you, and your style is not the same”. I say these words out of pure love for our dancers.
We are a national award-winning studio with our competition companies. We have come onto to such successes by building character and confidence first. No trophy or accolade could replace the true value of creating kids ready to take on the adult world, with the confidence to make their difference in “their calling. I wish to help create kids with a philosophy of “paying it forward” and the skills to achieve their dreams. We work to teach our dancers to step outside of their comfort zone, for here is where you find true growth. We work to teach our dancer’s that their true success in dance will be in “finding themselves” and their own style (not to mimic someone else). We let our dancers know we believe in them. Through this, we can then work on technique. Our goal is to build a dancer far beyond athleticism, to one filled with creativity and artistic freedom. This does not happen overnight, it is an ongoing process. Our program is built to have our dancers graduate as artists with ability to change lives, create, imagine, choreograph and lead the next generation, in whatever career avenue they choose to pursue.
When you walk through our doors, we are here for you (students and parents). You may walk in wanting a dance class, but what we truly offer is far more than a dance class. We are a “family” on a mission to make the world a little better place, by shaping kids into amazing human beings and dance is the means to do that. We are a group of people with our own stories and life experiences and imperfections and human qualities wishing to make your kids the absolute best they can be! I can assure you that if your child is in need, between myself and my staff, we will do everything in our power to help them on their lives journey. Myself and my staff wish to share in your joys and successes far beyond graduation. The phrase “it takes a village” is true of Footworks Dance Company, from one generation to the next.
We welcome you into the very special dance world of “Footworks Dance Company” and our forever story.
Kim Mader, Footworks Dance Company Director