After 26 years in Eden Prairie, the Prairie School of Dance (PSOD) studios are moving across the border to Chanhassen. Classes begin this week at the new location just west of the intersection of Dell Road and Highway 5.
“It was a long-term goal for us to consolidate all of our studios into one place,” said Sarah Steichen Stiles, owner and executive director of PSOD. A construction project at Grace Church in Eden Prairie that meant PSOD would be unable to use its studios at that location accelerated the search for a new space.
Founded in 1997 by Sarah Linner Quie, Prairie School of Dance has provided dance instruction at studios at Eden Prairie’s Prairie Lutheran Church for the past 26 years. Fourteen years ago, they added a second studio location at Grace Church. PSOD has had two dance studios at each Eden Prairie location. “We are continuing our relationship with the two churches that we are involved in, but we will just be offering our primary classes at our new spot,” Steichen Stiles said.
The new Dell Five Studio at 18946 Lake Drive E., Chanhassen, is a 10,000-square-foot building that formerly housed an IT company. PSOD’s classes are starting a bit later than usual this school year, on Sept. 21, due to the construction needed to transform the space.
“A lot of offices had to come down to create the open studio spaces,” Steichen Stiles said. “We provided ourselves with a few more weeks to get construction finished because we did not find a space to finish signing a lease til mid-June. Our contractor said it was a three-month project; by the time we got permits, we were squeezing it into two months.”
New studios offer more space, include a bit of the old
The Dell Five Studio has over 6,500 square feet of dancing space, in four studios. “We’re not losing any studio space than what we currently have, which is incredible considering that one of of our studios now at Prairie Lutheran Church is the former sanctuary, so I felt like there’s no way we could ever compete with this beautiful great hall space with the vaulted ceilings,” Steichen Stiles said. “We’ve wanted to find something that feels really life-giving and natural and inspirational, and so finding natural light was a really important thing for me.”
At the Dell Five location, three walls have windows, providing natural light to every studio. Each studio also has a viewing window for parents to watch their students dance. Steichen Stiles noted that all of the studios are fully fitted, with barres, mirrors and professionally strung floors. Flooring includes a sprung floor, which is raised and absorbent, and Marley flooring, a performance vinyl dance flooring.
Some of both types of flooring were removed from the Grace Church studios and transported to the new location this summer. Erin Wong and her daughter Mikayla, a PSOD dancer, were among the families that volunteered to help with that project. “It was bittersweet,” Erin Wong said. “You’re moving to a new place but bringing an old piece of the old place to the new place. It’s kind of sentimental, I guess.”
Steichen Stiles noted that the Dell Five Studio’s corner location also provides ample parking for families. PSOD plans a dancer lounge and a dedicated spot for the school’s retail store, as opposed to having merchandise on rolling carts, as it has done at the Eden Prairie locations. A family area for waiting parents will have charging stations.
“I think a lot of the families and students are really excited” about the new space, Steichen Stiles said. “When we announced it, within 30 minutes we were getting emails and texts of photos of people in front of the space.”
Erin Wong, whose two daughters, 13-year-old eighth grader Mikayla and 11-year-old sixth grader Amalie, have been taking classes at PSOD for eight years, commented, “I think it’ll be more convenient for families to have one dropoff and one pickup. I know with two girls in the program at different times and different locations, I was driving all over the place. We love the school, so we were willing to do that, but it’s just really nice to know that they’re going to have everything in one place.”
Mikayla Wong, a PSOD dancer enrolled in ballet, jazz, tap, sacred dance and pointe, commented, “It’s kind of sad that we’re leaving the studios, because I’ve known both studios since I started at PSOD, but it’s kind of exciting to start a new place.” Amalie Wong, who also takes classes in jazz, tap, sacred dance, ballet and pointe, added, “I thought it was cool that we’ll have more dance areas.”
“There have been so many wonderful opportunities being inside a shared space; however, I think there’s pride for dancers about where they train,” Steichen Stiles said. Overall, I would say the response is a lot of enthusiasm.”
Maintaining ties to Eden Prairie church locations
PSOD’s move to a dedicated space provides opportunities that expand beyond the limitations of a shared space: the school previously couldn’t offer Wednesday evening classes at Prairie Lutheran Church, as it conflicted with church activities, and did not have access to Grace Church on Fridays. teichen Stiles notes, however, that the school will still be maintaining ties to its previous studio locations.
PSOD will teach classes in Grace Church’s gym in conjunction with the church’s Funshine Preschool and also offer “dance with a caregiver” classes for ages 18 months and up at Prairie Lutheran.
“We’ll continue to still have our recreational Christmas shows at Prairie Lutheran Church and our performing arts Christmas show production at Grace Church the first weekend of December,” she said. We want to also keep some familiarity for our families, too, because the program isn’t changing, it’s just a new space.”
Prairie School of Dance enrolls about 450 dancers from ages 18 months through high school seniors in two tracks: recreational dance, which is open to all, and the audition-based performing arts program. tudents in the performing arts program will have the first official classes in the new studio on Thursday, Sept. 21.
“We have a lot of gratitude for where we’ve been, and we’re excited about what’s to come,” Steichen Stiles said.
Although there are possibilities of expanding the program to additional offerings in the future, “Right now to be honest, a lot of the energy is just making sure we get the space up and running,” she said.
Steichen Stiles became executive director of PSOD in 2021 when founder Sarah Linner Quie wanted to take a step back after her husband, Pastor Joel Quie, retired from Prairie Lutheran Church in June of that year. he following year, Steichen Stiles purchased the business. It’s actually funny, the same day, on June 16, 2022, is the day I signed for the business and on June 16, 2023, I signed the lease for our new space at Dell and 5,” Steichen Stiles said. don’t know what’s coming June 16, 2024.”
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