PROPHETSTOWN – The small group of 5-year-old ballet dancers stood ready, poised for their next moves as piano music came through the speakers.
With grace and ease, instructor Colleen Kosier led her class through their warm-up poses before the evening’s lesson began. With each instruction, the girls twirled in their tutus and tights, echoing Kosier’s movements.
Determination and focus showed in their faces, as they worked to move in unison while keeping the beat.
At the Prophetstown Dance Company, 350 Washington St., the music played on this past year despite the pandemic.
Kosier has been in the dance studio business for 40 years, so she was better prepared for the challenges of 2020. She had a large studio in Sterling for 34 until 2014, when she sold the building and moved to a smaller studio in Prophetstown.
Since then, she has continued her passion for dancing and teaching, drawing in children from across the region for nightly and weekly classes.
A mirrored wall, dancer’s bars, tumbling mats, dance accessories, and dressing rooms create a comfortable atmosphere. Kosier teaches various ages and styles, including ballet, jazz, tap, Irish step, Scottish sword, and clogging.
By keeping up with state and county COVID protocols – social distancing, mask-wearing, and sanitation measures – Kosier has been able to keep the studio afloat and the children dancing.
“The parents and dancers have been wonderful, following all the rules in order to keep everyone safe and our studio open,” she said, adding that many parents have opted to drop off their kids instead of remaining in the studio to watch.
“The dance studio has received wonderful support from Prophetstown. It has kept our doors open and smiles on so many little faces.”
Kosier has an extensive dance career in performance, competition, and as a dance instructor and choreographer. Her students have taken top honors in regional and national dance competitions, and she’s won numerous top teacher and choreography awards. She’s choreographed 14 high school and community theater musicals.
Dance has allowed her to travel all over the United States as a competition judge, and it’s allowed her and her family to perform, compete and accompany dance teams, including five performances at Walt Disney World, and to travel across Ireland for 8 days, performing with the Celtic band Switchback.
Kosier lives in Sterling with her husband, Keith; they have five grown children and 10 grandchildren.
“My whole family has been involved in our dance studio as students, teachers, and office personnel, and have allowed me the time to do what I love.”
Like in year’s past, she is planning a St. Patrick’s performance in March for all classes, with special performances by the Irish Dance Team. Details are still being worked out, and the audience may be restricted according to state rules for gatherings.
Why teach dance? “Not because I expect the students to major in dance, not because I expect the students to dance all their life; but so they will recognize beauty, so they will be sensitive, so they will be closer to an infinite beyond this world, so they will have something to cling to, so they will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good ... In short, more life,” she said, quoting an unknown author.
In her own words: “We want our dancers to experience the joy of this art form that we love so much.”
Go to prophetstowndance.com or call 815-626-8558 for more information.