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Waukesha North grad celebrates fifth year at Liberty Dance Center

Moody has expanded business since opening

Dec. 17, 2013

City of Waukesha — It's all in the family at Liberty Dance Center. Waukesha North graduate Kate Moody opened the center five years ago, and the momentum hasn't stopped for her business, which has its foundation in family.

"We have a great staff, and my parents help a lot. We are a very tight-knit group here, and I think that rubs off on all our families. We try to have a family vibe here," she said, adding that her dad takes a lot of pride in working the counter and learning each individual's name whether it's a dancer, parent or sibling — it's all about the family feel.

In the last five years, Liberty Dance has doubled its space at its Travis Lane facility from 1,200 to 2,400 square feet. And over the Christmas break, Moody and her family won't have much time to rest and dream of the dance of the sugar plum fairies. They will be working on expanding a little bit more. Moody explained that this expansion is to help the families who spend a good chunk of time at the center — especially students who are there from school's end to after dinner. The space will provide a place for people to relax when they're not on the dance floor.

"We are not adding any more dance rooms, just amenities. We will create a lounge area and a bigger lobby with a reading chairs and a study desk. We are excited for that. It will be a little nicer for them," she said.

Moody said that once the center's most-recent expansion is complete, she'll be happy to stay put — at least for a while. She seems most happy when she's moving and grooving, whether on or off the dance floor.

Moody has been performing and studying dance for more than 25 years. She holds a bachelor's degree in dance from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she graduated magna cum laude in 2003. She was a Universal Dance Association instructor in the Philadelphia area.

Upon her return to Waukesha, she was a full-time dance teacher and headed a competition team, commuting to West Bend. Her choreography and dancers have won numerous awards at regional competitions.

In addition to opening the studio within the last five years, Moody has become a mother to two boys, who stay with her at the studio as her mother helps her watch them so she can teach.

While Liberty Dance Center has a competitive team, a bigger part of the center is not only teaching dance, but self-esteem, respect and confidence.

"I've always told parents and staff (who) we are hiring, I know 90 percent of students won't go on to dance professionally. Some may not dance past sixth grade, but there's so much they can learn, and that's what feeds us.

"We are here because we love to dance," she said.

That's why Moody even offers the third family member free at Liberty Dance, which has moms taking dance classes, too. "Some have never danced, and some have. But more importantly, it's a bonding experience between mothers and daughters, and that's another really cool thing to see," she said.

The family-style formula continues to be a success. Moody said about 40 of the families that joined when she opened five years ago are still part of Liberty Dance. Moody teaches along with four others and says she's happy with where they are today.

"We're very tight knit. We all came to this from different parts of our lives, but today we all support each other here," she said.

They also have become a support system for their students.

"These kids have so much going on. There is a lot of pressure at school, so it's nice they can come here, and they love to be here. Some of them see us more than they see their parents so we become mentors for the kids, and that's a very important aspect," Moody said.

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