Dance, dance, dance

When Jessica Perkins put on her first pair of tap shoes, she knew she had found her calling.Posted Jan. 9, 2014


Jessica Dexter
Jessica Perkins



Record Editor


When Jessica Perkins put on her first pair of tap shoes, she knew she had found her calling.

“I was trained in tap and jazz when I was young,” she said. “As a teenager, I loved tap the most, and couldn’t decided between studying dance full time in college or going into the Navy.”

The desire to travel won out and Perkins enlisted but that didn’t stop her love of dance.

While stationed in Italy, she was able to further her experience and training by studying Latin and ballroom dancing.

“I was never really drawn to ballet, though I did study it for awhile,” she said. After completing her time in the Navy, she continued to travel, went to college, had various jobs then finally settled down with her husband Sean and they had two sons.

When her oldest son was a preschooler, they were living in Sioux Falls where there are plenty of quality dance studios available; she “naturally enrolled him in dance class.”

After moving to a small town in Wyoming, there were no dance programs at all.

“I coordinated with a Rapid City teacher to travel out on weekends and provide dance lessons,” said Perkins. “Families flocked to it!”

The program continued to grow when she partnered with another mom, who had also been a dancer, and started a new studio.

“The whole experience was a fulfilling of my early dreams!” said Perkins. “I had never desired to be a competitive, professional dancer, only to teach.” She and her partner started their dance program seven years ago and it is still going strong.


Family roots

Perkins’ family is originally from the Reeder area. “I have met a lot of people who know my great grandparents (The Sacks). My mom moved back some years ago for my two youngest siblings to finish high school.”

She came out for a two-week visit and hasn’t left yet. “We just fell in love with the area,” she said.

“When my family moved to Hettinger over the summer, I had no solid plans to offer tap classes,” she said.

After asking around, however, she was surprised at how many people were enthusiastic about the idea and she is lucky enough to have another chance at her dream now that she has moved to Hettinger.

Studio Rhythm was born. Registration and classes will be held at Fried’s Photography building downtown Hettinger.

“I am going to offer classes from 6 months (a Mommy and Me class) through a ‘Nana Class,’” said Perkins.

Each individual group will have its own name, such as Wee Tippie Tappers for 4-5 year-olds, instead of just by age.

“I think it will give them more of an identity,” she said.

Registration days will be Friday, Jan. 10 from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. If there is enough interest with homeschoolers, she will also offer day classes, she said.