Dance studio unfolding in Hettinger

The Hettinger Armory has seen some improvements over the past several months, which has included a new conference room and renovations to the entrance and adjacent hallway.

New wood flooring was recently installed in the dance studio at the Armory. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Record)
New wood flooring was recently installed in the dance studio at the Armory. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Record)

By COLE BENZ
Record Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The Hettinger Armory has seen some improvements over the past several months, which has included a new conference room and renovations to the entrance and adjacent hallway. But the biggest change the building has seen to date is thanks in part to Jess Coreau and her budding business, Studio Rhythm.

After parents had expressed interest in sending their kids to dance classes, Coreau decided to open her business four years ago. She began in the Friedt Photography building and would host classes at that location for the first year and a half.

But the owners wanted to put the building on the market, and Coreau knew she wasn’t going to purchase it. So she ventured out and found a new location, the Armory.

She was a little hesitant about the armory at first, but after having to explore other locations and attending a few of the special city council meetings, Coreau sees what they are trying to do with the building.

“Now I see what their vision overall is for the Armory,” Coreau said. “I went to a couple of the Armory development meetings and I saw more of the vision and I felt [the studio] could help that and it could help me.”

The space she occupies has been drastically changed from its original layout, and its former purpose is quite different than a dance studio; it used to house weapons when the military was active in Hettinger.

According to Coreau, the now single room was once divided into three rooms. It had two doors and divided windows for soldiers to check items in and out.

Exposed concrete walls have been covered up partly by wood paneling, with two of the walls framed and ready to hang professional dance mirrors.

New wood flooring was installed last week and Coreau said she will have standard, two-level professional ballet bars in the studio.

The partnership between the Armory’s future and Coreau’s endeavor seems to be a good match. Through meetings the past year, the Hettinger Armory Task Force has decided they will repurpose the building as a wellness center, and Coreau is hoping to align her dance studio with what the vision is for the future of the armory.

“Wellness, and the Armory, it just fits,” Coreau said. “It totally fits, we could really help each other.”

Coreau has grown her studio to nearly 75 students in Hettinger. Her season runs during the school year with individual dance camps during the summer, but she’s hoping to expand in the future. She would like to see someone come and teach ballet, and has even reached out to an individual about offering a tumbling class in the newly renovated space.

“I’ve talked to a lady about offering tumbling with the studio, and just expand the program,” Coreau said.

When she moved to the area she quickly noticed that Hettinger is a thriving town, and she wants to be a part of that movement to keep the community moving forward, because she thinks the town deserves it.

“It’s just such a great town that it deserves everybody [pitching] in I think,” Coreau said. “And everybody [to] give what they can.”