When Taryn Winter finished her duties as coach of the She Devils, the dance team at Wayne High School, she thought her days in dance were done.
Winter graduated from Wayne State College in May and returned to her home state of Minnesota to being work for a Minneapolis-based staffing corporation that recruited employees for big corporations.
A month later – she discovered that the dog-eat-dog, 9-to-5 corporate world wasn’t for her, and took on a new calling that, in reality, was an old passion.
“I worked in Minneapolis for two months and discovered that really wasn’t for me at all,” she said during a break between registration sessions for her new business, Wayne Dance Company.
Not long after this discovery, she began receiving messages from people back in Wayne, asking if she had any interest in starting up her own dance studio.
“I got a couple of texts from some moms here asking if I was sure I couldn’t start a studio,” she said. “I didn’t know if it was possible for me to make my career around dance and I didn’t think it was possible.”
She soon discovered otherwise.
She posted a note on a Facebook page asking if there was any interest, and was quickly bombarded with more than 200 comments and 30 messages from people who were more than interested, giving her the push she needed to start up her company and find space in the meeting area at Miss Molly’s Coffee Shop in downtown Wayne to conduct her classes, which begin Sept. 11.
“I got all that positive feedback from that Facebook post, and it showed me there was a need and I thought I could fill it,” she said, adding that she contacted just about everybody in Wayne who she knew to help her get the ball rolling.
“I made about every connection I possibly had made and got some help from Wayne Economic Development to get it going,” she said.
She also called upon some of her team members from the She Devils dance team to help her out with teaching, including Hallie Chinn, Alyssa Chinn, Maddie Beair, Emma Walling and Gabby Miller.
“I went with what I knew, which was my dancers,” she said. “Hallie and Alyssa were great teachers for Miss Linda’s studio and they’re all current She Devils that I coached last year, so I know them well and know they work well with kids and are talented dancers.”
Winter said the Wayne Dance Company will offer tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and hip-hop dance lessons to students of all ages. She is even offering dance classes for adults, with sessions taking place in the back of Miss Molly’s Mondays through Thursdays.
“There will be a strong emphasis on ballet, because that’s really the core of all types of dance and you need that to be successful at any other dance,” she said. “My boyfriend, Kyle Thompson, is helping make balance bars that we’ll be putting in for our ballet lessons.”
Using the back room at Miss Molly’s, Winter said, will be a great partnership for both businesses.
“I’d looked at a number of places, which really was the most stressful part, and there were a couple of buildings that were great but the rent wasn’t something I could afford right now,” she said. “With this being a start-up, this is a great partnership and (Miss Molly’s) will be open for the parents while I’m teaching so they can get a cup of coffee.”
It’s quite a turnaround for somebody who had assumed her speech and communications degree from Wayne State would lead her to a corporate gig in the big city.
“This isn’t what society wanted me to do when I graduated,” she said. “I was supposed to just get a corporate job and work there, but in all honesty I’m using my degree more here than I ever did in my other job. Teaching at the YMCA back home and coaching here led me to this and gave me the confidence that I could do it.”
And doing it in a community that called her back is just the icing on the cake.
“There’s something about Wayne that just embraced me and embraced this from the start,” she said. “I couldn’t do it without them.”