Zenon dancers establish youth program in Kingfield

The Zenon Dance Company will take over the dance program at the Center For Performing Arts, a privately owned Kingfield building where 24 artists, including piano teachers, actors, painters, costume designers and writers rent studio space.

While Zenon’s main office will remain downtown at the Hennepin Center for the Arts, they will establish a youth program at the 3754 Pleasant Ave. S. location that is easier to get to for parents.

"We were looking for a satellite location because we knew that parents were not going to drag their kids Downtown through rush-hour traffic and parking hassles so they could take a one-hour dance class, " said Ann Willemssen, Zenon’s managing director. "It’s a perfect fit. They already have a beautiful studio with mirrors and bars; it is ready to go."

Jackie Hayes, who has owned and managed the center since 1995, said her building is a place where people from different artistic disciplines intersect with each other while doing their own thing.

Hayes thinks Zenon is a good fit. She was handling the registration, hiring the teachers and doing promotion for the site’s current dance company, Young Dance. Not a dancer by trade, Hayes said she was looking for an existing organization to run the CFPA dance program and make it grow when Willemssen unexpectedly called her looking for space.

"Originally, Zenon was just going to do their modern dance," Hayes said. "I encouraged them to bring their whole [youth] program here."

Zenon plans to start classes by Sept. 15. They will offer classes in hip-hop, jazz and modern dance. They are hoping to attract 75 kids to their 14-week classes, which cost $140.