Thelen Finds “Rare Opportunity” at Holdrege Dance Studio
27 Apr 2022
The pandemic created a chance opportunity for Wood River native Mady Thelen to purchase a local dance studio and become a small-town entrepreneur.
Mady graduated from Wood River High School nine years ago and then earned a bachelor’s degree in dance (with a minor in agricultural entrepreneurship) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
After graduation, she moved to Kansas City to pursue a professional dance career. She became a member of City in Motion and performed with other companies and projects around the city. She also taught at multiple dance and fitness studios where she became certified in different teaching styles and classes.
But, during the COVID pandemic, her city dancing career came to a halt.
She moved temporarily to Holdrege to stay with her sister, Dr. Kathryn Thelen, and her family and “fell in love with the town.” While here, she learned about an opportunity to purchase a dance studio and open up her own business.
“This was an opportunity that would be extremely rare to receive in Kansas City,” Mady said.
She decided to pursue the opportunity and opened MomenTum Dance Academy where she now offers dance classes for children ages 2-18, including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and lyrical. She also offers adult fitness classes including barre, HIIT, and strength and stretch classes.
She has students from Holdrege and as far away as Elwood, Alma, Minden, and towns in between.
“I have been fortunate enough to have around 100 students this year,” Mady said. “My goal is to have a bigger studio with multiple classrooms and a separate fitness studio for the parents to work out during their kids' dance classes. I am also hoping to start a senior fitness program in the fall of 2022 during the daytime hours.”
PCDC awarded Mady a digital development grant to help her launch her business website and digital presence.
“I have found that the people in Holdrege want small businesses to do well,” Mady said. “They want to keep their money within the town and with the cost of living in a small town vs. city, it has been more profitable than it would be there. With this being my first time as a business owner, the families have been patient with me when I have been navigating this new role, and I am so thankful for that.”
While some may think there’s not much to do in a small town for twenty-somethings, Mady disagrees.
“We are so lucky to have the Speakeasy so close,” she said. “My out-of-town friends always come out to stay and go to dinner there. I also love being so close to Johnson Lake for those summer evenings. I plan on becoming a member at the golf course and getting a group together a couple of times a week.”
Her favorite part of living in Holdrege is watching her niece grow up and being her dance teacher.
“I am no longer ‘Aunt Mady’... Just ‘Miss Mady,’ she said. “I would encourage others to consider moving to Phelps County to be a part of a caring community filled with people who want to support one another.”