The old brick Masonic Block building on Mill St. is one of the oldest structures in town, dating back to just after the great 1885 fire leveled most of the wooden buildings in town.

This month, the upper floor became the new home to the Redwood Dance Center, owned and operated by Ramona Larson.

“It’s one of the oldest buildings in town, but it’s in great shape,” Larson said.

Larson, who has taught dance in Redwood Falls for the past 23 years, currently teaches a dozen weekly classes, with approximately 100 students ranging from three years old through high school seniors.

However, having her own space makes it possible for her to add classes for other age groups.

“I was able to put in a whole wall of mirrors, and we’re dancing on wooden floors, which are much healthier to move on,” she said.

 

The old brick Masonic Block building on Mill St. is one of the oldest structures in town, dating back to just after the great 1885 fire leveled most of the wooden buildings in town. Since then, the Masonic Block building has housed dozens of businesses, from grocery stores to credit unions. This month, the upper floor became the new home to the Redwood Dance Center, owned and operated by Ramona Larson. “It’s one of the oldest buildings in town, but it’s in great shape,” Larson said. Larson, who has taught dance in Redwood Falls for the past 23 years, currently teaches a dozen weekly classes, with approximately 100 students ranging from three years old through high school seniors. However, having her own space makes it possible for her to add classes for other age groups. “In my old space, I was huffing equipment around all the time,” she said. “Having my own space means I can keep a lot of my materials and props here, ready to use at any time.” Having her own space also helped Larson make modifications benefitting the dancers. “I was able to put in a whole wall of mirrors, and we’re dancing on wooden floors, which are much healthier to move on,” she said. “Having my own space also helps with scheduling. I’ll be teaching a ballroom dancing class for adults for the second year.” Larson, who choreographs the annual “Dancing with the Stars” Relay for Life fundraiser, said demand for a ballroom dancing class picked up when the fundraiser did. “I’m also starting a new class called ‘Dancing Divas’ for all women out of high school,”?Larson said. “It’s for women interesting in having a fun time, and trying new dance forms.” Larson also wants to add new, non-dance activities. “Now that I have the space, I’d like to do arts-related classes and workshops,” she said, suggesting she is looking into bringing in teachers to do one-day  workshops in painting, photography, and sculpture.  Musical theater classes for children, and “book arts” such as writing and poetry are also coming, she said. “When I was a girl I loved dance, but there weren’t many opportunities where I was growing up,” she said. “I did the best I could with cheerleading and sports.” Larson has taught dance since she was in college in the 1980s. “I started fitness classes when I moved to Redwood Falls 24 years ago. And this year will be my 23rd annual recital,” she said. Starting this month, the upstairs studio is being used almost every day already.  “I teach dance on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, while on weekends I do individual work with the senior high soloists,” Larson said. In addition, Rich Seavert’s Tae Kwon Doh classes have moved into the studio on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Larson had to remodel the building slightly, adding an entrance for students in the back so they don’t disturb the new wellness center on the ground floor. “The new location is also convenient for parents — they can be downtown shopping while their kids take lessons,” Larson said.