Women Mean Business: ‘It’s been a really, really wild ride’

McClane Archer, Journal intern
Dynamic Cheer and Dance owner Tracy Kuhn. Submitted photos
Tracy Kuhn is pictured with her family, husband, Brad, daughter Alyssa and son, Tayler. 

Tracy is pictured a DX Champion team from her studio, Dynamic Cheer and Dance in Brandon. Kuhn has seen hundreds of kids grow up in the studio, including her daughter, Alissa, who recently graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in dance.

Kuhn was born to dance, cheer and teach

The beauty of her job is that it changes every day, and that’s what has kept Dynamic Cheer & Dance owner Tracy Kuhn up – sometimes all night – and running in her 18 years of operating the dance and cheer studio and 16 years of coaching Brandon Valley High School dance.
“Every day is different, every season is different. The summertime is different from the fall time, the fall time is different from the wintertime,” she says. “Starting mid-July all the way through the end of October, I don’t remember the days. I barely get any sleep and it’s an emotional rollercoaster. I’m happy and I’m anxious, never sad, but always just very, very eager for things to go smoothly.”
Kuhn opened Dynamic’s doors in 2002, after leaving an eight-year career at Wells Fargo in Sioux Falls. 
“I would never go back to the banking world. That side of my brain does not work as well as my creative side,” she admits.
The former University of South Dakota cheerleader was inspired to open her own studio after her 3-year-old daughter, Alissa, got involved in a dance program Kuhn believed could be better organized.
“It motivated me to do my own thing because I knew I could do better,” Kuhn says. “I started this business by having a meeting at the Pizza Ranch and a lot of interested families came. There wasn’t a lot of opportunities for dance, or cheerleading, or tumbling in the community.”
Dynamic started out with performance teams, and has gradually been adding more and more classes and programs through the years. They now offer classes for adults, including Zumba and Insanity.
“We specialize in kids but now offer a variety. Performance teams isn’t just what we do anymore,” Kuhn says. “And that’s what’s great about it, there is a little something for all of the different interests. It’s not just dancing, we now have tumbling and cheerleading.”
Dynamic typically employs about 10 instructors, most of which have careers outside of the studio and come in once or twice a week to teach a lesson. 
“We only hire experienced teachers, for the most part,” Kuhn says. “They do it as a hobby and because it’s a passion of theirs.”
Kuhn’s own passion for dancing started when she was 3 years old when her mother signed the Jefferson, S.D., native up for dance classes, and she has been dancing ever since.
“I don’t think I could ever take dance completely out of my life. It sounds cheesy but it’s something that I love to watch, I love to do, I love to just be a part of, making decisions for,” she says. “I love the creativity, I love the way it makes people feel. There’s so many different aspects of dance that’s it’s beneficial for heart and soul.”
Kuhn says her mother also got her younger sister, Melissa, involved in dance and “we just grew up dancing together and kept dancing.” Now, they both own their own studios and both coach high school dance teams. Melissa coaches for Dakota Valley High School and runs 5678 Dance Studio in North Sioux City, S.D.
“My sister and I really are mentors for each other. We bounce ideas off each other. We have similar situations, similar challenges with our jobs,” Kuhn says. “Even with all of the challenges, we have a lot of rewarding moments as well. We do a lot of celebrating together and a lot of brainstorming together.”
One of the most rewarding aspects of her career is instilling self-confidence in the kids who come through the studio. 
“Self-confidence is one of the most important things for kids in school, and in sports, and in activities, and we see a lot of kids just grow through the years,” she says. “We’ve had special needs kids come through, kids with learning disabilities in which it really is beneficial for their growth in all of the areas as they progress. So, that’s really what we focus on.”
Kuhn has seen hundreds of kids grow up in the studio, including her own daughter, Alissa. Alissa recently graduated from University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in dance and was hired for a full-time performance job on the Las Vegas strip. Her first time performing in “Celestia” – a 70-minute circus inspired performance presented in a 30,000 square-foot theatrical tent – took place a week ago. 
“We’re super excited for her,” Kuhn gushes. “It’s a small town, so any time someone leaves town and goes and does something big, it’s an exciting thing.”
Dancing must run in the bloodline.
“It was my passion, but it turned into her love and passion,” Kuhn says. “It wasn’t anything I ever pushed upon her, she made all of the decisions for herself. She really, really just loves to dance and loves to perform.”
Kuhn wishes she could’ve been there for her daughter’s performance, but duty calls. This time of year is especially busy for the dance coach and teacher. Fall classes start after Labor Day and are in the preparation phase right now, as well as all of the high school and studio performance and competition teams preparing for their season.
“This time of the year we have choreographers coming into town to work with teams,” Kuhn says. “So, that takes up a lot of my days, too. I will have 13 days straight with a professional in town. And so, just the duties of, you know, transporting them and making sure they have meals and are taken care of is just a task in itself.”
She admits she doesn’t get a lot of free time.
“Mainly, I like to do a lot of nothing when I have free time because I’m on the go all the time,” she says. “But I have two dogs I love to spend time with and a husband.”
Kuhn was able to spare a moment of advice to any fellow female entrepreneurs. She says you must be self-motivated, independent, and patient to start your own business as a woman. Oh, and have a strong back-bone.
“Courage would be another word that comes to mind because there’s a lot of scary things that come with owning your own business, whether you’re a woman or not,” she says.
“It’s been a really, really, really wild ride,” Kuhn summarized. “and I’m sure it will continue to be that way.”


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