by Leanne Loy
Despite being a new a business and making it through a pandemic, Studio B, a dance studio in Sartell, is moving to a larger location – the old police station in Sartell.
Studio B has been a part of the Sartell area for the past two years. Owner and founder Catie Bunde has been teaching dance for more than 23 years. She was inspired by some of her students’ parents to start her own studio.
“I was an adjunct dance instructor at St. Cloud State University for eight years,” Catie said. “I loved it, but when they made all the cuts, our program was one of them.”
Catie and her husband, Charlie Bunde, are passionate about their community and what they can provide not just for their students but for all the people in the city.
“It wasn’t easy making it,” Catie said, reflecting on the last year’s pandemic.
“But we were doing zoom classes and I was the only instructor for a while, so I didn’t have other teachers I had to pay, and the city gave us a grant as well,” she said.
That grant was unexpected, but the Bundes were so grateful.
“The city of Sartell was really good at going around to all the businesses,” said Charlie. “That’s how we met the city administrator, Anna Gruber. She was delighted to help all the small businesses, and we didn’t even realize that was coming our direction, and that was a lifesaver.”
The help from the city and the studio’s devoted following is what kept Studio B afloat during all those difficult times. Now, class sizes are rising and interest is growing.
“Last summer it just exploded again,” Catie said. “The competition groups went from five competition classes to 25.”
As for the building itself? Well, first and foremost the large garage doors on the side will be staying. In the warmer months those doors can be opened to let in the light and the cool breezes.
“We are leaving the industrial look and feel,” Catie said. “Kind of like our other studio, but here the ceilings will be higher.”
They will be going from one studio to three studios. Currently, classes run all day to accommodate the needs of the students. Having more studios will give families more opportunities to join classes to suit their schedules.
“We will be able to accommodate better times for different age groups of people and parents,” Charlie said.
The Bundes are hoping for a fall opening.
“Labor Day was our original goal,” Charlie said, “but things got pushed backed when we couldn’t get supplies and materials.”
They’ve been told an October opening is likely, but they wouldn’t mind if it came a little sooner.
“A lot of the classes we have start in September at the other studio,“ Catie said. “We’ll keep [them] the same day and time for a lot of the classes so as we transition it’s not a whole new [schedule] for families to remember.”
Studio B is about a lot more than dancing. Students, especially the younger ones, will be taught other lifelong lessons as well.
“The thing we are hoping with our dancers,” Catie said, “is just to continue to promote not just a quality dancer but a quality person.”
“So those little lessons,” Charlie added, “(are) like being polite, opening the door, saying thank you, looking people in the eye, shaking people’s hands.”
Those lessons will also be taught in the studio. As a retired police officer and military man, those social skills are what he was taught, and both he and Catie believe they are valuable.
Catie also shares her own struggles as a dancer with her students in the hopes that it shows them how hard work can pay off.
“The first time I tried out for the dance team in high school I didn’t make it,” Catie said.
She was in eighth grade about to enter ninth grade. People always told her she was a great dancer so she felt like she would have no problem making the team. Not getting in that year changed her perspective and lit a fire in her.
“I wanted it, so I worked my butt off to train a little harder,” Catie said. “And then the next year, I made it. By my senior year I was the captain and we won state for high kick.”
Students of Studio B will get a well-rounded experience. Those lessons will all be worth it, but it will take time to obtain them, and that’s the purpose.
“A lot of what we see is that kids get instant gratification nowadays,” Catie said. “We forget how hard we have to work for something. We are trying to instill goals in our dancers, especially with our competition dancers.”
Catie said she remembers a time when journaling really helped her out and now she shares that with her students.
“We sit them down and give them a notebook and have them write down personal goals and team goals for the year,” Catie said.
The idea is that students will look back on these goals and see how far they’ve come.
“It takes a village,” Catie said.
And that goes for herself as well. The support she gets from husband Charlie is what one would hope for in any marriage. They push each other out of their comfort zones to help each other reach their goals.
“I wouldn’t be able to do this without Charlie,” Catie said. “I don’t think I would have been brave enough to do this without him. He couldn’t have done this without me, either.”
They are a team through and through, and that bonding attitude is built into the lessons students will learn at Studio B.
Studio B is open for any person, age and experience.
“We have ladies that come here in their 70s tap-dancing, and they are killing it,” the Bundes said.
You can find more information about classes and schedules on the Studio B website at: https://www.studiobmoved.com/