Miss Linda's Dance Studio in Great Falls has been around for nearly a half century, but the past few months have been unlike anything owner Linda Fuller and her daughter and business manager Shannon Hudson have experienced.
"It's been a challenge, but it's been exciting actually. We...had to think outside the box and come at things from a different approach,” Fuller said.
The list of things the studio has done over the past several months to stay open goes on and on, including rearranging items, installing new floors, and adding hand sanitizers.
"Often, as you redo the kitchen, you're like, 'Well, then we should just kind of do this dining room and then we should do the bedroom.' Then, suddenly you're revamping everything, which was great. It gave it a new look, it gave us the ability to keep it cleaner more easily and that was a clear priority with the new circumstances,” Hudson explained.
The teaching has also changed. "The students are coming in with different needs. Yes, they're wanting to do a lot, but they're also having to process a lot. So how can we honor that? Ask questions. 'How are you doing today, what's been going on?’” Said Hudson. "Every studio has a large screen, we've got new Wifi set up so that classes are taught in-person and also online on Zoom at the same time."
Through it all, the kids the studio serves have been the biggest motivation: "For some of them, this is their second home. Also, they need the physical activity and the mental activity that's involved with dance. So with school opening and closing and different situations and having to stay home, this way they had a place to come that they knew they would be welcome and that they would have a good time,” Fuller said.
A good time in a time that may seem anything but.