Footnotes Studio of Dance is dancing into their 20th season

Footnotes founder and owner Stephanie Ferrian was still attending UMN Morris when the idea of owning her own studio was born. She was active in Dance Ensemble, and felt that she had a list of too many songs floating around in her head that she wanted to create to, and felt that meant she should open her own dance studio. It began as a fluttering thought, but when the opportunity presented itself and she had the support of her family, she decided to make that dream a reality.

In the beginning, Ferrian had a friend and college peer that also shared her love of dance. They were partners in crime and did everything together from the onset of Footnotes. Throughout the last 20 years, Ferrian says that she’s always had a group of teachers coming and going, and she’s never had to go it alone. “I like to bounce ideas off of other people, so it’s great to have others around,” she says. The teachers periodically come and go as lives go in different directions, but that brings the opportunity to test out different styles, energies and methods. Teachers come from all different backgrounds, and a lot of alumni come back to teach courses, and some come just to do guest choreography. 

Footnotes offers different styles of dance classes depending on who is currently teaching. When new teachers come on board they are in charge of which classes they’d like to teach. “Dance is something that has multiple genres and styles your heart can pull you towards,” says Ferrian. Ferrian adds that she’s been trained all across the board so she can fill in holes when needed. 

Currently, Footnotes has classes for ages two-18, and Ferrian is playing with the idea of adding an adult class.

There are beginner level classes for any age group offered. “We are a recreational studio at its heart,” Ferrian says, “Anyone who wants to jump in, we will welcome you.” There’s not a strict dress code or grueling rehearsal schedule. The only strictly enforced rule, Ferrian says, is no gum chewing in class, or chunky jewelry due to safety hazards. “Come as you are, dance, have a great time.” 

Seasons generally run from September through May, and there are occasional performance opportunities during the summer months. Recently, Footnotes dancers had the opportunity to perform at Valley Fair in Shakopee. Valley Fair has a program that allows different groups to apply to perform on the fairgrounds. Stephanie was able to choose a date and time, and then after their performance, the dancers got to spend the rest of the day having fun at the fair. 

The studio likes to try and participate in different events and performances around the state as well. National Tap Dance Day in St. Paul is one they’ve recently attended and had a great time at. “The tap dance community is very warm and welcoming,” says Ferrian, “Tap is my personal favorite, and we have a strong group of tappers.” The dancers were able to take part in a variety of classes and strengthen their skills while in St. Paul.

For their twentieth season, Footnotes is hoping to organize an alumni dance recital. They are hoping to get more adults involved, as well as bring in some guest choreographers this year, and get alumni and guest teachers from years’ past involved. 

The University of Minnesota Morris is hosting the tap jam this year, and the Dance Ensemble as well as Footnotes will be helping and performing, along with other regional performers. The Footnotes Spring Recital is gearing up to be really big for their 20th season, and Ferrian is hoping to get some parents up on stage to join in as well.

Throughout the years the studio has tried many different genres and classes to see what’s popular and what’s not. A couple of years ago, Ferrian began a tap company for dancers to come in and just tap dance, and with that she would like to expand more into the tap space. She tries to keep the prices of her tap company low to garner more involvement. Right now, ages 11-15 are accepted for tap. “How do I show that dance isn’t just competitions? For me, dance is about sharing what you’re doing and creating. But, of course, as you get older and more advanced it’s natural for them to want to compete and see where they stack up,” she shares, “My goal with the tap company is just to challenge dancers to create things in a non-competitive way and show people what you can do.”

Ferrian has also started to arrange a tap jam that would include groups from around the area to share their routines. This past year, there were some groups from Becker, Breckenridge, and Fergus Falls that came to participate. It’s not about competition, but collaboration. 

When asked about what has made her most proud over the last 19 seasons, Ferrian shared that the kindness of her dancers is at the top of her list, especially over the last five years. “My dancers are working so hard to support peers they see at events outside of Morris.” Over the last year after every single event attended, Ferrian either had another teacher or parent approach her to let her know how supportive her girls are. A letter was even sent by another dance group commending Footnotes dancers on their supportiveness of other teams participating. “I’m so proud of our dancers for being positive. Competition is competition, but it doesn’t need to be cutthroat. We don’t have to degrade others, we can lift others up and be supportive.” Another thing Ferrian has enjoyed seeing over the course of her career with Footnotes is seeing how her students progress in life after the studio. She enjoys getting calls and texts from alums saying they’ve made their college dance teams or started teaching at another studio. “It’s really a great full-circle moment.” 

If you are interested in signing up with Footnotes, there is an application available on their website ( Ferrian says she works hard to keep her prices as low as possible and is willing to work with families that might need a payment plan as well.

If you are interested in supporting Footnotes by attending performances or events, the best way to follow their schedule is by watching their Facebook ( and Instagram (@footnotes_studio) pages.

Congratulations to Footnotes Studio of dance on their 20th season, and here’s to many more!