When Kim Marie Peterson learned in 1992 that the dance studio at which she practically grew up was for sale, she knew it was fate.
“At the age of 10, I told my mother I was going to run a dance studio someday,” Peterson, longtime owner and artistic director at Dance Dimensions in Bolingbrook, told Will County Gazette. “Dance for me was my second home – it was always a huge part of my life. It helped me express myself through movement, and for me that was a passion I could not ignore. Passing on that love of dance was always in my mind.”
Peterson purchased the studio in July 1992 upon graduating from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance performance and education. The facility reopened under her direction two months later.
| Photo courtesy of Dance Dimensions
“Every day I hope to give kids the power to express themselves through dance,” Peterson said. “I hope to inspire them that by living with that passion, they can do great things in life. Whether they grow up to be dancers, or something else, the lessons they learn in dance class – confidence, teamwork, perseverance, responsibility, being coachable, preparedness, attitude and passion – all will translate into whatever they decide to do.”
Peterson’s passion for dancing started more than 40 years ago.
“The first memory I have of dancing is doing a polka on my dad's feet when I was itty-bitty,” she said. “I loved dancing with him around the living room. For classes, I started dancing at the age of 3 and for as long as I can remember I just loved it. It is an art form where I get to express my creativity and emotions. It is represented all over in every aspect of my daily living. And a part of all that I am.”
In addition to working at the studio, Peterson devotes a lot of her time to the community. She has helped with the Distinguished Young Woman of Illinois scholarship program for more than 15 years by serving in numerous roles including choreographer, chairperson, spirit coordinator and sponsor. Peterson has also choreographed many musical theatre productions at both Bolingbrook High School and Romeoville High School.
Through Dance Dimensions, Peterson has been involved with fundraising for the American Cancer Society and has raised more than $150,000. The studio also participates in food packing at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora, raises money and supplies for a local animal shelter, raises money for Traveling Tutus, which donates used dance wear to those in need, stuffs stockings and delivers gifts through the 4 Kids Sake organization in Bolingbrook, and holds a hat, scarf and gloves drive in the winter.
“I believe that giving back is an important part of being a productive member of society,” Peterson said. “And since I own my own business, I have always made it a part of my mission to keep giving back to my community, and to teach those that are a part of my business to do the same. The more people there are giving in the community, the better community it will be.”