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Longtime Mitchell resident and dance teacher to retire after 39 years

Linda Feterl leads a group of kids in the Pre-K and kindergarten dance class on Monday afternoon at the Linda Feterl School of Dance. Feterl announced Sunday she would be retiring in late April, handing over the studio keys to new owners. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Linda Feterl is hanging up her dancing shoes.

The owner of Linda Feterl School of Dance announced Sunday that she will soon be retiring, and passing the baton to a new set of owners.

What started as a class of six when Feterl moved to Mitchell with her family 39 years ago, has grown to a class of more than 400 this year. And at the end of April, she will hand over her 400-plus students and the keys to her dance studio — located at 109 S. Lawler St. — to Andrea Conklin and Chad Hansen, who will transform the place into Core Kinetics Dance Studios.

Conklin and Hansen are no strangers to dance, as the duo opened Core Kinetics Dance Studios in 2009 with locations in Huron, Milbank and Redfield — and soon, Mitchell.

And while Feterl is sad to say goodbye to the studio she's owned for nearly 40 years, she's proud of all the children's lives she has touched since moving to Mitchell.

"It's just the fact that we could spread the joy of dance to so many kids, because we've had a lot of kids that have come in and out of this door," she said.

All of Feterl's "tiny dancers" and their parents will have the opportunity to meet the new owners at this year's "Hit the Dance Floor" recital April 29 at the Corn Palace. The recital will showcase each of Feterl's students from Pre-K through seniors in high school.

Feterl has full confidence in the two taking over her life's work in Mitchell, as they share a similar philosophy, she said, and there won't be any big changes to the studio or classes.

Feterl has known both of the new owners for a long time, specifically Hansen, who she met when he was 16 years old.

"I feel real confident that they're going to be awesome," Feterl said. " ... They're young and they're ready. I thought it'd be a good opportunity and they're great people."

Feterl said she chose these two to take over her longtime business and legacy because of the experience they bring, which was important to her.

Feterl, a Salem native, has been dancing since she was 5 years old. She danced throughout school, and then took classes while attending Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. After that she began teaching dance, and taught for six years in Pierre before her family relocated to Mitchell.

And she couldn't be happier with her decision to step back from dance.

"There's always going to be a little nostalgia and I know I'm welcome into the studio, so I can pop in and see how everyone's doing," she said. "It'll be a good break."

Feterl is most looking forward to more time with family, she said, and a lot fewer late nights. For years, Feterl said classes have gone until 8:30 to 9 p.m. every night, and it'll be a relief to have a break.

But she plans on dropping by from time to time and maybe still teaching a class. While she said it was hard to pick just one type of dance, her favorites include tap, ballet and jazz.

"You just enjoy it all. It's fun to see a little 5-year-old do a plie, so you know, it's just a very joyful place ... " Feterl said. "It's all about the kids. I've gotten to know a lot of good people and it's fun to see them as adults."