More than just dance

Ann Gill

It was on the second floor of a decades old brick building in downtown Coal City that Broadway Dance Center got it start, the concept to provide dance instruction by integrating body, art and intellect.

    Kim Scerine, the studio’s founder and artistic director, came to the community with an impressive resumé. She had studied with some of the finest in Chicago dance—Claire Battaille, Gus Giordano, Joel Hall and Frank Hatchett—and was a scholarship dancer at the Lou Conte Dance Studio.
    In 1988, one year after the studio opened, Scerine established the On Broadway Dancers with the hope of giving rural young people an equal opportunity in the performing arts.
    The dance company has developed into a sought after company with a reputation for skill and talent. The group routinely performs at professional and collegiate sporting events, fundraisers, and from time-to-time with the nationally recognized Jesse White Tumblers.
    Company members, selected by audition, have earned accolades at the annual Dance Chicago performance and have been twice recognized by the Illinois General Assembly for their representation of America’s youth.
    And, under Scerine’s direction, OBD has traveled the world. It’s first performance tour was to Russia in 1990 and since then the company has performed in Switzerland, France, Austia, Germany, Italy and Poland.
    “The dancers have clearly made their mark in the professional dance field. More importantly, these dancers have made their mark on their cown community,” said Christina VanYperen, executive director of the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce.
    In the past five years, the dance company has raised over $20,000 through its annual Christmas show. The funds along with donations from dance center families are used to purchase clothing, food and gifts for families in need.
    Additionally, they help raise funds for outside organizations such as Angels of Hope, they pitched in to assist citizens impacted by the tornados in 2013 and 2015 and they provide an annual scholarship to a graduating senior.
     Since the day the doors opened, close to 2,000 dancers have trained at Scerine’s studio that is now located in Diamond. Of those dancers, approximately 190 have been part of the dance company.
    “From ages 3 and up and classes from ballet to tap, Kim has been helping to shape our children into mature, hardworking, well-rounded adults for decades,” said Van Yperen.
    It is for her work with young people, her giving nature and her drive to make the community a better place that Scerine was selected as the Chamber’s 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year.
    “Kim is a prime example of what being a small business owner is all about, illustrating that it’s more than a job, more than her livelihood, but also a commitment to her community,” VanYperen said.
    The award was presented during the Chamber and Grundy Economic Development Council’s annual dinner and awards ceremony.
Scerine shared the award with her dancers.
“This is more than me, this is obviously the On Broadway Dancers,” she said, noting the company's success is rooted in its members dedication to the art of dance.
The dance center has developed a reputation for providing some of the best dance training around, and part of that comes in providing a good example.
“Jesse White, who I consider my mentor, always said to me, 'remember they are always watching you.' So with that in mind we teach our kids how to behave by our examples and in that we hope our kids grow up and make good examples of us,” Scerine said.
As the dance studio prepares to celebrate it's 30th year, the mission, “ to maintain a standard of excellence for our dancers, both personally and professionally,” remains just as it did the day the doors opened on Broadway in 1987.