• 2017 Small Business of the Year

  • 2017 Small Business of the Year Winner - Studio b Dance & Fitness
  • Sign on at Studio b, and you could master the arabesque or pirouette, learn the jazz walk or a chainé turn, or dance your way into fouette combinations and switch leaps. Whether the class is ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap or one of dozens more, including fitness, the focus is on fun, says Brooke Hardebeck, who co-founded and co-owns the dance studio with her husband, Jason Hardebeck.

    “Dance is something you do for enjoyment, for fun, as a release, and sometimes you strive to improve it as a skill,” she says. “It’s for all ages—it’s never too late. Dance is beautiful, fun and positive.”

    That philosophy is reflected in the name Brooke chose. “The ‘b’ in ‘Studio b’ stands for ‘b. happy,’ ‘b. inspired,’ ‘b. you’ and many other motivating and empowering messages,” she says. “My goal is to provide a place for any person, any age, to share a passion for dance and fitness.”

    A Happy Place

    Since launching Studio b in January 2014, she estimates some 3,000 people have taken classes and experienced the joy of movement.

    “The people who come in here is why we do what we do,” Brooke says. “You can see when they walk in the door that this is their happy place, and it feels good to provide that. It brings me a lot of joy.”

    The studio launched with 17 dance classes and seven fitness classes a week. “Now, we have 58 dance classes and 13 fitness classes every week,” she says. The business employs 24.

    For its success and contributions to the community, Studio b, 736 N. Ninth St., Lafayette (765/420-8080, www.studioblafayette.com, Brooke@StudiobLafayette.com), has earned the July Small Business of the Month Award from Greater Lafayette Commerce.

    A Goal Achieved

    Opening the studio was a longtime dream and plan for Brooke. “Yes, I’m a dancer,” she says. “But I didn’t grow up dancing the traditional way, taking studio classes.”

    Raising three children, her mother, Becky Megenhardt, couldn’t afford dance lessons. “So, I took lessons from my friends who took studio lessons. And in school I put myself in every possible performing program I could: show choir, theatre, cheerleading, dance team—you name it.”

    A Love of Lafayette

    Choosing Lafayette for her studio was intentional, too. “Lafayette is my home, the community that helped me become who I am. My mom used resources in this community to make sure her children had opportunities. And Mom made sure I had strong, positive role models.”

    One resource was Big Brothers/Big Sisters, where as a youngster Brooke was a “Little,” then as an adult gave back by becoming a “Big.” “The program helped shape my life, and I am forever grateful,” Brooke says.

    She’s made a part of her mission at Studio b “to help those who couldn’t afford it,” and is currently developing a scholarship program.

    Each winter when Studio b dancers present a showcase at St. James Lutheran School’s gymnasium, audience members are asked to bring nonperishable food items for the church’s food pantry.

    Studio b also supports school dance and sports teams and Purdue dance groups and has provided volunteer performers for the Ultimate Pink Party.  

    Sharing the Work, Family Fun

    Brooke and Jason make a great team at the dance studio, she says. She oversees the dance and business ends. Jason, who spends his day as a building inspector for the city of West Lafayette, handles construction and maintenance—renovating when they opened and currently working on an interior buildout for a third dance room.

    The business is also in the midst of earning national certification through Youth Protection Advocates in Dance, a nonprofit that educates and provides resources for keeping kids healthy, safe and engaged in age-appropriate dance activities.

    Both Brooke and Jason are Purdue graduates. Brooke earned a degree in communications from Purdue in 1999. “That helped me. It put me in a position to grow as a professional.” Jason’s degree is in building construction management.

    They are also raising two daughters, Emma, 5, and Lily, 3. “They help me play and be present,” Brooke says. “They have super-high energy and are a lot of fun. They help me keep focused.”