As a dancer, Brynn Arseneau loves to inspire others. As a teacher, she strives to instill the same passion in her students.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, they’ll forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel,” she said.
As the co-owner of Beyond Center Stage performing arts academy in Elmhurst, Brynn loves helping students develop as artists. Her own development came as an early surprise to her family, who hadn’t expected the rough-and-tumble little girl to choose dancing as her pastime.
“My family wasn’t involved in dance at all, “ she said. “Maybe it was something I saw on TV, I really don’t know, but my mom said, one day, I walked in, put my hands on my hips and said ‘Mommy, I want to dance,’” she said.
The tomboy quickly fell in love with ballet, and was “teaching” her peers early on. “I was always correcting the other students, telling them to point their toes,” she said.
In addition to ballet, she also enjoyed tap, jazz and modern dance. Today, her favorite disciplines are ballet and lyrical dance. “Ballet teaches poise and grace and these are things that we can use in life, as we learn how to have poise and grace in every situation,” she said.
Lyrical dance allows her to express emotions with her body.
“I recently had a friend pass away and was able to choreograph a piece about the struggle of letting go. Dance is a way to create a picture that others can see as well,” she said.
By high school, she had begun teaching classes as well, but didn’t consider making dance her career until college. She entered the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in pre-medicine, but quickly discovered she was on the wrong course.
“I felt empty, like I was missing a huge part of my life. The switch made me see how important it was to me and that I needed to have dance in my life,” she said.
She switched to a Fine Art major, and through college and for several years after, focused on performing. She danced in college productions, with the Pilobolus Company on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and in shows at Six Flags, Gurnee.
“I loved all of it, but I had other goals, such as having a family. I wanted a way to be able to balance them, so I decided teaching was a good avenue for me to go down,” she said. Sara Schreiner, a vocalist and Six Flags show cast mate, shared a similar ambition to open a performing arts school. In 2008, when both women were just in their mid-20s, they decided to make the leap into entrepreneurship.
“Brynn is a beautiful dancer who really inspires the kid. She is so excited about what she does, and is also a really good teacher,” said Sara. “We’re both doers, so when we have an idea, we run with it,” said Schreiner.
The women opened Beyond Center Stage in November 2009, with just 13 students, and learned on the job as the business grew. Today, Beyond Center Stage offers group classes and private lessons in dance, vocal and instrumental music, and acting to 250 students, of various ages and abilities. In addition to the thrill of combining her passion for teaching and dance, Brynn also loves the artistic spirit of Beyond Center Stage.
“Our recitals often feature collaborations between our students in the different areas. I love the collaboration of the arts as a whole and teaching that together, we can make incredible work,” she said.