Battle Lake living is "en pointe" for dancer Molly Johnston

Molly Johnston, Zenon Dance Company

Molly Johnston’s “aha” moment struck the summer before she moved back to Battle Lake with her husband, Robbie.

That summer, she hosted a dance festival that brought professional dancers, choreographers and dance educators from all across the country to Battle Lake for a week.

“As I sat in the audience during our performance for the community, I thought, ‘I actually did it!’” she said. “And that’s when I decided being a trained professional dancer wouldn’t be impossible in Battle Lake.”

Molly studied dance in Philadelphia and Eugene, Ore., before taking a job with Zenon Dance Company in Minneapolis. But west central Minnesota’s lakes country was never far from her heart. When a house came on the market across the street from Robbie’s family’s summer cabin, they bought it.

Robbie’s employer agreed to let him work from home. Molly became operations manager for the Kaddatz Galleries in Fergus Falls as well as co-director of DanceBARN Collective, which provides quality dance experiences in rural communities, including hosting workshops and classes. She found a warm welcome in the local arts community, and a general “go for it” spirit in various projects she’s taken part in.

“We love to waterski, go for walks in Glendalough State Park, and spend time with our family at the lake,” she said. “I’m also proud to have a new baby boy, Ellery, who gets to enjoy all that growing up in a small lake town has to offer!”

And because they live so close to family, they no longer spend money to travel to see them. That savings will go toward a trip to Denmark and Germany this fall.

Steve Henning