The story behind Heartbeat Studios is one of love, passion and devotion to the performing arts. In 1996, mother and daughter, Deborah Lysholm and Kristin Freya, sold their home and all of their belongings to buy a piece of land in Apple Valley, MN to fulfill their dream of building a state-of-the-art performing arts school. In September 1997, construction began on what would become one of the most beautiful performing arts schools in the USA. On January 5, 1998 the first dance class was taught at Heartbeat and a dream became a reality.

Prior to Heartbeat’s construction, Lysholm and Freya, having trained in several dance disciplines since childhood, used dance as their safe haven from a physically and emotionally abusive husband/father for two decades. In 1994, after her divorce, Lysholm, along with her daughter, launched the first-ever domestic violence law suit in civil court by a mother/daughter. They won the case in 1996 and now give lectures and presentations on the prevention of violence in the home to law enforcement agencies, public and private schools, legal associations, churches and many community events. Their presentations to the Minnesota State Legislative and Judicial Committees coupled with their meetings with the late Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, were instrumental in changing laws on the matter in Minnesota. Their passion for dance, their love of teaching and their devotion to an art form that helped them start a new life blossomed into Heartbeat Studios.

In its young life, Heartbeat has grown to offer a comprehensive schedule of Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Hip-Hop, Break Dance, Musical Theater, Danceline, Flamenco, acting, piano and singing classes to more than 500 students annually. Heartbeat’s instructors are degreed in dance and/or are performing professionals with extensive backgrounds. Heartbeat has hosted master classes with such noted professionals as the late Gregory Hines, Dianne Walker, Savion Glover, Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, members of Riverdance and Tap Dogs, Jazzcotech (London), Guillem Alonso and Roser Font (Barcelona), Deborah Leamy (Broadway cast Fosse), Bril Barrett, Atiba Martin and more. Heartbeat produces two major shows annually and provides many performing opportunities for its dance companies. Heartbeat has designed and implemented effective Pedagogy and Dance Academy programs for students interested in pursuing dance instruction as a career. With the belief that dance should be shared and experienced beyond one’s own backyard; Lysholm and Freya have taught master classes around the USA, and in Europe where they established "sister-studio" relationships with schools in Barcelona, Milan and Geneva. They have also shared their love of dance in Havana, Cuba and Cairo, Egypt. Other members of Heartbeat’s teaching staff have taught/performed in South Africa, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico.

Heartbeat promotes a non-competitive dance environment. It is a performance studio and chooses not to be involved with dance competitions because the instructors at Heartbeat appreciate and advocate dance as an art form and not a sport. Heartbeat’s focus is on correct training and technique by professionals. Heartbeat’s dance companies perform throughout the year to share the beauty, emotional and intellectual stimulation of dance with the public. Heartbeat provides long-term, life-enriching experiences in dance for its students. Hand-in-hand with that is Heartbeat’s goal to develop the dancers’ trust in dance – to encourage them to take on the responsibility of raising the bar on their own potential. Heartbeat believes that dance is more than a physical presence and nurtures a truthful, not artificial, connection between the dancer and the audience. Heartbeat allows the dancers to immerse themselves in the movement and to internalize the dance because only then is it real.

Heartbeat is a dream that became a reality.


HEARTBEAT STUDIOS • 7661 West 145th Street • Apple Valley, MN, 55124 • 952.432.7833
Send us an email! Monday through Thursday 3pm to 9pm • Saturday 9am to 5pm