Editor’s note: In its May 15, 2024, edition, the Sun Times News included a special “Discover Tecumseh” section. It contains articles describing many of the businesses and community life in this charming town. We’re running the articles online and encourage you to add a trip to Tecumseh to your list of fun things to do this summer.

IlluminaTe Dance & Arts Center, founded by Deena Bryan, is deeply rooted in personal inspiration and tribute to her late son, Tanner. The center is not only a place for dance and artistic expression but also serves as a monument to Tanner’s life and the values he embodied.

Deena recalls, “Life can change in an instant. In a blink of an eye our world as we know it no longer exists. Every single moment daily is to be cherished and used to follow one’s dreams.” These words capture the essence of Tanner’s approach to life—fearless, driven, and selfless. His impact is deeply integrated into the dance studio. From the names of dance companies bearing a capital “T” to the highest level company named “145” after his wrestling weight, and even the studio’s number “43,” mirroring his football jersey number, Tanner’s spirit permeates the space.

Deena’s journey in founding the studio was fraught with challenges, including navigating the complications of COVID-19 and relocating spaces. Yet, her resolve was steadfast. She stated, “It took forever to get this place done, but we’ve now been in this building for two years.” Despite these hurdles, Deena’s vision for a nurturing, creative environment remained clear, culminating in establishing a permanent location that embodies Tanner’s legacy.

“IlluminaTe will be a studio filled with light, hope, and peace. A home that embraces and loves all who walk through the door as family,” Deena explains. This sentiment highlights her commitment to honoring Tanner and creating a welcoming community for dancers and artists.

In her words, “My dream through dance is to illuminate and shine beauty and light on all those who walk through my studio door.” Through IlluminaTe, Deena aims to continue spreading Tanner’s light and fostering a space where dreams are pursued with passion and dedication. This center stands as a vivid illustration of how personal loss can transform into a profound source of inspiration and community enrichment.

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