The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 8, 2009

East grad catches on with Wolves

Lexi Zimmermann enters second season on dance team

MANKATO — Lexi Zimmermann has been performing in Mankato since she was 3 years old.

An expert dancer in several styles, Zimmermann is a 2004 Mankato East graduate who has been tapping, jazzing and hip-hopping for 20 years.

She fell in love with the art form at Dance Express in Mankato and participated on high school dance teams. During the summer, while on leave from her college dance team at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Zimmermann would often visit her hometown to tutor students and help with dance camps.

Now a college graduate, Zimmermann is still dancing in Mankato. Only now, she’s a professional with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and she performs in heels.

“That makes it much tougher than when I was dancing in high school,” said Zimmermann, who was back in Mankato on Sunday for a Timberwolves exhibition game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Bresnan Arena.

“It’s challenging.”

But it’s also a passion. A passion that’s been evident to Mitzi Roberts for a long time.

Roberts is the director of Dance Express, a Mankato studio that has now produced two professional dancers in Zimmermann and Kaylee Munson, who is a cheerleader for the Minnesota Vikings.

Zimmermann called Roberts “an inspiration.” Roberts called Zimmermann a natural talent.

“She’s always been good,” Roberts said of the blond-haired pupil who walked through her doors at 4 years old. “Right away in class I noticed that she had something.”

That certain “something” was a combination of talents. Roberts said Zimmermann had plenty of ability, but she also had drive and determination.

Roberts said that while Zimmermann was in high school, there were times when she didn’t make the team she was hoping for or didn’t have the performance she wanted. But, she said, her dedicated pupil never wavered.

“She had a lot of perseverance,” Roberts said. “She had God-given talent, but she also had focus and was a quick learner.”

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