RANTOUL — Sarah Nuku Hills honored her father, Edward’s, native New Zealand culture when it came time to name her new business — Koru Fitness.

In the Māori culture, he traveled the world before establishing his roots in central Illinois. The circular shape of the Koru is the symbol in that culture that represents new life, growth, harmony and strength.

Hills thought it was a proper symbol for a fitness business.

Her business, which focuses on dance, will open in the former home of Curves, which will be closing, in the rear of the building that houses Lindsey Lane Bridal in downtown Rantoul.

Hills has a long history with dance, having begun dance lessons in Rantoul at age 3 with the late Deborah Truscelli at Deborah’s School of Dance.

"I continued all the way through grade school and junior high," she said.

In high school she was a cheerleader for four years, and that’s where she got to know Janet Brotherton, who was her cheer coach. Brotherton owns the Lindsey Lane building where Hills’ business will be located.

After high school, Hills moved to Florida and then Virginia before returning to Rantoul, got married and had four daughters.

To lose weight, she found Dance Fitness with Jessica on YouTube and did aerobics for 30 to 40 minutes every day. It worked.

"Then I figured I could probably teach these classes (to) other women to help them build confidence," Hills said.

A dance fitness instructor certified with Dance 2 Fit, she has been teaching for about a year at Urbana Personal Performance and Rantoul Rec Department.

Koru Fitness will not only focus on dance fitness but also include children’s classes, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes by Frankie Wilson, massage therapy by Meg McPherson, makeup tutorial classes by Kylee Vermillion, and athletic training classes with Jeremy Dixon. There will also be another certified dance fitness instructor — Dance Fitness with Amber Holmes.

Koru Fitness will open Jan. 2.

For more information, contact Hills at 217-898-4779.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com