WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)— A new dance studio opened up in our area, but it's different from the rest.
The Westside Dance Center is an adult-only studio, meaning dancers must be 18 or older to join.
Nicole Bealand is the owner and instructor of the newly-opened studio. Bealand has been dancing for years, but when she moved to West Lafayette she couldn't find a place to dance with people her age.
Bealand began to teach a few classes in other studio spaces, including the old Morton Center and Happy Hollow Elementary School.
"Just being in classrooms and dancing on concrete with a thin layer of vinyl flooring," Bealand explained. "It's not ideal for dancing."
So, she began her search for a new space.
"It has always been in the back of my mind to want to have a proper dance studio with proper floors, proper bars and proper mirrors," she said. "So I could offer those classes."
Bealand eventually found her space. The Westside Dance studio is located at 1231 Cumberland Avenue Suite B, near Sagamore Parkway in West Lafayette. It opened in September.
The studio is open to both men and women of all skill levels. Currently, dancers range in age from early 20's to late 70's.
Bealand said no matter who you are or what your experience is, you should come in and try dancing.
"When people hear I teach ballet for adults they say, 'Oh well I'm not very graceful,' or 'I have two left feet," she explained. "I say that's great! I want people to come. This is a place where people can be encouraged and not thrown in a class with a bunch of kids."
News 18 spoke with one of the youngest dancers at The Westside Dance Center.
Casey Wright has been taking ballet with Bealand for three years. She came in with no prior dance training.
"You get to feel and express all of your emotions through dance and it's really satisfying," she said.
Wright is a graduate student at Purdue University and says coming to dance makes her feel a part of something.
"It's people who are staying in the area and then people who are here for a shorter time," Wright said. "So you get that community feel of actually being part of something in the community."
Wright found her passion for ballet by accident.
She showed up to one of Bealand's ballet classes thinking she signed up for a barre excercise class.
However, once she started dancing she fell in love with it and wanted to continue. Now she's dancing en pointe, an advanced technique of ballet.
"That's to show that if someone, later in life, really has a passion for it and really wants to-it's possible," Bealand said with a smile.
Andrew Williams, a dancer in her 70's, has been taking classes on and off for two to three years. Williams used to take ballet class when she was 'very young.'
"My main interest was to develop a sense of balance and better posture, and dance was almost secondary to those things. But it's such fun," Williams said.
Williams was nervous to start dancing at first, but the diversity among the students made her feel comfortable in class.
"It's such a variety of ages and a variety of backgrounds. We even have a man in our class," Williams said.
If you're not sure whether dancing is for you, Bealand wants to help you find out! Everyone's first class is free.
The Westside Dance Studio offers different class levels to its dancers:
'Basic Beginning' is for people who have never had any ballet or dance training at all and want to learn the basics.
'Advanced Beginning' is for people who have taken the 'Basic Beginning' class, or who have had previous dance training when they were younger and want to get back into dancing.
'Intermediate' is for dancers who are at an advanced level.
While ballet is the main focus at this studio, dditional classes including jazz, modern, lyrical and hip hop are also offered.
Classes are offered Monday through Friday from morning to evening. You can view a class schedule here.
Questions? Email Nicole Bealand at email@example.com or message on Facebook.
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