Parents and children ranging from tots to teens crowded Happy Valley-Goose Bay’s newest dance studio on Aug. 25. It was the grand opening of Valley Danceworks as well as the first day of registration for the dance classes.
Melissa Marshall, co-owner of the studio and the dance instructor, hails from Ontario. She moved to the community six months ago with her partner and co-owner Rob Pilgrim and their two children.
Now the couple is ready to begin business. Marshall said class starts will coincide with school opening and she will be offering ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop as well as adult dance classes. She is also offering a homework club at the studio.
Although there is currently a dance program in the community, Marshall said she felt the area needed a dance studio.
“I just said what the heck, why not give it a shot.”
She and Pilgrim took on the renovations to convert a former retail store into the new studio on Macdonald Drive.
“It was a DIY project. We were here every night working on it.”
The studio is now finished and aside from change rooms, it is composed of two dance studio rooms. The larger room has a wall of mirrors and sprung floors that Marshall said are in place to prevent injury.
Marshall’s studio will be a competitive one meaning she plans to send teams to outside dance competitions. Competitions would not be hosted in Labrador and dancers would likely travel to Quebec and Nova Scotia to compete.
Before moving to Labrador, Marshall taught dance for 15 years in her hometown of Ottawa.
She said she is excited about the business and is looking forward to the start of classes.