Nicole Clinton is hoping to provide an experience at her dance studio that she lacked growing up.
When Clinton's parents put her into dance at the age of three, she immediately fell in love and formed a passion like no other.
But as she began travelling around southwestern Ontario taking classes, she noticed something discouraging. Not being one of the top dancers in her class, she often found she wasn't getting the same instruction and guidance as some of the others.
"The attention was given to the best in the room," Clinton said.
"Someone is always losing in those circumstances."
That type of approach is the exact opposite of how the former captain of the Laurier University dance team runs her business at NLC Dance Company.
The company began in Ayr as a professional studio before opening up to recreational classes. It's had so much success that Clinton is excited to be expanding into neighbouring Cambridge on King Street East in Preston.
"I started teaching when I was 18 and found studios where kids try to compete for the attention of the teacher and I knew how that felt," she said.
"I want to offer my dancers a space where they don't feel like they have to be a certain way to get my attention. We pride ourselves on making every student feel comfortable. We want to give them a positive environment and feel encouraged."
An old instructor once told Clinton if she's ever going to open a studio, go where the people are. That's part of what made Preston so appealing.
"There are other studios in Cambridge but downtown Preston is a high traffic area and on a bus route," she said.
"Families who don't have cars or access to vehicles can easily get there and we can be accommodating."
Offering a variety of styles, including hip hop, jazz and tap, there will be classes for all age groups beginning as young as one.
Clinton understands trying something new can be intimidating at first but wants the community to know they'll be welcomed with open arms.
There are also options to come try one class at a time, which she hopes limits the concerns of being locked down to a style that may not be the right fit.
"I always say come and try the classes," she said.
"It gives the parents a way to not commit and then they can see what they like. Sometimes certain kids like certain classes."
Open houses are being held on Dec. 9 and 10 at 855 King St. E Unit 2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The day will feature in-person registration for the January 2024 season, a studio tour, a meet and greet with staff and trial classes for dancers over the age of one.
For more information on NLC Dance Company visit nlcdancecompany.ca.