Owner and dance teacher Jane Elliott can’t wait for opening day.

With fresh paint on the walls and new floors inside, the state-of-the-art facility called Ballet Etc…, inches closer to calling downtown Fonthill home with an open house set for Sept. 3.

Elliott hopes her new studio, located at 111 Highway 20 East, Unit 2, fills a gap for many children who live in Welland and Pelham. Her current dance studio in St. Catharines has been a focal point for young boys and girls to showcase their talents in one of the most creatively challenging ways.

“Ballet is the base for any form of dance,” Elliott said. “We have a lot of hip hop students and a lot of tap students – but the majority of our students take ballet and something else.”

Ballet originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. The peaceful movements are not only challenging but are essential in learning the wide-variety of dance routines across the globe. Ballet Etc… digs into a variety of them, with classes in tap, lyrical and jazz.

With the expansion into Pelham, Elliott aims to expand the dance classes, too.

“We’re hoping to start a new program called Nia. It’s a combination of dance, yoga and martial arts designed for those of all ages, as it suits everyone’s physical needs.”

Staff have been working night and day to prepare the studio, which will be somewhat of a new adventure for Elliott. From 1955 to 1995 the school was known as the Marian MacPherson School of Ballet. It was there Elliott took ballet classes before heading off to the National Ballet School. She returned to teach and eventually took over the business, changing the name to Ballet Etc…

“It’s a lot of hard work,” she said. “Anyone who owns a dance studio has to love kids. If you don’t love kids, don’t bother.”

With over 100 children in competitive dancing, she says they’ve all become family. The same goes for her staff – many who’ve been with her the entire journey.

That, along with the new teachers, have quickly turned the dance studio a desirable location for youngsters in Niagara.

“We try to find staff who love the genre they teach,” Elliott said. “I would never presume I could teach something I don’t love, so that’s why it’s great our staff is so unique and in love with dance as much as I am. We truly are a dance family.”

The open house on Sept. 3 runs from 4-8 p.m., where future dancers can check out the new location and register for upcoming classes. For more information contact Elliott at 905-892-3883 or [email protected].