Port Colborne dance studio gets $10,000 federal business grant


Published January 6, 2023 at 10:00 am

The dancers pause for a still photo to showcase a recent performance put on by Dance Expressions Inc. (Photo: Dance Expressions Inc Facebook)

A Port Colborne dance troupe will celebrate its 50th birthday in style as it became a recent recipient of a $10,000 grant from the federal government under the “My Main Street” funding.

Dance Expressions Inc, located at 183 Main St E, got the grant established by the government in an effort to boost local businesses back to their pre-COVID levels.

The grant will allow Dance Expressions Inc. to explore findings from the market research provided by My Main Street to drive economic growth and attract new customers to its business and the Port Colborne community.

The dance studio struggled through the pandemic, which caused several shutdowns for the business’ in-person classes, forcing a move to providing online dancing, which resulted in decreased enrollment.

Dance Expressions will now use the money on leasehold improvements, as well as technology and equipment upgrades and is hopeful this will help increase membership going forward.

The plan is to use these positive additions as a focus for future marketing efforts and to once again turn its business back into the bustling dance studio it was pre-COVID.

To say I am grateful to have the opportunity to make teaching easier for our faculty and create a better experience for our dancers is an understatement,” said Heather King, a former instructor who bought the studio in 2016 and serves as it Artistic Director and Owner.

“Receiving these non-repayable funds is going to help me make additional improvements to the dance school that I have been forced to put on hold due to the pandemic,” King continued. “Now I can get to them right away and that’s fantastic and such a huge relief. I am looking forward to putting my energy back into sharing my passion for dance and the arts with my students, so their time at Dance Expressions Inc. is more memorable than it was before!”

The studio has been around in one form or another since 1973. When its doors first opened, it was the “Ava Balogh’s School of Classical Ballet”. When tap and jazz were added to the curriculum the school name was changed to “Dance Park” before later becoming the “Port Colborne Dance Academy”. By 2000, it was renamed “Dance Expressions Inc.”

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey said Dance Expressions was precisely the kind of local business for which the “My Main Street” funding was created.

“Small businesses in Port Colborne play a vital role in the success of our local economy. Through My Main Street, our government… is committed to helping communities bring their main streets back to life by supporting businesses that will reanimate our neighbourhoods, creating jobs and driving economic growth for local economies,” he noted.

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