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A step in the right direction
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 For Heavenly Dance Steps owner Debbie Nelson, finally having a proper dance studio after seven years of teaching dance classes in a double-wide trailer is a dream come true.

"We're just excited to be here," said Nelson of the studio's new location on Usher Street, in the former premises of A Time to Dance.

The Christian-centered dance studio, formerly located at Eastridge Community Church, offers many of the same classes as traditional dance studios such as ballet, jazz, tap and pointe classes but with an additional emphasis on "using dance to worship God," Nelson said.

As part of Heavenly Dance Steps' community outreach, Nelson said the studio gives performances at local churches, nursing homes and at events on the Covington square.

"We're trying to stay very community oriented," Nelson said.

Heavenly Dance Steps offers classes for all age groups (four-year-olds to adults) and abilities. Classes are broken down first by age and then by ability said Nelson.

For example an introductory ballet/tap/tumbling class is offered for four and five-year-olds to introduce them to dance. As they progress, dancers can choose which dance areas they wish to specialize in.

Including Nelson, who also serves as artistic director for the studio, there are five dance instructors at Heavenly Dance Steps.

"Ability is definitely important but you also have to have heart for it," said Nelson of her instructors.

After dancing for half of her life, Nelson, who is certified by Dance Educators of America, decided to take a break from dancing to start a family but says she felt herself drawn back to it and eventually formed her own studio.

"The desire doesn't die when you have a passion for it," Nelson said.

Class fees are $40 a month for a weekly one hour class and $45 a month for a 1.5 hour weekly class. Additional classes are $10 a session. Sibling discounts are available. Recital participation requires a costume and recital fee.

A Christmas program and a Spring recital with various outreach events in between are planned for the coming year said Nelson.

In addition to three dance studios, Heavenly Dance Steps also houses a small apparel store filled with gently-used dance clothing donated by fellow dancers.

Heavenly Dance Steps does sponsor children who otherwise wouldn't be able to dance said Nelson and is always looking for additional sponsors.

There will be an open house at the studio from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this Saturday. Classes begin Aug. 6.