A 19-YEAR-OLD woman from Whitehaven has decided to take the risk and open her own dance school... and is excited to see where her new venture will go.

After starting dance lessons as a 3-year-old, and choreographing and teaching classes since she was 15, Olivia Wood decided to take the plunge and open her own dance studio.

West Coast Dance will be based at Sneckyeat Industrial Estate, and lessons will be for ages ranging from 18 months and above.

Olivia said she has enjoyed teaching her own classes but she wanted to see her own ideas develop and be able to see them through from start to finish.

At her most recent competition, Olivia said she was filled with pride seeing all the children competing and seeing how proud they all were of themselves.

She said: "It is something I'll never forget and this was when I realised I wanted to continue to make moments like this and give the opportunity for more kids to experience it."

Olivia is taking this big step at a young age, and said she has been asked questions about her age the most, however, she is taking it all in her stride.

Whilst she is young, this area is not new to her, she has been gaining experience since she was 15.

Olivia explained that opening West Coast Dance will be a 'completely different experience' as it allows her to have free range and make new relationships with students and parents.

Olivia said: "I did feel a small amount of pressure, hearing doubts from others but I have been reassured by lovely messages of support from everyone and I can’t wait to get into it.

"My family and friends have been so supportive throughout the whole process, helping me set up and I will always be grateful."

Olivia has had support from another dance school owner in Whitehaven who now lives elsewhere. She said she has pointed Olivia in the right direction when it comes to legalities and setting things up.

Some of the choreography Olivia has taught has won awards at national competitions, so the timing only feels right now to pursue her own dance school.

Olivia said: "I’m hoping to focus on the basics when I open making sure it’s fun for everyone. I will be happy when I have a positive dance environment and a big team spirit.

Whitehaven News: West Coast DanceWest Coast Dance (Image: Newsquest)

"Hopefully later in the year I will begin building my competition teams for the season. For those who aren’t competitive I'll be looking at annual shows to showcase all their hard work!"

There are some final touches still to go before opening day, such as paperwork and planning dances and activities for all new beginners.

Olivia said: "I’m frazzled with all my new ideas for routines and I can’t wait to see them taking shape."

"I’ve made some of my closest friends from this sport and I want to create those bonds within my new school. Obviously a few more trophies wouldn’t go amiss either!"

Olivia remained tight-lipped over any major plans but she teased that there are plans for an actor to work with the students to improve their expressions on stage.

West Coast Dance is hoping to link up with different charities to run events and has a fundraising team in place who will help with costume payments, competitions and buying anything that the students will benefit from in the studio space.

Olivia said: "I think anyone who wants to dance should be able to afford to, and we are trying to make that possible for everyone."

"I’m excited to see where my new venture will go and I’m overwhelmed with all the interest and support before I’ve even started. A big thank you to Jess Longrigg Fitness as well as she has very kindly shared her space with me!"

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