Nicole Purcell this year celebrates ten years running Gulgong’s Step Up dance academy. Her first year out of high school, Nicole started teaching afternoon dance classes in town with Michelle Leven in 2005.
The following year, she took the opportunity to buy the business, renaming it and turning it into a full-time job.
Step Up Dance Academy now runs four days a week, with students from two-year-old tiny tots to retired ladies in an adult class.
“I feel pretty blessed,” Nicole said. “I do enjoy being out in Gulgong.”
Gulgong keeps Nicole busy enough that she doesn’t feel tempted to extend her work into Mudgee. She is glad to accept, though the invitation some years back to begin teaching in Dunedoo, where she found strong demand and great appreciation for her visits.
“I enjoy my Thursday afternoons out there with them,” she said.
Nicole said the support from the whole community was one of the joys of working in Gulgong.
She has joined the committee of the local Eisteddfod, as well as sending dancers to Eisteddfods in Wellington, Bathurst, Orange and Muswellbrook, and bringing home first prizes from the Showcase in Newcastle in the last couple of years.
She has seen students grow up to become Step Up teachers themselves or leave to study dance, with graduate Georgie Fabien most recently heading off to Sydney’s Brent Street school of performing arts.
To celebrate the academy’s tenth year, the 2016 annual concert on December 3 will recreate some favourite routines from past years.
Nicole has been watching past concert videos to prepare and said it had been a pleasure to see how the performances had grown bigger and better over the years, and how the young dancers had developed.