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On Your Toes Dance Studio keeps students upbeat and involved
in biz dance pic
Instructors teach a variety of dance styles at On Your Toes Dance Studio in Hilmar. From left to right: Shakia Collins, Nicole Gordon-Couto, Bethany Edwards, Reena Van Slyke and Ashley Mendes. - photo by Photo Contributed

Name of Business: On Your Toes Dance Studio


Location: 7940 North Lander Avenue in Hilmar


Hours of Operation: 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday 


Contact: Owner Nicole Gordon-Couto, (209) 226-1226


History of Business: Dancing is a creative way for individuals of all ages to not only get their heart rates up but also artistically express themselves and hundreds of locals are already experiencing the benefits of several dance styles at On Your Toes Dance Studio in Hilmar.


A dancer of 27 years, On Your Toes owner Nicole Gordon-Couto has spent the last 19 years of her life teaching students her craft of dancing. After several years of instruction at a Modesto studio, Gordon-Couto decided to break off and invest in her own dance space.


"I really wanted to create a place where I could express my own feelings, creative approach to dance and standards," said Gordon-Couto. 


The studio caters to students from as young as two years old to adults and with more than 40 classes offered each week, a trained staff of five instructors teach several different dance styles including ballet, pointe, lyrical, jazz, hip-hop, baton, and tap. Gordon-Couto has plans to eventually incorporate Zumba dance, yoga and tumbling as well. 


On Your Toes Dance Studio also offers students ways to maintain their interest in dance outside of the studio through dance conventions as well as performances for which students may audition. For the past two years the On Your Toes dance team performed in Disneyland for the  Dance the Magic Diamond Classic, which provided dancers the opportunity to dance down Main Street in Disneyland.  


"After we went to Disneyland they just loved our girls and we were invited to perform for Disney on Broadway in July 2015," said Gordon-Couto.


As a healthy extracurricular for many students, dancing at On Your Toes not only provides dancers performative opportunities but the chance to develop proper technique and a healthy hobby whether the dancers are new or experienced.  


"Not only do the students learn to dance here but they learn to have fun and it boosts their self confidence," said Gordon-Couto. 


The number of students has more than doubled at On Your Toes Dance Studio since its grand opening in September 2012 with more than 200 students currently enrolled. While many students are Hilmar locals, many travel to On Your Toes from the surrounding areas including Los Banos, Modesto, Delhi, Livingston, Turlock and more.


"Word of mouth has been very big for us. I think the girls come and dance and they tell their friends at school. Since Hilmar is a small community word travels fast but it is a very dedicated and supportive community and I am very grateful for that," said Gordon-Couto.


Registration is open from now until mid-August for the 2014-2015 dance season at On Your Toes Dance Studio which begins Aug. 11. Scholarship programs are also available. Those interested in participating in the scholarship program or sponsoring a child can contact Gordon-Couto at 226-1226.