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Bringing dance to the community

A Wodonga dance teacher with more than 20 years of experience is on a mission to create a fun, safe and affordable space for people of all ages to dance.

Deanna Merriman ran a series of dance workshops at Wodonga’s community centres late last year to launch her new business – 5, 6, 7, 8 Dance Co. 

“The community centres are a great place to start, they are family-friendly and a home away from home which suits my values,” she said. 

“The workshops helped to get my name out there and show people what I could offer.”

Word spread quick, with dance classes filling fast for term one. 

“I was going to be happy with five or six in a class, but I have 22 kids in one class, 15 in the preschool program and 10 in another,” she said. 

Deanna offers a range of dance classes including mixed dance – jazz, hip hop and contemporary, as well as acro dance and acro contortion.

“I want to create a fun and safe place for families because I want kids to love it and leave the class feeling excited. 

“It’s about making sure kids all leave with a smile.”

Classes run on Mondays and Thursdays at Felltimber Community Centre and Tuesdays at Baranduda Community Centre.

Deanna has enough names on a wait list to run more classes.

“I will expand on the classes for next term because there’s interest for a boys’ hip hop and a tiny tots’ class,” she said.

“I am also excited to announce I now offer contortion as an add-on from our acrobatic arts program.”

Deanna attributes a lot of her business success to her planning, taking advantage of the government’s free mentoring sessions to help new businesses thrive following the pandemic. 

“I put in eight months of work before I went to my accountant and so it was all well thought out,” she said.

Deanna has created her own range of dancewear and merchandise for her students, which has become a hit with her own children sporting the clothing on any given day. 

“My children are like a walking advertisement – it’s great,” she said. 

Wodonga Council Community Centres Co-ordinator Amanda Crisp said the dance company was a great addition to the existing programs on offer at both community centres.

“These programs build skills and confidence, while bringing people together,” she said.

“We are fortunate to have such a high quality dance school in the local area, with amazing support for the new dance groups and their teacher, Deanna.

“There is a buzz of excitement and energy and already the program has had a great response.”

Those interested can try a class for free.

Contact Deanna on 0400 131 873 or email 5678dancecoinfo@gmail.com

The business also offers dance party packages that include games, music, costumes, lights, food and drinks.

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Wodonga Council acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of the Country. We also acknowledge them as Traditional Owners and Custodians across various lands. We pay our respect to their Ancestors, Elders, children and young people. We acknowledge the strength and resilience of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and recognise their continuous connections to lands, waters and communities across the country.