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New studio gives Pine Island Dance more room

July 3, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

A dance studio that has been a part of the island for 27 years moved to a larger location in Matlacha last month.

Carolyn Helin, owner and director of Pine Island Dance, said they moved June 1 to the new location, the same plaza as the Matlacha Post Office. She said she decided to move across the street to the new studio because it offered more space.

"The second studio is giving me a lot of options," she said.

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The girls of Pine Island Dance practiced a new routine that their instructor demonstrated Tuesday afternoon during class.

Now with two studios, Helin can offer night classes for adults, along with classes for the youngsters at the same time.

The adult classes, which are ongoing, include zumba, yoga, specialty classes and private lessons in salsa and line dancing.

Helin said she contracts instructors in for zumba and salsa. She said she is always looking to introduce new styles to the community for instructors who want to get their name out there.

There is no commitment for the adult classes due to payments due per class.

Zumba is $5 a class and is offered on Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m. Yoga classes will begin in July, but the time and price of the class are still being determined.

Pine Island Dance originally began in the Industrial Park before moving to Bokeelia and then finally Matlacha.

Four years ago, Helin's dream became a reality when she became the owner of the studio.

"I don't know anything else," she said of dance. "I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else."

Helin began dancing when she was 3 years old after her mother signed her up for classes. The passion grew and she continued to dance when she moved to Pine Island when she was in 5th grade at Pine Island Dance.

She now shares that passion with the youngsters.

Helin said she sees a desire in the girls who want to dance and turn it into a career.

"I get to know these girls and watch them grow," she said.

Her excitement grows when she sees them perform as well because of her accomplishment in teaching them how to dance.

"It is a fun and nourishing environment," Helin said of the studio.

The summer classes for the youngsters began toward the end of June, which includes ongoing registration. Registration for fall classes will be held Aug. 1 and 2, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., which will include classes until June of next year.

"The enrollment is ongoing always for all ages," she said.

The forms of dance taught at the studio include tap, Cecchetti method of ballet, jazz, lyrical, creative dance and hip hop for youngsters 3-18 years old.

In addition to Helin, there are also two other instructors at the studio - Sheli Thompson-Gauthier and Kristin Martorelli. Helin said she bought the studio from Thompson-Gauthier.

There are many packages available for the youngsters to take part in dance classes. For a half an hour a week it is $30 for the month and an hour a week is $48 for the month. There is also a package available with unlimited classes for $155 a month.

In addition to the classes, Helin and her dancers are very involved in the community. She said Pine Island Dance can provide entertainment for organizations that are doing local events.

For information, visit or call 239-283-4600.



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