TAZEWELL, VA – APRIL 7, 2021 — The lack of a dance studio in Tazewell was something that spurred Emily Hinkle, of Cedar Bluff, to open the Tazewell Dance Center LLC in the Four-Way Shopping Center in North Tazewell. The dance center is the recipient of a recent $9,000 Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) seed capital matching grant.

From classical ballet, jazz and hip-hop to tap, modern, lyrical and contemporary, to pointe, improv, pom and tumbling, the studio has something to offer to students of all ages – children and adults. Classes are also taught in yoga and UltraBarre.

Hinkle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance from Radford University and in 2019, she won a national dance title. It was then she knew it was time to follow her lifelong dream of opening her own dance studio.

“Helping entrepreneurs to create jobs in the region is one of the primary goals of VCEDA’s seed capital matching grant fund,” said Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director/general counsel. “Oftentimes, the assistance provided through seed funding can make a real difference in a business starting out and getting off the ground. The Tazewell Dance Center LLC projects one full-time and one part-time employee.”

Hinkle noted she began dancing at age six, adding dance is a passion she has pursued for the past 22 years. She said she loves all forms of dance which is why the studio offers the wide variety of dance class  forms it does.

“I love them all,” Hinkle said. “Each one allows me to express myself in different ways.”

The same, she said, can be said for her students, who find their favorite dance forms as a way to express themselves. In addition to regular classes, the dance studio also fields competition dance teams.

While COVID-19 has meant some changes for how the studio functions, Hinkle said, it has remained open. Sanitizing is completed between classes; student temperatures are taken; and every precaution possible is being taken.

She said there are no age limits to dance, quipping, “if they can walk, they can dance.” So far, her youngest student, she said, has been 18 months old.

In addition to teaching classes, Hinkle has also opened a retail boutique in her storefront, which sells dance clothing, including leotards, tights and dance shoes, but with the seed capital funds, she said she hopes to expand items offered through the store even more.

“We plan to use the funding to buy inventory for the shop and more equipment for our dance and tumbling classes,” Hinkle said. “Props, mats, portable flooring and more are what we will use the funds for. It has really helped.”

Hinkle worked with the Small Business Development Center at Southwest Virginia Community College on the development of Tazewell Dance Center LLC’s business plan and application to VCEDA. The Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority wrote a letter of support for the project.

For more information about the Tazewell Dance Center, interested persons may visit https://tazewelldancecenter.wixsite.com/tdcdance or their page on Facebook.

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.

About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.