A POPULAR dance school in Halesowen has celebrated its move to a bigger venue after growing too big for its old home.

La’Pelle Academy of Dance, which was opened by professional dancer Nicole Penn in 2016, has hosted a grand opening at its new Halesowen College base.

Nicole returned to her hometown to launch La’Pelle at Gym 212 just over a year ago, after studying at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

And with more than 50 students on her books, Nicole – who has successfully competed in dance competitions across the country as well as various Birmingham Hippodrome productions – decided to move to the college’s Whittingham Road site to allow her school to grow even further.

The former member of the Birmingham Royal Ballet School said: “I’m surprised we have grown as much as we have in such a short space of time, and I think that most of it has come through word of mouth.

“We have done so much over the years, we’ve competed in competitions all over the country and took part in workshops with Wayne Sleep and Ashley Banjo from Diversity, that people have begun to find out about us and then recommended the school to others.

“We got to the stage where we couldn’t grow any more due to the space at Gym 212 and needed somewhere bigger that could to accommodate us, so we’ve been fortunate to find a new home at Halesowen College.

“We’ve been given use of two of the dancing studios, with sprung floors and ballet bars, as well as the theatre, which is so much better for us.”

Nicole, an ex-Halesowen College student herself, currently runs classes for youngsters from three-years-old all the way through to adults on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

She added: “As the college uses the facilities in the day it means that the school can hold our sessions in the evenings and at weekends.

“I run all the classes by myself – with great difficulty – but I absolutely love it.”