17-year-old Charlottetown entrepreneur opens dance business

Lacey Koughan loves to dance so much that she decided to open her own dance school. Last week, just before turning 17, Koughan waltzed down to the provincial building to register her new business, 24 Dance. She's starting small: for now, she'll teach a few classes at Kitnetic Fitness.

'Ever since I was 12, my dream was to open my own dance school'

Colonel Gray High School student Lacey Koughan has realized her dream. She's teaching dance classes at a local gym. (Pat Martel)

Lacey Koughan loves to dance so much that she decided to open her own dance school.

Last week, just before turning 17, Koughan waltzed down to the provincial building to register her new business, 24 Dance. She's starting small: for now, she's using space at Kitnetic Fitness to teach a few classes.
     
"Ever since I was 12, my dream was to open my own dance school, so I have like a million different designs and buildings, but I didn't think I'd ended up doing it when I was only 17. Actually, I got the idea when I was 16," Koughan said.

Lacey Koughan is flying high as she takes on a new business while still in high school. (Pat Martel)

Koughan has been dancing for most of her life, since she was four years old. She said she really enjoys teaching little kids how to dance and sharing her passion with others.

"I've been teaching dance for almost four years now, so I do have a lot of experience with that. So it's just through connections and people that I know from teaching previous experiences, people I babysit, just getting the word out that way." 

Ever since I was 12, my dream was to open my own dance school.- Lacey Koughan

The Grade 11 student from Colonel Gray credits the school's co-op work placement program for the opportunity. Koughan spends three days a week at the new Kinetic Fitness gym on Queen Street, doing everything from sweeping floors to learning about the world of business.  

Co-owner Nick MacDonald said he's glad to help out the young entrepreneur by allowing her to use space in his gym to hold her dance classes.

"We just felt it was a good opportunity for us to pay things forward. We had a lot of help as young entrepreneurs to get set up here, and we just thought it would be a good opportunity for Lacey to try doing her own thing," said MacDonald.

Nick MacDonald, co-owner of Kinetic Fitness on Queen Street, is mentoring Koughan. (Pat Martel)

"She's got a ton of drive. Lacey's here five days a week at 6 am, so whether she's in here doing her co-op, training herself, or dancing, she's just always on the go," he said. 

What sets her new classes apart from most others, says Koughan, is that she plans to create a competitive dance team to travel off-Island.

She is using her own money to set up the business for the most part, she says. It's money she's earned from working at other jobs, including a stint last summer with the Confederation Centre's Young Company. 

Koughan plans to begin teaching her first dance class on April 14 and said she's already signed up 25 students for the three weekly classes. 

"Everyone I talk to thinks it's awesome that I'm going for it, instead of just thinking that I have to wait until I'm older, because if I believe I'm ready and I have the tools that I need, then why not start it now," she said.

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story indicated Lacey Koughlan was opening a dance studio. In fact, she's opening a dance school where she'll teach classes using space at a local gym.
    Mar 30, 2016 12:21 PM AT

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