A Canberra mother of two has shaped the lives of more than 350 students through dance.
Holly Diggle always wanted to create a space where people of all ages and abilities could express themselves.
In 2006, she brought her dreams to life when she became the studio director for Dance Northside in Kaleen.
She now has 369 students enrolled, ranging from 18 months to dancers in their 70s.
The studio owner’s success has recently been acknowledged with several finalist nominations in national awards.
“It feels good to have my business model recognised as unique, successful and industry leading,” Holly said.
“We provide age-appropriate, recreational dance classes in a safe and supportive environment.”
Holly is a finalist in: the Australian Small Business Champion Awards; the AusMumpreneur Awards in the People’s Choice category – ‘Making a Difference: Local Community Business’, and the ‘Business Pivot’ category; and the 2022 Altitude Awards in the Community Connector Awards category.
The nominations recognise a combination of innovation, growth, product development and sustainability in businesses, as well as shining a spotlight on leaders and entrepreneurs achieving great things in their communities.
Holly felt a raft of emotions when reflecting on what she had achieved at the studio over the years.
“I’m really proud of our community at the studio. We do things a little differently at Northside, and we are purely a recreational community-focused studio,” Holly said.
“The studio’s values are kindness, respect, and community. I think everything we have done aligns with those values, which has helped us achieve great success.
“It’s a real privilege and honour to have a studio that is unique and recognised.”
Holly’s finalist nomination in the AusMumpreneur Awards for the ‘Business Pivot’ category, presented by The Women’s Business School, was a standout.
She said it recognised her success in balancing the role of mother and business owner during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time in which she also gave birth to her second child.
“Navigating my business, body and family through the transition to online dance classes was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Holly said.
Holly’s training and experience has also helped her to create a supportive and inclusive environment for students, and strive for a holistic approach to dance education. She has a Bachelor of Dance Performance (Theory and Practice), a Diploma in Dance Teaching and Management from the Australian Teachers of Dancing (ATOD), and an RYT 200hr Yoga Teacher Certificate.
Holly now plans to make her studio more diverse.
“My goal down the track is to grow this studio potentially with a second location, but in less traditional dance setting,” she said. “This would include offering some yoga, and maybe some acrobatic arts and things like that.
“I just want to continue supporting other women in business to become the best and brightest version of themselves.”