A COUPLE who own a dance studio in Stroud, which has been in their family since 1999, have celebrated a successful remodelling in time for its 18th birthday.

Sam and Martina Ellis, 34 and 38 respectively, are the owners of Britannia Dance Studios in Cainscross, and have recently completed a total renovation.

The husband and wife duo have two children, three-year-old Ella Maria and eight-month old Liam, who are already keen dancers, much like their parents who are also tutors at the studio.

Sam’s mum and dad, David and Christina Ellis, opened the studio on August 19 1999 and have since passed on the reins.

“We welcome people of all abilities, no experience is required and we have classes for three-year-olds all the way up to seniors, every style of dance from street to tap and Martina teaches Zumba and fitness classes,” said Sam, who became fully qualified as a dance tutor nine years ago.

“When my dad started the studio it was essentially just a shed so it’s great to have it looking as great as it does now, and it’s already been going down well with people who have tried it out.

“I was inspired to start dancing by my parents and had a passion for music and the different dance styles like ballroom and Latin, it’s also a fun and rewarding skill that you can learn side by side with your partner.

“It’s not all about competition either, although we do have pupils who compete in the area – just like how me and Martina used to – but it’s also about being social, and keeping in shape.

“Our pupils enjoy the social side of things but also the exercise benefits.

“It’s a way for people to express themselves too, it means something different to each person, and they can try many different styles, but it isn’t necessarily about being technical either.

“We want to get people inspired by dance and have a try of a bit of everything.”

Sam and Martina are hosting an open day to officially unveil the refurbished studio on Saturday, August 19 from 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm.

Members of the public can come and see the new space and find out about classes on offer at the studio for the summer and the new September term.

This has been planned to coincide with the new season of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

A grand opening ballroom dance will be held on Sunday, August 20 on the studio’s official 18th birthday.