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Meet Tina Nico, Choreographer and Co-Founder of City Dance Corps, One of Toronto’s Leading Dance Schools

She led one of the largest group Salsa dances with 2,500 people in an attempt to break three Guinness World Records

Tina Nico is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of City Dance Corps, one of Toronto, Canada’s leading dance schools. As a choreographer, Tina has worked on productions like North America’s Dirty Dancing, Instant Beauty Pageant on E!, HGTV’s Home Heist, CBC’s Fashion File, a number of music videos and short films, and she was tapped to choreograph Nelly Furtado’s Mi Plan tour. 

Specializing in Jazz, Pop, and Latin Dance, Tina has been featured in several TV shows and publications like MuchMusic, CBC’s Living in Toronto, Elle Magazine, Dolce Magazine, Sun TV, Omni 1’s Here and Now, and her work with the City Dance Corps has been featured on Splice TV’s Three Takes, City TV’s Breakfast Television, Real Life on CTS, and the National Post

As a performer and instructor, Tina has taught all over the world, and in 2013, she led one of the largest group Salsa dances with 2,500 people in an attempt to break three Guinness World Records. A passionate advocate for dance, Tina’s latest work features creating nonprofit youth programs.

My first job ever was… working at a Tim Hortons drive-through when I was 15 years old. 

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… it wasn’t the original plan, but when I realized that I would be in my zone of genius when I could have full creative autonomy, being an entrepreneur was the only way I could fulfill that dream. 

I founded City Dance Corps because… I wanted a place where people of all ages and abilities could be free to learn and grow physically, mentally, and artistically without judgement. I also recognized the power of community, and having a like-minded community with individuals pursuing their dreams provides a safe place for others to do so as well.  

I’m passionate about the arts because… art, in all its forms, represents the inherent need for humans to express themselves in their most authentic form. Art tells our stories, our history, and our future. Art is joy, art preserves our culture, and art is our way of understanding things about the world and our existence that can’t be understood through words. 

My proudest accomplishment is… building a community that has endured throughout the years and truly making a difference in the lives of those who are part of that it. We have seen people heal through illness, meet the love of their life in a dance class, and find happiness through dark times. 

My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is… persevere. No matter what, you have to persevere. There will be obstacles throughout your journey, whether you are just starting out, or you are already established. You can never give up. Secondly, relationships are so important! Build connections with others, honour those relationships, and stay loyal to them. If you conduct yourself with integrity, those relationships will always be there to support you, especially in tough times. 

The one piece of advice I give that I have trouble following myself is… delegating! It’s so hard to delegate work when the work is your ‘baby,’ but a superwoman can’t do it all by herself. Knowing how to delegate is a skill that I’m still working on!

The thing I love most about what I do is… enjoying the fruits of my labour. Whether that’s creating a compelling performance that leaves the audience feeling inspired or a beginner dancer mastering a move for the first time, knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s day is the biggest reward.

If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… the relationships I’ve created along the way with others in the industry. They say it takes a village to raise a family, but it also takes one to last over 20 years in the industry. Not only do relationships build your support system, your reputation helps build future business. 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that I’m a single mom of two amazing kids who are already better dancers than I could ever be!

I stay inspired by… connecting with nature and exposing myself to other art forms, like music and visual art.

The future excites me because… I know that with the skills I have developed over the years as a business owner, I will always land on my feet no matter what I do.  That confidence took years to establish, but it helps me to no longer fear the unknown of what’s ahead. 

My next step is… right foot forward, then left foot forward; 5, 6, 7, 8, and now I’m dancing!