For Carolyn Simpson Wells, owner and director of Dance by Design Studios, dancing has served as a crucial instrument for self-expression since she was young. “My mom says that I used to walk around on my tippy-toes all the time, so she put me into dance class when I was 3,” Wells said.

Originally from Georgia, Wells studied dance at the University of Georgia before beginning a professional dance career performing on cruise ships and later joining the Radio City Rockettes for six years.

After marrying her husband, Thomas, the couple moved to New Braunfels, and Wells opened Dance by Design in 2014.

“I always wanted to start my own studio, but when I found out I was having my daughter that was kind of the impetus to do it,” Wells said.

She signed the lease for the studio’s North Walnut Avenue location three days after her daughter’s birth and began offering classes

10 months later. For Wells, the studio was created to offer students a place to gain confidence and experience the same joy through dancing that she has.

Dancers learn how to improve their own techniques, but also how to exude confidence and work as a team through choreography in preparation for recitals, Wells said.

In 2019, the studio opened a second location in downtown New Braunfels where dancers of all ages can learn and practice a variety of dance styles.When the coronavirus pandemic began in March of 2020, Wells and her team transitioned to virtual classes for all dancers before shifting to a hybrid model in June.

“When we went to all Zoom classes we kept our same exact schedule and the same teachers, which is a huge benefit for everybody, and the kids had that consistency,” Wells said.In the future Wells hopes to expand her studio to more locations throughout the Hill Country.

“There’s just something about when you dance, it really just like makes you joyful,” Wells said. “It comes from your heart and your soul.”

Dance by Design Studios

The Oaks: 1551 N. Walnut Ave., Ste. 34, New Braunfels

Downtown: 139 N. Castell Ave., Ste. 500, New Braunfels

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-noon and 4-8 p.m., closed Sat. and Sun.