At Tip Tap Toe, there’s more to dance than striking that perfect pose.

People choose to participate in dance for many reasons.

For Nicole Ceccarelli, owner of Tip Tap Toe, it’s always been a deeply rooted safe place and an important form of self-expression.

“I was adopted when I was four,” she says. “At first, I was really introverted with my adoptive parents. They tried putting me in soccer, baseball, basketball…so many sports. Then they put me in dance. That was the thing that clicked. That was the thing that helped me communicate who I am. So we love the dancers who are firecrackers, we love the ones who are compliant, we love every form of them because we see them grow as human beings,” says Ceccarelli. “Our goal is for you to leave this studio not a better dancer, but a better person.

Located in the Industrial Park of Benicia, Tip Tap Toe has clearly made its mark on our small town.

As they celebrate their 10-year anniversary with many of the original staff members seeing Tip Tap Toe grow throughout the years, their competition team EDGE has also been awarded the prestigious Studio of Excellence Award by the ADCC (Association of Dance Competition).

“They check out a bunch of dance studios that are at 3-day competitions,” says Ceccarelli. “The award is based on what they see backstage: interactions between teacher-to-student, student-to-parent, student-to-student. They value striving for excellence, but also how everyone interacts with one another in a positive way. And it’s really special for us to receive, because we all support one another. It’s exciting to get an award, to have them see who we are inside this studio. We have students that aren’t on the competition team that show up in the morning and stay all day just to root for their fellow dancers. It’s really cool.”

From extra touches like coveted WOW cards for going above and beyond (have you stayed to help clean up the studio? Did you help tie a younger dancer’s shoes?) to unique opportunities to participate in Dance The Magic at Disneyland (this year will be the SPOOK-Tastic Halloween Parade, September 31st-October 2nd), it’s clear that Ceccarelli is deeply passionate about creating this special environment for all. After the past few years undoubtedly being a challenge for many, this award is extra meaningful—it forced an unprecedented opportunity for a bigger bond to develop organically within the studio, too.

“You think that you’ve seen it all, and you go through COVID,” she says.

“It was tough on so many levels, but there were positives that came out of it. Kids had to learn to speak through their own body language and eye contact. The littlest ones navigated how to put their own shoes on and go to get their own water, so they became more independent. And with the waiting rooms being closed, the parents had to really trust us with their kids (the waiting rooms reopened in April and Ceccarelli shared that the parents were so excited to see what they’ve been doing).

Ceccarelli was initially wondering what would happen to the studio with COVID, but participation interest has only continued to grow. She has recently added more classes, including on Saturdays, to make space for more students wishing to dance.

“For somebody like me, who hasn’t always had a family, it’s incredible to see it come tenfold,” she says.

If your child is interested in getting in on the fun, May is the time to do so! Auditions for the EDGE competition team are May 21st-22nd, open enrollment for existing students is May 23rd, and open enrollment for new students is May 27th. Find out more information at

Students stretching at Tip Tap Toe