has been an artistic anchor in our community for over 25 years. A couple of years ago, Dance Place President Carla Perlo told us about a major renovation plan for the Dance Place building and facilities.
Now, just a couple of weeks shy of the Grand Re-Opening celebrations starting September 6, we connected with Carolyn Kamrath, Communications Director for Dance Place, to learn more about this big project, which is just one part of the Moving Forward Campaign. From the Dance Place website: “The Campaign has the following three aspects: expansion and renovation of the main facility, program enhancement and the establishment of a building and cash reserve to improve the financial underpinning of the organization that will sustain the spirit of creativity for the next thirty years.”
Why did Dance Place decide to undertake this project?
Dance Place moved to Brookland in 1986 and renovated a large warehouse into a theater and office spaces. Since then there have been no major renovations and the building has been well used and well loved for 28 years! After all that time, we were ready to elevate our building to the same high quality level as our programming and ensure that the building would be ready for another 30 years of audiences, artists, young people and neighbors.
Tell us about the re-model. Will the updated facilities allow you to do new/additional programs?
The entire building was re-done as part of the renovations! We made major upgrades to the theater in terms of technical capacity, an enclosed tech booth and new comfortable seating; the lobby was completely redesigned to be more open and includes a new Box Office and cafe/bar area; we doubled the size of our backstage dressing room and then added a new dance studio on the 2nd floor above the dressing room; and finally we expanded our office space on the 2nd floor. Already this summer we’ve been enjoying the added space for our summer camp, which includes 50 campers and 23 teenage Junior Staff members! We look forward to using the new studio this Fall for added classes, rehearsal space for artists, and as a green room for weekend performances so that dancers can warm up. And our tech team is thrilled to have more tools for showcasing weekend performances through enhanced lighting and sound equipment.
This project has been in the works for a number of years – how did it finally come together?
When Artspace Projects Inc. was looking for a site in DC to build their artist lofts, the DC Department of Housing and Community Development connected their team with Dance Place, suggesting Brookland as an ideal site. Originally the plan was to build one large campus across our two properties that would encompass Dance Place’s theater and studios, as well as having live/work units above for artists. Upon further research it was not possible to build across the alley way between our two buildings, so we split the projects into two distinct phases: Artspace developed their Lofts with support from Dance Place in rallying the community and connecting them to DC artists; and now Dance Place completed our own renovations, making a more unified campus between our two organizations. Dance Place is grateful to the many foundations, corporations, government entities and individual donors who have supported our Moving Forward Capital Campaign and made our renovations a reality! Thanks to our supporters, we have raised $3.7 of our $5 million goal. We are continuing to raise funds to complete construction costs, enhance programming and increase building/operational reserves. To make a contribution to the Moving Forward Campaign, visit danceplace.org/donate
How can neighbors support this community asset?
Join us! From our free Art on 8th programming on the Monroe St. Market Arts Walk to our classes and performances, you can be a part of the Dance Place family. As Brookland grows and new neighbors move in, we hope long time residents will be the first to recommend Dance Place to new residents. We appreciate our neighbors serving as connectors and advocates for us – if you have suggestions for partnerships, funding opportunities or programming ideas, please always feel free to discuss with a Dance Place staff member.
What are the best ways for the community to keep track of Dance Place events?
Keep track of Dance Place by:
- Signing up for our email list at danceplace.org
- Grabbing our monthly events postcard in the Dance Place lobby
- Connecting to us on social media: Facebook.com/danceplacedc and Twitter.com/danceplace
Here is a line-up of the events that take place during the Grand Re-Opening Celebration Week:
September 6 – 13, 2014
Join us to celebrate the new and improved Dance Place!
Be In Brookland / Community Open House
Saturday, September 6 from 10am – 10pm
Free classes, performances and tours throughout the day at locations up and down 8th St NE in Brookland – Dance Place, Brookland Artspace Lofts, Edgewood Arts Center, Studio 21 and the Arts Walk at Monroe St. Market! End the night with an energetic dance party at Dance Place led by DC Casineros. Visit danceplace.org for event schedule.
Tickets: Free classes and outdoor activities. $15 Cuban Dance Social.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Wednesday, September 10 from 4pm – 6pm
Join us as we officially inaugurate our renovated space and celebrate 28 years as a cultural anchor in Brookland.
Gala Celebration & Performance
Saturday, September 13 from 6:30pm – 11pm
Celebrate our re-opening with a party and performance that highlights our diverse programming and beautifully renovated space. Featuring Baakari Wilder with live jazz by Herb Spice & the Cinnamonstix, Coyaba Women & Youth Drum Ensemble, PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER and a collaborative piece choreographed by Shannon Quinn and Sylvia Soumah for ReVision dance company and Coyaba Dance Theater. Plus a new commissioned work choreographed by Dance Place’s Co-Director Deborah Riley in honor of Howard and Geraldine Polinger.
Tickets $150 ($125 tax deductible donation)
Individual Sponsorships $400 ($300 tax deductible donation)