CriticalDance Forum

Broadway Dance Center may lose its home
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Author:  salzberg [ Wed Nov 23, 2005 5:28 am ]
Post subject:  Broadway Dance Center may lose its home

The Broadway Dance Center, which has shaped the dreams - and the legs - of Broadway-bound hoofers for more than two decades, may lose its home at 221 West 57th Street, becoming the latest example of how the heated real estate market is squeezing arts groups in the city.

The studio, one of the largest in the city, has been locked in a series of legal battles with its landlord, the Extell Development Company, since early September, when it received a notice of default on its lease. Studio representatives say the landlord is trying to push them out to develop the property; the landlord says it is an internal dispute over how to secure the building and nothing more.

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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:53 am ]
Post subject: 

Hey, we're not really expecting the Arts to stand in the way of making money, are we?

I guess dance artists are particularly vulnerable in a rising property market:

- it's an art form usually short of cash
- it requires large and specialised studio spaces to function properly

It's always been scary for the smaller companies, but when a thriving, financially successful organisation like this is struggling to find a place to operate, one wonders where it will all end.

For those who may say: "It's not all doom and gloom, look at the Mark Morris Dance Center," the circumstances that brought that to fruition, in particular, 3 years in Belgium, courtesy of the Belgian taxpyer, producing several of the signture works of the Company, are non-repeatable.

Maybe we will begin to see the situation that pertains in Russia where many of the most significant modern/contemporary dance companies are based away from Moscow/StP, as costs are simply too high for them there.

Author:  BadlyDrawnGirl [ Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:56 am ]
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I've taken a lot of classes at BDC and I'm sad to see this happen. The building management has really taken to harrassing the owners of the studio, and in turn the students...there was a failed attempt back in September to make everyone show an ID at the door which would delay check-ins and basically make a huge headache, and I'm SURE the class rates are going to go up soon - at $18 for a single class, they're already astronomical. BDC does take up a lot of space in prime territory (several floors in a large building on Columbus Circle) and unfortunately I'm not surprised at all that the management is trying to harrass them out of the place. The real estate market in NYC is just out of control, and places like BDC and other dance studios really suffer because they are not nearly as profitable as the building managers would like. (Many other studios, like Dancespace - where I now take classes - are housed in totally decrepit buildings with paint peeling off the walls/ceilings and whatnot.)

For a city that supposedly has such a vibrant arts scene, New York is a really hostile environment for dance studios. It's sad. :(

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Nov 23, 2005 11:33 am ]
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Thanks for your personal insights into the situation, bdg. It really doesn't sound good.

Author:  Guest [ Mon Nov 28, 2005 8:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

This has been going on for some time. The rising real estate market is what created the "mega-studios" such as BDC and Steps to begin with, in the 1990's. Before that, teachers usually had their own studios.

I'm not at all convinced that the mega-studios were a good thing to begin with, from the perspective of dance training.

As for the dancer, the cost of living in NYC is crazy.

It is for these reasons --- along with the spread of quality dance training across the country --- that NYC has already lost its primary position as THE place for all things dance. That's probably a good thing for the nation as a whole.

Garth Fagan is based in Rochester. That certainly makes life much easier for everyone involved.

Author:  Tom Skelton [ Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:19 pm ]
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I keep a database of arts companies in the US and Canada. It by no means has every single company, but it's pretty good; there are 2648 entries, 887 of which are ballet and modern dance companies. Of these, 228 are in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

Sure seems like THE place for all things dance to me.

Author:  citibob [ Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:58 pm ]
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That "Guest" was actually me, I keep posting as Guest by accident.

The recent movement of dance organizations out of Manhattan to Brooklyn is an obvious trend, and maybe not all that bad. However, it WILL make it harder to be involved with dance and with something else as well. In Manhattan, it's very easy to go between the dance studio and whatever else you were doing.

25% of dance organizations in Manhattan or Brooklyn. Doesn't surprise me. That means that NYC is THE thing for 1/4 of things dance. However, I would point out:

1. There are only two ballet companies in NYC that have any chance of being able to develop the average ballet dancer's career. Together they employ maybe 150 dancers. That's a LOT, really. But my point is, for the average ballet dancer who does not work for NYCB or ABT, you're better off career-wise at another ballet company outside of NYC.

2. In the "old" days (i.e. through the 1960's), NYC was the ONLY place for ballet. That is, if you were a dancer and you wanted to learn and perform any kind of quality ballet, then you HAD to go to NYC. That is no longer true. The New York companies are no longer considered to be the ONLY sort of quality or innovation in America, nor the ONLY place to dance in a serious way. Witness the change in terminology: in the 1960's, "regional ballet" meant anything outside of NYC and SFB --- Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet were all considered "regional" 40 years ago. Nowadays, all the "regional" companies from the 1960's have aspired to be more "world class", and the term "regional ballet" refers to small-city markets.

3. I am told that in modern dance, much more than in classical dance, it is still necessary to be in NYC to develop your career.

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