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Jenny Dalzell on Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013
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By now you’ve probably seen the unfortunate news that New York City’s downtown studio Dance New Amsterdam will close its doors October 15. This comes after an announcement in May when DNA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (though that wasn’t the first time that the studio had announced funding issues.) Daily dance classes will continue until October 13, but DNA’s performance season has been cancelled and the studio is currently looking for new space. Since moving to its current home at 280 Broadway a few years ago, DNA has reached a huge number of adult students, somatic practitioners, and contemporary performance groups.
To make matters worse, DNA is not the only New York studio facing closing time. Diana Byer’s New York Theatre Ballet and its affiliate Ballet School NY is being forced to relocate at the end of this month. A New York Times article stated that NYTB’s midtown home—the fifth floor of a parish house of a 100-year-old Baptist Church—has plenty of structural problems and will need to be knocked down. Those of you who have been in the space know that the building’s old NY-charm, with its wooden detail lining the walls of the hallowing studio, is not often seen nowadays and not likely to be replaced.
Part of the charm of NYTB itself is its link to the past. Founded in 1978, the chamber-sized ballet company is dedicated to preserving classic ballet and modern works, and Ballet School NY is purely Cecchetti-based. (Byer trained with both Margaret Craske and Antony Tudor, and as a répétiteur for the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust, she regularly sets Tudor’s work on ballet companies, including ABT in 2009.) NYTB has been in its current location since the beginning. And since 1989, the studio has also been home to NYTB’s LIFT Community Service Program, which teaches homeless and at-risk youth.
Let’s hope that the companies will both find swift saving graces to continue their service to New York and the greater dance community.