Do you want to get moving somewhere other than the mall on Black Friday this year? Philadelphia's own Millennium Dance Complex
, taking over the old Pearl Arts & Crafts building at 417 South Street, promises to be open by November 28.
Lori Ramsay Long, who lives with her teenage daughter in Gloucester Township, N.J., is the newest owner and studio director of a Millennium Dance Complex franchise. There are currently eight locations operating or getting ready to open their doors, including spaces in Tokyo, North Hollywood, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.
Long, an alum of Florida State University, Rowan University, Thomas Jefferson University and Drexel College of Medicine, has worked as a forensic scientist, ER nurse and biology professor -- and she also has 20 years’ experience in the dance and fitness world.
Long's first step towards opening Philly's Millennium franchise was her daughter’s love of dance. Kylie is currently a member of the Broadway Dance Center
’s teen program, but it’s a killer commute. Before she was old enough to take a train or bus on her own, driving her to Manhattan and back "literally consumed every single weekend from Friday to Sunday," recalls Long.
Despite Philly being full of great dance programs and institutions, Long was always surprised that the city didn’t have any broadly accessible drop-in dance training center: that is, a roster of flexible, professionally-taught, one-time classes open to all instead of specific dance courses working toward a degree or recital.
Many dance enthusiasts, from busy working moms and dads to students, want "ongoing advanced education" in dance without enrolling in a specific course, explains Long.
Enter Philly’s new 39,000-square-foot space, which will offer 90-minute classes in a range of genres, all for $15 dollars each. So far, the Millennium brand is drawing choreographers and trainers who work with stars like Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Usher and Beyonce.
The first floor will feature four dance studios. The second floor will boast a childcare space, and the third will host industry video and photo shoots. There will also be a 5,000-square-foot roof space and 7,000-square-foot basement under it all with a running track, tumbling mats and other fitness areas.
And that's just the first phase: the second, with a planned 2015 finish, will include a retail area, a spa and massage zone, performance rehearsal space, and event space available for rent.
"The South Street community really wanted something cultural in that building," something "artsy and eclectic," says Long. "The dance community is starving for this."
Author: Alaina Mabaso
Source: Lori Ramsay Long, Millennium Dance Complex