Looking for a new way to work out? Express yourself creatively? Or maybe learn some classic moves?
You’ll find whatever you’re looking for at three different dance studios — all located on Garnet Avenue. Each offers something different, depending on how you want to shake — or shimmy — your booty.
The newest studio is The Facility at 1414 Garnet Ave., which opened in April. It offers more than a dozen styles of dance classes, including Latin Hip Hop, Jazz Funk, Popping, Locking, Breaking, House, Krump and Urban Choreo. Not enough?
Then try Burlesque, Twerking or Heels. Owners Joe and Leila Carlson and instructor Richie P opened the studio together, and each had their reasons. The Carlsons were looking for a business opportunity and were drawn to the idea of a dance studio because their son, Tristan, loves to dance. “We tried soccer, we tried baseball, we tried swimming,” Joe explains. “When Tristan discovered dance, it was the freedom he loved. He’s a breaker traditionally; now he’s doing more hip hop. He loves the freedom to express himself.”
Richie P has been a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer for almost 20 years. The couple met Richie through dance classes Tristan had taken and decided to combine their goals. As Richie explains it: “I wanted to have a secure future for dance. Like literally, this is all I’ve got. I ran a family catering business for 20 years. I started dancing out of high school and just kept training. I want to be able to do this forever. This is my vision.”
Richie has trained dancers who went on to perform with Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson and Rihanna. “To be able to see them on TV,” he expounds, “and to be part of that journey that they’re on, it’s amazing.”
The Facility has two dance spaces — the Steel Room and the Brick Room. Each has a high-performance sound system, wood-sprung floors designed to absorb shock, and video-recording capabilities. The lobby has two monitors, each showing a live feed of classes. The Facility welcomes all levels of dancers — from a mother-and-infant “Baby Beats” class, to sessions for seniors in their 70s.
Sessions are $10-$15 per class, with lower rates for packages and membership deals. Right now, there is a $125 monthly special for unlimited classes.
Tap Fever Dance Studio
Down the road at 2180 Garnet, you’ll find Tap Fever Dance Studio, which specializes in tap, but offers a variety of other dance classes. Owner Lerisa Hall has operated dance studios in other locations for 10 years. She opened this studio in 2015, and says her motivation sprung from a childhood condition.
“When I was born, I had severely club feet — they were turned way, way in,” she recounts. “I was in a lot of pain, especially in elementary school. Doctors said ‘Do ballet, that should help.’ So I took it all — ballet, jazz and tap when I was growing up. And I really loved it, so I just continued with it.”
As an adult, Lerisa said she searched for an adult tap class and couldn’t find one. So she decided to start her own. Tap also offers ballet, hip hop, and contemporary jazz for children, teens, and adults at all skill levels, with a viewing gallery up front.
But what sets Tap Fever apart from other studios isn’t just the tap classes. Lerisa set up her business as a nonprofit 501(c)3, so she could offer programs for kids and adults with disabilities, while offering financial-aid programs and military discounts. “Basically, I just don’t want there to ever be a reason why somebody can’t take classes or can’t do dance,” she explains. “Whatever it is, I try to make it work.”
Lerisa teaches a class for adults on the autism spectrum at noon on Thursdays. “They love it, they have so much fun. It’s great seeing how much they enjoy it and how much they improve,” she says. She also gives private lessons to a woman with no arms who is also deaf and wears a cochlear implant.
Tap Fever offers 15-week sessions for $180 for one class a week. You can take a single class for $15, and members of the military receive a 5-percent discount. Students can also apply for a fee waiver that can cover anywhere from 50- to 100-percent off. Tap Fever also offers an unlimited class special for $500 a month.
Dancing Together Studio
In the same complex at 2180 Garnet Ave., you’ll find the Dancing Together studio, run by owner Rebecca Grohowski. Dancing Together has been operating for 14 years at this location. Rebecca recalls why she felt passionately about opening her studio: “I wanted a place that was different from other studios. Beginners can get lost at larger studios and there can be a lot of distractions to slow down their learning. We offer private lessons in a private setting. It’s just the student and the <fz,1,0,9> instructor in the room, so it’s easy to stay focused.”
Rebecca draws clients who are preparing to dance at a special event — like the first dance at their wedding — and also many singles who want to learn social dancing as a way to meet new people. Salsa and swing are the most popular lessons requested.
“They’re both fast and fun with lots of spinning and fancy moves,” she explains. “In San Diego, it’s easy to find a place to dance almost any night of the week. And believe it or not, the traditional ballroom dances like Foxtrot, Waltz and Tango are still very popular. It’s such a classy skill to learn. We’re definitely seeing a resurgence in interest.”
The cost of a private lesson at Dancing Together is $65-$75, depending on how many lessons you purchase at a time. There is an introductory lesson for $35. There are no large packages and students are welcome to pay lesson to lesson.
Dancing Together also offers something called “the Alexander Technique.”
“This is not specifically a dance technique, but rather a unique way of learning to be more at ease in your body,” Rebecca explains. “Students learn to use less effort to do whatever it is they’re doing. It’s used to improve performance in almost any physical endeavor, and it’s also great for relieving back pain.”
If you’re interested in learning more about any of the three studios, call or visit their websites.
• The Facility: (858) 900-2352. thefacilitysd.com
• Tap Fever: (858) 456-7301. tapfever.com
• Dancing Together: (619) 787-6376. dancingtogether.com