Dance Place: From Adams Morgan to Brookland

Dance Place

I met with Carlo Perlo, Founder and Executive/Artistic Director of Dance Place, last month to talk about the organization and the Brookland community. I found myself asking a lot of questions about the neighborhood and why they chose to move there from Adams Morgan. I guess living in the Dupont/Logan area got me interested in the topic of gentrification and how it affects local businesses.

From 1980 to 1985, Dance Place rented a space on 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan. According to Perlo, gentrification and quadrupled rent forced the organization to find a new space. If she couldn’t find a permanent location for Dance Place, Perlo said it would have been the end. She wasn’t renting anymore. Luckily, she did secure a Metro-accessible place in the Brookland neighborhood near Catholic University where the organization remains today.

Her other choice for Dance Place was the current location of The Studio Theatre on 14th Street NW. Needless to say, that area went through some dramatic changes of its own since the 1980s. I imagine if they had decided to move to Logan Circle in 1986 that they would be facing a similar situation now. When asked why she chose Brookland over 14th Street, Perlo said it was a safer neighborhood. Perhaps Perlo had a crystal ball to look into the future because Brookland turned out to be the perfect area for the dance organization.

“Low cost housing will stay affordable,” she said about Brookland. “There are efforts to maintain a better balance of citizens from different economic backgrounds.”

She mentioned the Edgewood Terrace housing complex in Northeast DC as an example. And now thanks to Dance Place’s partnership with Artspace, whose mission is to create, foster and preserve affordable space for artists and arts organization, the area will have even more affordable live/work units available to residents.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Brookland Artspace Lofts, an informational meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 26th from 10am to noon at Source on 14th Street NW. For more information about Dance Place and their programming which Perlo describes as high quality, affordable and innovative, visit their website.

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