Downtown Dance Factory Adds Studios to Meet Demand

By Julie Shapiro on November 9, 2011 5:28pm | Updated on November 10, 2011 9:21am

Hanne Larsen, co-founder of the Downtown Dance Factory, helps a young ballerina with her arabesque shortly after opening the studio on Reade Street this fall.
Hanne Larsen, co-founder of the Downtown Dance Factory, helps a young ballerina with her arabesque shortly after opening the studio on Reade Street this fall.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

TRIBECA — The Downtown Dance Factory is already expanding, just one year after opening its TriBeCa studio.

The kid and adult-friendly studio is adding 3,200 square feet just below its current space on the fifth floor of 291 Broadway, with two more dance rooms, a second changing room and a reception desk, the owners announced this week.

"There is high demand," said Melanie Zrihen, who owns the studio with fellow TriBeCa mom Hanne Larsen.

"We had children on waitlists, and we wanted to offer more classes for all age groups."

The studio — which has children's classes in everything from ballet to hip-hop, along with dance workouts for adults — emphasizes students' enjoyment and confidence and quickly became popular in the neighborhood, drawing 800 students this fall.

Some of the biggest growth has been in the studio's program for boys, which started with just a few students in 2010 but now has more than 100 enrolled, Zrihen said.

The extra space will allow Downtown Dance Factory to offer a wider range of classes, including more separate classes for different levels of students. The studio will also be able to host more birthday parties and classes run by outside programs, Zrihen said.

Ghislaine Vinas, who designed Downtown Dance Factory's modern, playful space on the fifth floor, is also designing the new space on the fourth floor, and the staircase that connects them.

Zrihen and Larsen signed a lease on the fourth-floor space Monday, and construction started Wednesday morning. The new space is scheduled to open in January.

Hanne Larsen, left, and Melanie Zrihen founded Downtown Dance Factory last year.
Hanne Larsen, left, and Melanie Zrihen founded Downtown Dance Factory last year.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

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