Where to Practice Anything in the City

By Heidi Patalano on May 29, 2013 7:09am 

Slideshow
 You can find a practice space for almost anything in New York.
Practice Spaces in the City
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NEW YORK CITY — Whatever your craft, there's a place in this city where you can go to practice it.

Sites like NYC Performing Arts Spaces can help you find any number of locations where you can rehearse with your band, use a ballet barre or hold a screening.

But here we bring you a few less-traditional spaces that are available for rent and offer a little something extra.

Sing opera 

Yeoryia Megremis is more than a contralto of the highest pedigree. She’s a mother hen to those up-and-coming opera singers who hope to perfect their arias for the big time. While her Upper West Side practice spaces mostly cater to professionals, Megremis considers herself the kind of mentor that fosters young, untamed talent. Rent a space to practice at Yeoryia Studios and you may soon find yourself swept into the city’s opera community.

“We help singers to do masterclasses because I have friends of mine that are conductors and agents and they come and help young singers to manage their careers,” she said. “I try to put on masterclasses where they learn and then we do soirees where they meet other singers, other people and get over their nerves, so I help a lot of people.”

Put on your art show

You might not be represented by one of the blue-chip galleries quite yet, but you can rent out space to put on your own exhibition. The Bishop on Bedford in Bed-Stuy has a number of rotating exhibits, but it can also accommodate those looking to pay to display their art.

"The Bishop welcomes guest curators and proposals for exhibitions in our space," said co-director Molly Myers. "The space can be rented out for a single evening or for many weeks, dependent on the exhibition and the guest curator's concept for the show.  We do not have a set price for exhibition rentals as we are open to working with people with many different ideas, budgets and time commitments.“

The nonprofit also rents out the indoor and outdoor space for everything from poetry readings to photo shoots, classes, film screenings and dinners.

Perfect your flamenco

Your downstairs neighbors will not appreciate the gusto with which you practice your palmas, so surround yourself with people who will. Plenty of spots in the city have dance floors that can handle the percussive stamping that's central to this traditional form of Spanish dance.

Clack your castanets at Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana. Artistic director Carlota Santana founded the company in 1983 and brings an air of professionalism to the space, which is available for rent. Dance classes for adults and kids are also offered.

A few blocks over from that Midtown dance center is Flamenco Latino, where lessons in flamenco singing and guitar playing are available.

Splash, kick and fine-tune your side stroke

Every New Yorker would love pool access, sure. But are you a swimmer-swimmer? Like, you actually want to do laps? You and the folks at Red Tide NYC should get along just fine. Accepting swimmers of all skill levels, this club gets you into three separate pools (Chinatown Y, John Jay College Pool and the Baruch College pool) on designated dates and times each week for a monthly fee of $110 or $140, or a one-time drop-in fee of $20 per session.

Dance in The Bronx

In Hunts Point, a 14-year tradition of dance continues in the BankNote Building, where the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance operates. Founder Arthur Aviles hosts a wide variety of artistic programs in the performance space, such as Out Like That Fest, which celebrates works of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender artists and the Blaktino Playwrights Showcase, which features the work of black, Latino or mixed-race playwrights.

But the space's spectacular dance floor is also available for rent. Aviles makes it available at odd times specifically to accommodate those with strange schedules. He tells us the raised floor, which took a year to build, will offer something uniquely satisfying for dancers.

"If you pound on the floor, it sounds a little bit like a drum so it’s like a BOOM instead of a BAP," he said.

Shoot your music video

Got a little scratch to spend on a professional setting for your arty film projects? Here's your chance to have something in common with Cyndi Lauper, Santigold and Major Lazer, who have all shot projects at Office Ops in East Williamsburg. The live/work building is available for all sorts of glamorous Hollywood business: auditions, film, television and photo shoots. But it also welcomes those interested in renting, say, the roof deck for a private party. And while most of us have opted for digital photography, Office Ops even has a dark room for those interested in developing film.

Practice aligning chakras

If you're a recently licensed practitioner of massage, Reiki, reflexology or acupuncture and you need a place in which to meet your first clients, Dance New Amsterdam can help. A massage table, waiting area, kitchenette (including refrigerator) and coffee machine are at your disposal for an hourly fee or at a slightly discounted rate if hourly sessions are purchased in bulk. Proof of license and liability insurance are required. For an additional fee, Dance New Amsterdam will help you promote your business to its members and on its website.

Unleash your inner thespian

There are a plethora of places in this city where you can rehearse just about anything, but it's always more beneficial to practice your craft around like-minded people. Take, for example, the Secret Theater in Long Island City. The practice and performance space hosts a number of small acting troupes and welcomes independent groups to rehearse and perform in the space for a fee. A box office and concession stand is available, which will give your production just the right air of professionalism — as long as you don't mind the sound of unwrapping cellophane during your recitation of "Leaves of Grass."

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