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Chicago Ballet Center Leaves Logan Square for Portage Park

  Classes will start after Labor Day in Portage Park, the center's director said.
Chicago Ballet Center Moves to Portage Park
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PORTAGE PARK — The Chicago Ballet Center will leap from Logan Square to Portage Park, joining a burgeoning arts scene taking shape in the Six Corners shopping district.

The school will move to 4024 N. Cicero Ave. and take over the storefront left vacant by Villari's Martial Arts Studios, which closed in March after being open about a year, said Chicago Ballet Center Director Paul Abrahamson.

"I'm thrilled to be joining the Portage Park arts community," Abrahamson said.

Expanding the dance school's current home at 3433 W. Diversey Ave. was not possible, Abrahamson said, adding that rents in Logan Square are rising quickly.

In Portage Park, the ballet school will grow from one studio to three studios, and offer Broadway jazz classes with a musical theater focus as well as hip-hop and tap classes, Abrahamson said.

Heather Cherone joins DNAinfo to talk about Chicago Ballet's new home in Portage Park:

Ald. John Arena (45th) has been working to turn Six Corners into an arts and culture mecca in an effort to reverse decades of decline and fill empty storefronts near Irving Park Road and Milwaukee and Cicero avenues.

The alderman he was looking forward to adding "one more star on the map for the 45th Ward."

The dance school's new location will open after Labor Day, Abrahamson said.

But the 7-year-old ballet center, which also offers movement classes for toddlers, may not call Cicero Avenue home for long.

Abrahamson said he is negotiating to lease the fourth floor of 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., which is around the corner, to be the ballet center's permanent home.

The building, a former furniture warehouse, is also home of the Filament Theater Ensemble, the National Veterans Art Museum and Inside Out Art Studios, a mask-making studio.

Building owner Marc Sussman said he was hopeful the negotiations could be concluded quickly.

The ballet center would be a great addition to the building, Sussman said.

Abrahamson said Cyd Smillie, Arena's arts liaison, encouraged him to consider moving to Portage Park three years ago and introduced him to the alderman and his wife, Jill, who took him on a tour of Portage Park.

After considering renting the space that eventually became the veterans art museum, Abrahamson decided to stay in Logan Square.

But when it became clear he wouldn't be able to expand there, Portage Park was the obvious choice, Abrahamson said.

"It is a rich environment," Abrahamson said, adding that calling 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave. home could offer his school's dancers a deep well of support and many opportunities for cross-promotion.

For example, ballet center dancers may be able to perform on the Filament stage, Abrahamson said.

However, the fourth floor will require extensive renovations before the school could move in, Abrahamson said.

"We would have to take it down to the bare walls," Abrahamson said, adding he was hopeful a deal will be completed.

The marital arts studio closed in March because the owner became ill, Sussman said. The Chiro One physical therapy and chiropractic office next door closed about the same time, and it is unclear what the company, which has been closing offices nationwide, plans to do with that space, he added.