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East Village School Creates Dance Studio Out of Abandoned Shower Room

By Serena Solomon | September 20, 2013 6:46am
 Principal of P.S. 64 Marlon Hosang found by accident the space that will become a dance studio.
P.S. 64's New Dance Studio
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EAST VILLAGE — As P.S. 64 Principal Marlon Hosang moved boxes in the school's basement five years ago, he uncovered an unassuming plywood door, secured with a padlock.

His curiosity piqued, Hosang tracked down a key to the long-forgotten door and pushed it open. What he found inside was an old shower room that likely hadn't been used since the 1960s, and even though it was filled with piles of junk, Hosang instantly saw what it could become: a dance studio.

"It was a hidden treasure or something like that," Hosang said of the 700-square-foot space.

Now, Hosang's vision of a dance studio is at last becoming a reality, thanks to $200,000 in funding from City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Construction, scheduled to start this fall, will replace the shower room's broken tiles and aged showerheads with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, spring flooring, ballet bars and a sound system. Hosang hopes to hold a ribbon-cutting in the spring.

"This has always been a part of the vision for the school — to have a space dedicated to dance," he said. 

Students already receive dance instruction from organizations including the New York City Ballet, Dancing Classrooms and Rosie's Theater Kids, but the only space they have to dance is a cramped auditorium shared with the Earth School and Tompkins Square Middle School, which use the same building as P.S. 64.

The Department of Education did not respond to requests for comment about the plan.

Mendez said she hoped the dance studio would teach kids more than just physical movements.

"Dance is a part of life. It is a part of expression. It is also a discipline," he said. "All of these are skills that these young kids learn [and] they will be able to use later in life."

Hosang hopes that the new dance studio, which will sit across the hall from Hosang's art room, will create a "fine arts wing" in the school.

"I really see this as being my legacy to the school," he said.