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Cora Dance to Give Up Red Hook Studio

By Nikhita Venugopal | December 23, 2014 1:47pm
 Cora Dance is giving up its Red Hook studio next year and will continue teaching classes in satellite locations.
Cora Dance is giving up its Red Hook studio next year and will continue teaching classes in satellite locations.
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RED HOOK — A local dance school and studio is giving up its Red Hook space and will move into satellite locations in the neighborhood next year.

Cora Dance will close its current studio at 201 Richards St. on March 1, 2015 because of “rising rents coupled with diminished funding” that “have impacted us greatly,” according to an announcement from the nonprofit school Monday.

Beginning in March, Cora will operate out of three or four makeshift spaces in Red Hook, where the school will continue classes, its youth program and company rehearsals, said Shannon Hummel, the artistic director.

“We’re not going away,” Hummel said. “We’re reshaping.”

Cora’s rent, which increased by nearly 30 percent earlier this year, would have also increased by another 10 percent in March, Hummel said.

That, along with loss of income through donations and programs, had put Cora in a financially difficult situation and forced the studio to cut some faculty and administrative jobs.

“Things are always shifting for the arts,” she said.

However, a representative from Nager Management, the building’s landlord, argued that the school was primarily moving because it had been offered alternative space.

“It’s not at all because of an increase in rent,” according to the rep, who declined to be named.  “These people are a not-for-profit that the landlord has nurtured for years.”

The new locations along with a class schedule will be announced in January, Hummel said. The venues, some of which are donated and others that will cost “some rent,” include a church basement and a school gym, she said. 

“We’ve had lots of people step forward and offer us space,” Hummel said.

With the new satellite locations, Hummel anticipates only limited interruption to Cora’s classes. Some spaces need to be prepped with facilities that younger participants might need.

By September, the school hopes to reinstate all programs.

Last month, Cora made an appeal for $70,000 during its annual fall fundraising efforts. The school said it needed the funds to pay for the increase in rent and cover lost income.

In Monday's notice, Cora said it had raised about $31,000, which is on course for what it usually receives in donations for the year.

The money raised will go towards its general operating costs and additional funds will be used for expenses associated with moving out of the studio and into the new satellite locations.

Hummel hopes that in one or two years, the school will be able to find, and afford, a new permanent location in Red Hook.

“I’m eager to plant some deeper roots,” she said.