PARK SLOPE — A neighborhood dance group is one pirouette closer to expanding into a new facility thanks to a grant from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
The nonprofit Dancewave recently received $250,000 in funding from Adams and will put the money toward construction of a new facility on Fourth Avenue and Degraw Street.
"It will be enormously helpful," said Dancewave founder and executive director Diane Jacobowitz.
A former dance teacher at Park Slope's Berkeley Carroll School, Jacobowitz launched Dancewave in 1995 to help expose under-served kids to dance. Today the group boasts five companies of dancers, many from low-income families, who work with world-renowned choreographers such as Larry Keigwin and Kyle Abraham.
The group operates out of a single cramped studio at 45 Fourth Ave. and rents satellite facilities at schools and churches to meet its growing space needs.
The borough president's $250,000 grant will go toward moving Dancewave into a larger space at 182 Fourth Ave., near Degraw Street.
The building needs an extensive renovation, but when it's finished the new facility will have two roomy studios complete with showers and dressing rooms. The two dance studios will be separated by a moveable wall, which will allow the space to be opened up into a performance venue.
At 3,600 square feet, the future facility is about three times the size of Dancewave's current location.
The city has allocated $2.7 million toward the project, and Dancewave is seeking donations to cover an extra $1 million. In addition to the grant from Adams, Dancewave also recently received $270,000 from the offices of City Councilman Stephen Levin and $50,000 from City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo.
In exchange for the public funding, Dancewave's landlord, the nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee, agreed to sign a 20-year lease with the dance group and pledged to keep an arts nonprofit in the space even if Dancewave goes out of business.
Jacobowitz said finding the spot at 182 Fourth Ave. near residents in Park Slope, Gowanus and Downtown Brooklyn was a "godsend."
Construction is expected to start next summer, and when it's finished, Dancewave's new facility will serve as an arts hub for the entire community, Jacobowitz said. Dancewave will hold classes and performances there, but anyone will be able to rent the space for art openings, readings, meetings and other performances, she said.
“We want the community to come in and use it,” Jacobowitz said. “Particularly in that stretch of Fourth Avenue, there are a lot of high-rise condos shooting up, but there aren’t that many arts organizations."
Get to know Dancewave at a free block party on Degraw Street and Fourth Avenue on Aug. 29 from noon to 6 p.m. There will be dance classes, drum lessons by School of Rock and fencing lessons from Brooklyn Fencing Center.