On June 30th 2019, Dance Arts Academy will close its doors after nearly 20 years of having the honor to serve as a home for thousands of dancers who have passed through our studios. Changes in our neighborhood and in the ownership of our building have unfortunately necessitated this development.
In 1999, Carla Luna searched for properties all over Central Los Angeles stumbling one day upon an old abandoned print shop, originally built as a bowling alley in the 1930’s, on 731 South La Brea. Through loans from friends, family, the SBA, and her own savings, and from her personal perspective as a professional Flamenco dancer of how each studio should look and feel, she embarked on the most ambitious journey of her life: building the studio of her dreams.
Dance Arts Academy opened its doors in March 2000 with an emphasis on providing a home for all multicultural forms of dance. Many, such as Flamenco, Mexican Folklorico, Senegalese, Bollywood, Polynesian, Persian, among others, had historically struggled to find inclusion in existing dance studios in Los Angeles. Dance Arts also opened at a time when another dance studio had just closed its doors, leaving people like Stanley Holden and Reid Olson scrambling to find a new home, which Carla provided. Similarly, it would soon become the starting point of renowned companies and the home of prestigious schools such as The Marat Daukayev School of Ballet, hosting families who spent countless hours here supporting their young children as a profound appreciation for dance was nurtured in them, with many later growing up to pursue dance as a career.
This journey, though educational, passionate, and fulfilling, has not been an easy one. Keeping such a large space open in an increasingly gentrified area while being able to afford often basic essentials and improvements for our visitors has been an arduous pursuit. Maintaining an affordable studio space that supports and incentivizes dancers in the way Carla envisioned, and continuing to function as a viable business became a challenge too. It mirrors the ongoing struggle of many dance spaces in the city.
Despite this, we believe change offers an opportunity for new chapters, new spaces, new energy, and perhaps encouragement for others to be inspired and to find the drive that Carla had in 1999 to seek, risk, and fearlessly create a new place. The legacy of Carla and Dance Arts Academy will continue in every person who has danced their heart away in her spaces, and in those who dream of new spaces and who may one day be proud hosts to new generations of dancers.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all who have supported our business with their patronage and with their love and respect for our facilities and our efforts. We thank those who found all forms of love and acceptance by making this their home, and those who educated and inspired us with their hard work and creativity. We shall miss you and wish you the best.
Dance Arts Academy