The Performance Garage hosts numerous dance companies and performances, but will close its doors Aug. 31.
Many Philadelphia performers and dance studio attendees are concerned about the fate of the Performance Garage, a studio space at 1515 Brandywine St.
After more than eight years of housing dance productions and practices, the garage is closing its doors on Aug. 31. Managing Director Bryan Matluk of Jeanne Ruddy Dance said that no decision has been made regarding the space’s use after closing.
The garage was a 19th century horse stable and car garage before its December 2002 renovation, when two studio spaces and office spaces were created. Both studios are equipped with professional quality sound and lighting equipment.
Since its opening in 2004, Jeanne Ruddy Dance Company’s garage has been a success within the dance community, allowing upwards of 100 dance companies to rent the space.
The Alchemy Dance Company, Annex Dance Company, Tommie-Waheed Evans of Philadanco, Ballet X, Dance Theatre X, KuluMele, Peek-A-Boo Revue School of Burlesque and Philadelphia Dance Project all use the space.
“We very much liked Philadelphia dance projects there and we’ve grown our audience there and we’ve brought new audiences to the garage,” said Terry Fox, executive director of Philadelphia Dance Projects. “Where are we going to anchor our programs now? We had actually booked time next fall but [now] it’s all up in the air.”
Fox recognized the change that will occur within the dance community without the ability to utilize the Performance Garage space.
“There’s just not enough of them to go around and it’s a really wonderful space to see dance,” Fox said. “It seemed to be predominantly dance and that’s what I liked about it. The space is large for a number of dancers and they do have a good sound system and decent lighting in it, so you can really do a more professional production, so not having it is a shame.”
Matluk also expressed concern about the forecasted closing.
“Rehearsal space within Philadelphia is very tight to come by, which is why the Performance Garage has grown over the past couple of years,” Matluk said. “At this point, we serve 4,000 to 5,000 performances per year.”
“If the garage doesn’t exist it will be very difficult for them to find somewhere for them to hold their classes and performances,” he added.
Matluk said an open house held at the garage approximately two weeks ago showed the community support that exists behind the space. Six different companies that have used the space during the years attended the event, which brought in $1,200 in donations.
“That was a successful event, but it also shows what the community’s commitment to the garage is,” Matluk said.
Though the fate of the garage after Aug. 31 is unknown, Fox said that he hopes there is a chance that it will remain open to the dance community.
“It will be missed you know,” Fox said. “I hope they change their mind and decide to keep it open.”
Alexsia Brown can be reached at email@example.com.