After seven plus years in the making, the Metropolitan Dance Company and Center finally opened the doors to its brand new home. This weekend marked a huge accomplishment for the dance company, who up until now had been holding court in much loved but let's all agree, pretty rundown venue. With its new doors opening this past weekend, at 2808 Caroline, the Met offered a host of free classes in celebration.
On Friday the Met invited the media for a preview and cut the purple ribbon as a sign that they were open for business and pirouettes. On hand to commemorate the event were the key players who made this project a reality, each of who spoke with enthusiasm and sincerity. Executive Director Michelle Smith even got a little choked up when discussing the company's new home and the team that made it possible. It was a touching moment. Smith spoke of the excitement of the move but also of the sadness in leaving the place that the Met called home for almost 20 years. Good tears.
The new space, nestled in midtown, is simply gorgeous and smells of clean, fresh paint. The Met company was practicing on their new marley floors for the first time. When asked how they felt about their new digs the company lit up with wide smiles and joy. There are several large studio spaces, and the interior is painted a crisp white, save the royal purple trim and doors.
The project cost roughly $700,000, some of which the Met has yet to finance. The building owners, Larry Margolis and Ian Rosenberg of Infill Planning and Development took over the space with the condition that the Met move in.
"We knew they were looking at the space," says Margolis, "and so we said, we'll buy it if you promise to move it." Margolis also mentioned how excited his firm was to be working with the Met and the cultural cache they bring to the midtown district.
Marlana Doyle, the Met's artistic director, believes that with this new location the Met will be able to grow in numerous ways. Already due to expanded space, the Met can now ramp up its offering in the number of classes and new timeslots. But more than classes, Doyle thinks that this will push the Met into becoming a more nationally recognized company that will attract top dancers from across the country.
"This move will help the company 100 percent," says Doyle.
As I was wandering around in awe of the vast difference between the old space and the new locale, I over heard someone say, "it's like going from the garage to the penthouse."
I could not have said it any better myself.
The Metropolitan Dance company and Center's new location is at 2808 Caroline. For more information visit houstonmetdance.org