Dance Company Takes Eviction Threat In Stride
A Lower Manhattan dance company that's been a fixture in the dance world for more than 20 years is now facing the threat of eviction. NY1's Rebecca Spitz filed the following report.
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Dozens of people danced in the rain in front of City Hall Tuesday, all in support of Dance New Amsterdam, or DNA, which has been given an extra month and a half to renegotiate their lease.
"DNA is important, we're part of the Lower Manhattan cultural ecology, and we are here to stay," said DNA Artistic/Executive Director Catherine Peila.
DNA is a non-profit organization renting 25,000 square feet of space in a city-owned building on Chambers Street. But the group says without a break on the rent, which is close to $70,000 a month, they're as good as out.
"I don't think we need a handout, we just need an appropriate response because we're a good organization," said DNA dancer Teri Steele.
While DNA was established in 1984, it's only been in the Chambers Street space since 2006.
Dancers who spoke with NY1 say they would be lost without it.
"I left Washington D.C. to come up here and take class here. When I look at a schedule and think about where I want to go, I'm looking at the DNA schedule," said DNA dancer Gesel Mason.
DNA teaches all styles of dance as well as yoga and pilates. There are also classes on how to teach dance and how to survive as dancers and choreographers.
"I feel like we get sequestered a lot and this is an opportunity to not be that way, but to actually have the chance to interact and put your work out there and get feedback and be part of something that breaks through the bounds of just we're in this little dance world box," said DNA dancer Dan Safer.
DNA is open 360 days a year, offering 120 classes per week to more than 8,000 enrolled students. The group says it is a vital part of the Lower Manhattan community and doesn't want to go anywhere.
"We're going full steam ahead and we're not going to stop," Peila said.
The group says the landlord has come to the table to talk things over. At the same time, if there's no agreement, a court showdown is scheduled for late next month.