Carla Perlo, who until this year was a professional dancer with her own touring company, Carla and Company, founded both Dance Place and NEXTgeneration youth programs.
In 1980, when Perlo was developing her career as a dancer, most of the opportunities for modern dance were in New York. But Washington, D.C., was her home, and she had no intention of moving. “In order to stay in Washington, D.C., at that time and to be a modern dancer I would have to own my own studio and theater,” she says. So she decided to resist the move to New York and opened Dance Place instead.
Dance Place offers classes in a variety of styles — from modern to traditional African dance — to students of all ages ranging in ability from beginner to professional. Perlo’s studio also features youth programs, a college intern program, and summer camps, which have helped to extend Dance Place’s influence throughout many aspects of the community.
“We have been a magnet for other professional dancers and set the bar and example for other dance studios and companies to own their own property and develop spaces,” she says. Perlo also notes that she saw more development and businesses relocating to the area once Dance Place began to prosper.
Dance Place will offer a week of half-priced classes starting on Sept. 10 in anticipation of the opening of their new season on Sept. 17.
Photo Caption: Carla Perlo (with Steve Bloom on the drums) circa 1978.