‘You don’t have to ever stop dancing’: Fall River dance studio kicks off new space
FALL RIVER — As the saying goes, “The show must go on.”
And that it did for one longtime city dance studio, who save a short hiatus are back in their dancing shoes and ready to kick things off at their new home. This past summer, Keith Silva and Marissa Tavano, owners of Artistic Dance Studio, were busy making moves.
After over a decade at Tower Mill, the owners of the studio, formerly located at 657 Quarry St., were informed this past spring their lease was not being renewed and they would have three months to relocate. Party Dress Express and Planet Fitness were also forced to leave the Tower Mill to make room for a storage facility.
“It was devastating,” Tavano said. “When you finally start to rebuild yourself after COVID and then something like this hits you.”
The studio had survived the pandemic — with Zoom classes helping them through a six-month closure — and had custom built that mill space over the years to fit their needs, so they had no intention of leaving the only home many of their students had known. But life had other plans. While it was a very “stressful and overwhelming” time, Tavano said, the pair ultimately landed on their feet at their new spot — just 10 minutes away at 18 Thompson St., Fall River — and are excited to start their next chapter.
“As sad as it was to leave because we were there for 12 years and we built so much there and our son was practically born there, it was kind of a blessing in disguise,” said Silva, who runs Artistic Dance Studio with Tavano, his fiancé with whom he shares two sons. “It’s been a hectic few months …. but it also feels right being in this new space,” Silva said. Once they secured their location in May, things moved fast. They had a recital June 18 and had to be out of Tower Mill by July 1, so it didn’t give them much time to make the transition.
Owners Keith Silva and Marissa Tavano stand in the speaker room at Artistic Dance Studio, which has settled into its new home in Fall River’s North End. An all-new dance space
And they only had the month of July to renovate their new space and build everything to where it needed to be ahead of its weeklong dance intensive for those on competition teams starting Aug. 15. Renovations included pouring concrete for the studio floor, putting up walls, insulating for noise, building a viewing area, and installing air conditioners. “As people were walking in I was literally putting tools away .. but it worked out,” said Silva, who credited dance dads for their huge assist in getting the studio in shape.
An open house was held at Artistic Dance Studio at the end of August to give folks a first look at the new facility. According to Tavano, the reaction from those who’ve scoped out the Thompson Street site, located just off President Avenue, has been an overwhelmingly positive one. “People love this new spot,” said Tavano.”
As you walk into the new Artistic Dance Studio, you’ll see a reception desk surrounded by dance trophies and merchandise. There are lounge areas with custom-made benches for dance parents to utilize during class and a homework area for the kids. The space also features two 65-inch TVs — one displaying Artistic Dance Studio’s YouTube channel and one displaying the dance rooms. Two-way mirrors offer families a glimpse into the main dance room, a smaller dance room features a huge, eye-catching speaker wall and the final dance room is brightened by large windows that offer a view of the street. A spiral staircase that leads to an upstairs office was also installed, giving the place a “cool, old-school look,” Silva said. The dance studio currently shares a building with a salon and a photography studio/art gallery.
According to Tavano, the biggest perk of their new 3,500-square-foot space is a bigger parking lot — this one has its own behind the building — and large windows that they can open and let natural light in, which is something they didn’t have at the mill. “We have windows we can open, it’s fresh air, if I wanted to take a break I can just walk out the door and you’re in the parking lot — you’re not stuck inside a mill with no sunlight,” Tavano said.
One big thing on their checklist for a new place: a Fall River zip code.
Silva, who grew up in the city’s North End and lives here with his family, has had opportunities in the past to pursue his passion for dance at a new level, including a call from friend Nick DeMoura, a Fall River native who serves as Justin Bieber’s longtime choreographer and director, to join him in Los Angeles. But Silva said he felt he still had more to do in Fall River. “I said I want to build this thing back home,” said Silva, who hopes to continue cultivating the hip hop scene in the Spindle City. Looking back, Silva said he still has no regrets about that decision.
A mentor to young dancers
Being a mentor to young dancers, seeing his students succeed, seeing generations of students come through his doors, he said, is “so satisfying.”
“We open up a lot of doors and make it possible with the connections we have in the dance world to make you feel like you can pursue your dreams… and you don’t have to ever stop dancing,” Silva said.
He noted one former student, now a faculty member at Artistic Dance Studio, made it to top 10 of the TV competition show “So You Think You Can Dance,” and another was selected to perform in a dance routine at a Justin Bieber concert.
As they were preparing to kick off classes on Sept. 12, Silva and Tavano said they look forward to making new memories with their students and encouraging success stories.
“If it can take a kid out of depression, if it can help a kid focus, we just want to see it change people’s lives for the better,” Silva said.
Artistic Dance Studio classes
Artistic Dance Studio offers classes for dancers of all ages (2 to adult), all interests (ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop) and abilities (both recreational and competitive). They have a strong hip hop base, which is something different for the area, Silva said. They lead beginner/intermediate adult hip hop classes every Thursday because it’s in such high demand. “These parents live for this hour; this is their freedom hour. I have a full class every week. They just love it,” Silva said. “They have a blast.”
For more information on Artistic Dance Studio, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ArtisticDanceStudios.