Studio co-owners Joe and Leila Carlson and Richie P. bring together the most endearing aspects of dance into their new space. Richie started dancing more than 20 years ago on a bet, and is now a well-respected teacher throughout San Diego. Joe and Leila met Richie when their son was taking a class at his old studio. Now the three of them are putting their vision and their love of dance together.
The facility has two studios, complete with lifted wood-sprung floors to prevent too much impact on dancers’ joints. The front studio is known as The Steel Room, with the walls giving off an industrial and gritty – yet very open – feel. The back studio, or The Brick Room, is a little more intimate, with distressed brick reflecting off the full length mirrors lining one side.
There’s also a comfortable lounge area for parents to relax while kids are in class. Sitting on big couches, they can watch what’s going on inside the studios from big TV screens. Soon, the lounge will feature a cyclorama stage for dance video production and photography. The facility also boasts a parking lot in the back.
The studio design was Richie P.’s brainchild. He said he wanted a space where videographers could shoot anywhere, while also fostering creativity and encouragement.
A wide variety of classes are offered each week. Dancers of every skill level and age have access to hip hop, cardio workouts, jazz, contemporary, burlesque, even line dancing and twerk.
“We have a lot of people who have never danced before, a lot of people who just want a good workout, and a lot of people who are training to be professional dancers,” said Leila. Among them are parents, children, teens, young adults, and everyone in between.
Joe, Leila, and Richie’s main goal is to foster a sense of community with their new space. The facility only works with local vendors to make sure everything stays in PB. They’re rolling out events like the “Hip Hop Social,” a Friday night dance class followed by an outing to the local bars with special deals. Richie believes it’s this kind of investing in the community that sets the studio apart from others.
“We can help people learn, and meet other people with similar interests,” he said.
Joe and Leila fell in love with the dance community when their son started dancing four years ago, because of the encouraging and loving environment. People from all walks of life are able to laugh and dance and sweat together. “We want people to walk around here and be at home,” said Joe.
Four hundred people got their groove on in the first two weeks The Facility Dance Studio opened up. The great response is a reflection of the need for this kind of space in PB. Richie claims San Diego is a hip hop mecca, with many famous dancers having trained here. But despite the popularity, this is a first-of-its-kind studio in our little beach town.
“People are really excited we’re here,” said Leila. “Everyone left happy.”
Even if you have never danced before, something about the space makes you feel like you can hit the ground running. When they decided to open the studio, all three co-owners had a vision to create a positive environment for learning and play, without any intimidation.
They’re here to help you take the first step and dance like no one’s watching.
Moving forward, the facility plans to grow even further as a staple in the PB community. Both studios can be opened up to create a large event space, for things like corporate events, banquets, and birthday parties. They’re also starting to host youth summer camps in the next few months.
But owner Richie says this is just the tip of the iceberg. “We’re trying to do something that hasn’t been done before.” With the innovative design and welcoming space, they seem to be on the right track.
The Facility Dance Studio
Where: 1414 Garnet Ave.