Dance Factory settling into new home

A local dance studio is blossoming under a new roof, but you wouldn’t know it from the looks of the sterile office building it is hidden inside.

The Dance Factory, owned by Dianne Carola, has relocated to the professional building at 24 Hamilton St., where it shares space with medical and insurance offices, a public relations firm and a salon.

Dance Factory founder Dianne Carola, right,  instructs 9-year-old Grace Alberti, of Milton, who has been Carola's student since she was 2.  The studio is gearing up for its second year in a new, private space at 24 Hamilton St.

It’s an unlikely place for youngsters to be practicing tap, hip hop, ballet and jazz — the studio has classes for children of preschool age and older — but Carola has made it as child- and parent-friendly as possible, with cheerful green walls and art supplies on hand for the creative arts summer camp she holds. Parents like to hang out on the plush couches in a living room area while their children dance, she said.

“I wanted it to be a happy, safe, clean and cheerful place for kids,” said Carola, who founded the Dance Factory in Pennsylvania in 1978 and moved it to Saratoga Springs in 1980.

The studio floated for years between temporary rented spaces, including the National Museum of Dance on Route 9, before Carola moved to Hamilton Street last fall.

Now heading into its 33rd year of operation, Carola said the studio is finally settling more permanently into the private, second-floor space. There, she has the freedom to offer more classes and stay open six days a week, as opposed to the limited time she had while sharing studios at the dance museum.

Enrollment has doubled to about 200 students since the move, Carola said. She is taking on a new instructor to teach Zumba classes, in addition to the help she gets from local high school students, ballet instructor Ann Adler and her daughter, who is a professional dancer.

While many of the students aspire to be professional dancers, and some have gone on to do so, the studio has a less competitive spirit than other area dance schools.

Instead, its founder and primary instructor aims to share her love of dance with students while allowing them to be as well-rounded as they want to be.

“My students are athletic children who do lots of different activities,” she said. “They do drama club and chorus and band and sports. But they would rather be here than anywhere in the world. I want to inspire them to dream big.”

Open houses for fall classes will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 24 and 26.

For more information, call 587-1455 or 253-1433.


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