New Seattle Dance Studio to hold Open House on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Dancers who have been confined during the pandemic can now break out and explore the incredible expanse of space at Dance Conservatory Seattle.
This new dance studio is the brainchild of Joshua Grant, Christopher E. Montoya and Sierra Keith. Located in Seattle’s South Park industrial area, the studio is a huge space that feels like a stage. The 2,700 square foot sprung dance floor is nearly as large as Studio C at Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB).
For co-artistic directors Joshua “Josh” Grant and Christopher “Chris” Montoya, Dance Conservatory Seattle is the fruition of a lifelong dream. Joshua Grant has worked with the world’s foremost contemporary choreographers and is recognizable in the dance world as a soloist at PNB. His professional ballet career spanned the globe for over two decades. After Christopher Montoya completed his undergraduate degree with Cornish College of the Arts, his focus expanded from being a professional dancer to teaching dance in higher education. He has a Master’s of Fine Arts from the University of Washington.
While their dance careers have taken them on two distinct journeys, their combined experience gives them a wide spectrum of dance styles and techniques to draw from. Their well-rounded approach emphasizes dance education and meeting the needs of individual students—exactly where they find them and moving them forward. Chris said, “We want to create thinkers, not soldiers.” Both Josh and Chris want to encourage young dancers to become professional dancers, if that is their dream to aspire to the top ranks. At the same time, the Conservatory is offering a lot of adult open classes for people of all ages, abilities and body types. Eventually, they plan to offer a complete ballet curriculum for all levels, from children to older adults. Jazz, modern and yoga are also on the horizon.
The person behind the scenes in this venture is Sierra Keith. Long known for her commitment to dance, she began training as an adult. When the pandemic hit, every studio in Seattle shut down.
Sierra reached out to Chris and Josh to ask if they would give her private lessons. Her private classes evolved to one or two other students, then more. Soon they had small group classes. Chris and Josh became their regular teachers.
Sierra remembers saying to them, “Wouldn’t this be great if we could do this all of the time?” Chris wanted his own place and Josh had always wanted to open his own studio, and they all knew so many people in the community, so they joined forces to create a great dance studio.
The studio is a former warehouse, yet the minute Chris and Josh walked in they thought it was the perfect space and saw how it could be transformed. Choosing the location was also a matter of positioning. The south end of Seattle, including White Center and South Park, needs more access to arts and dance education. The growing population in the south end is culturally diverse. “We want to be available and accessible to people who may not feel comfortable venturing outside their local community to gain exposure to dance,” Josh said.
The dancers, who along with Sierra had formed the small group classes during the height of the pandemic, now rallied to clean, paint, renovate and help to build a dance floor. Donations poured in to give the fledgling studio the look and feel of a new home for the dance community
Every dance studio has its own culture. Open, Welcoming, and Positive is the vibe at Dance Conservatory Seattle. Chris and Josh met while dancing professionally with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. During that time Chris and Josh got to dance together around the world, and found a common life goal while working together—the couple married in 2015. “We have always had a great work ethic and a can-do attitude that gets things done,” Josh said. “We believe that our relationship offers LBGTQ visibility to the Seattle community, and brings an open and safe space for young and seasoned people alike.”
As co-artistic directors, Chris and Josh are in charge of curating the syllabus and schedule, and of implementing their own artistic vision for the studio. Managing Director Sierra Keith manages accounting, the software, marketing outreach and the myriad of details that keep a business functioning from day to day. Josh and Chris had a dream of theirs to create unique, wonderful space for anyone who wanted to dance. It brings them great joy to see people enjoying themselves as they move their bodies through space.
OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY, NOV. 14
Dance Conservatory Seattle will host an Open House on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, from 6 – 8 p.m. The event will include appetizers and beverages, as well as a silent auction and performances, including a surprise vignette. The silent auction will include gifts from Pacific Northwest Ballet, Whim W’him, Federal Way Arts Center, Brown Bear Car Wash, local and national artists’ wares, and more. All proceeds will benefit Dance Conservatory Seattle. All are welcome. The event is free with a suggested donation.
Dance Conservatory Seattle
426 S. Cloverdale Street
Seattle, WA 98108
Email: [email protected]