Dance Place

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Dance Place
Dance Place logo.png
Dance Place is located in District of Columbia
Dance Place
Location within Washington, D.C.
Established 1978
Location 3225 8th Street NE
D.C. 20017
Coordinates 38°55′49″N 76°59′41″W / 38.93035°N 76.9947°W / 38.93035; -76.9947
Type Performance space
Director Carla Perlo and Deborah Riley
Public transit access WMATA Metro Logo.svg      Brookland–CUA

Dance Place is an arts organization in the Edgewood neighborhood of Northeast Washington, D.C.. [1] The nearest metro station is Brookland/CUA on the Red Line.


DC Wheel Productions, Inc. / Dance Place was founded by Carla Perlo and Steve Bloom in 1978 as an educational and performing arts company, which toured the public schools in the Greater DC Metropolitan area.

In 1980, DC Wheel Productions, Inc. established a studio and theater under the name Dance Place in Adams Morgan and has been doing business under that name ever since. From 1980-1985 the organization developed and operated a cultural community center called Dance Place in a rented facility located at 2424 18th Street NW, DC in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

In 1986, the organization was forced out of its Adams Morgan location due to gentrification and quadrupled rents. In order to secure the organization's future, DC Wheel purchased and renovated its permanent home located at 3225 8th Street, NE in the Edgewood neighborhood. With ownership of its own building, DC Wheel increased development of artistic and educational programs drawing many citizens and new business into its Edgewood neighborhood.

In 2002, DC Wheel expanded its campus to include three rented facilities located adjacent to its main space in the Edgewood Studios to serve as an additional office space, a teaching studio and a creative education center (CEC).

In 2014, the building underwent major renovations and expansion as part of the organization’s Moving Forward capital campaign. The final stage of the Arts Campus was completed in 2016, the 8th St Arts Park, which converted the asphalt alley between the main building and the adjacent Brookland Artspace Lofts into vibrant public space. The campus now includes three training and rehearsal studios, a 144-seat theater, two offices, a children’s center, the 8th St Arts Park and housing for artists and interns.[2]

On April 9, 2016, The Board of Directors of Dance Place announced the Founding Director, Carla Perlo and Co-Director, Deborah Riley’s upcoming retirement on August 31, 2017. At the end of 2015, Dance Place adopted its most recent three-year strategic plan, whose central objective is to build the organization’s future with a new leader. A search committee of board members engaged CJAM Consulting to assist in the organization’s national executive search, with plans to name a new director in Spring of 2017.[3]


As a "theater, school, and community resource,"[4] Dance Place's offerings include a wide variety of arts-related and community-building programs.


Dance Place's year-long performance season includes performances at their home theater in Edgewood, as well as "Dance Place Around Town" performances at other Washington theaters. These performances which occur nearly every weekend of the year include

  • Artist presentations both of touring companies and of local partner companies.
  • Artist co-presentations mostly of local artists
  • Presentations of resident companies: Carla and Company, Deborah Riley Dance Projects, and Coyaba Dance Theater.
  • Festivals, presenting multiple companies, including the annual DanceAfrica DC Festival


Dance Place offers a variety of classes for children and adults in styles including modern, African, and hip hop. Dance Place's school is focused on training adults in modern and West African dance, and youth in creative movement. Additionally, resident company Coyaba Dance Theater runs the Coyaba Academy, an African dance training program for children. The Energizers Afterschool Club, Energizers Junior Staff program and Energizers Creative Arts Camp are model programs utilizing creative education through the arts for positive self-development in youth living in urban communities. [5]

Community Resource[edit]

During the school year, Dance Place runs the Creative Education Center after school program, and over the summer Dance Place runs a Summer Camp for under-privileged youth. Dance Place also holds inreach performances in its theater for DC schools and has a Family Series of performances appropriate for children. At the after school program, kids not only receive homework help, but also do chores, learn to garden and sew and knit, and are paid small sums for the work.[6]

About the Directors[edit]

Carla Perlo is the founder and Executive/Artistic Director of Dance Place. As a dancer, choreographer and teacher, Ms. Perlo has had an active career for over twenty-five years. As a solo performer, artistic director of Perlo/Bloom and Company and most recently of Carla & Company, Ms. Perlo continues to teach dance and lecture at universities, colleges and community centers throughout the region including American University, George Mason University, George Washington University and Montgomery College.

Deborah Riley is the Co-Director of Dance Place after serving as Associate Director from 1994-2004 and as artist-in-residence and faculty member since 1987. As a professional dancer, choreographer and teacher she has been instrumental in the training and development of dancers for over thirty years. Ms. Riley also appears as a guest artist in numerous universities around the country, most recently at The American University. Her work has been presented in the U.S., England, France, and has been funded six times by the NEA Choreographer’s Fellowship Program, by the Jerome Foundation, and in 1990, ’91, ’93, and ’95 by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. She was nominated for a Mayor’s Arts award for “Excellence in an Artistic Discipline.”[7]

Notable Performers who have Performed at Dance Place[edit]


  • 2011 D.C. Mayor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education. [8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Washington Post
  2. ^ "Dance Place:History". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "DANCE PLACE CO-DIRECTORS ANNOUNCE 2017 RETIREMENT". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  4. ^ "Dance Place". Archived from the original on May 18, 2011. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  5. ^ "About Dance Place". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  6. ^ Kaufman, Sarah L.; Kaufman, Sarah L. (2016-01-21). "D.C.'s Dance Place celebrates 35 years of building the field". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-04-21. 
  7. ^ "Deborah Riley". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "26th Annual Mayor's Arts Awards Honors the Best in D.C. Arts At The Kennedy Center Concert Hall". Retrieved 8 April 2017. 

External links[edit]