Get your ballet slippers ready, because a new dance school is soon opening in Del Ray.
Dance Academy of Virginia recently erected a temporary sign and started advertising ballet, point, contemporary, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, tap and musical theater classes in advance of their January 6 opening at 2402 Mount Vernon Avenue, the former home of Yoga In Daily Life.
The business was founded in McLean during the height of the pandemic in mid-2020, and owner Katherine Horrigan just bought the 4,900-square-foot building in Del Ray. The details of the purchase are not yet publicly available on the city website, but the building was for sale for $2 million.
“This is now our home now,” Horrigan said. “Getting an opportunity to buy this facility and say that we now have dance here and any art programming that may we may pursue in the future is an honor.”
While all ages are welcome, the school focuses on teaching kids.
“Dance is a tool to learn how to learn a lot of things in life,” Horrigan said. “It’s going to be uncomfortable, it’s going to be hard. You’re not always going to want to do it. You’re going to put in literal sweat and a time commitment, but it’s putting in those reps that you actually start to build off of and build a skill. When you have that skill, you can do so much with it.”
Horrigan, who is also an adjunct professor of dance at George Mason University, has a bachelor’s degree in dance from Fordham University and a master’s degree in arts management from George Mason University. After graduating from Fordham, she embarked on a decade-long dance career with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Knee injuries prompted her retirement, after which she started teaching at GMU and became the director of the Adagio Ballet School of Dance in Arlington.
The pandemic upended the dancing business, providing Horrigan an opportunity to create her own school.
“Covid was an opportunity for me to open my own school because students were displaced,” she said. “I was able to bring dance teachers together and administrators and immediately bring the team together to build the company and we’ve just been growing ever since. We’re in our fourth year now and ready to expand into Del Ray.”
Horrigan said that the school acts as a second home for many of her students.
“Kids have their birthday parties together and they becomes friends,” she said. “They’ll have their school friends, but then they also have their dance friends.”
Dance Academy of Virginia dancers can be next seen at the Del Ray Christmas Tree and menorah lightings this Sunday at 6 p.m.
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