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.
A portion of Mount Vernon Avenue in Arlandria is shut down after a crash involving the drivers of a car and a motorcycle.
Mount Vernon Avenue is closed from the Birchmere (3701 Mt Vernon Avenue) to The Waffle Shop (3864 Mt Vernon Avenue).
Scanner traffic indicated one motorcycle and one car were involved in the crash, two people involved in the crash may have been transported to hospitals.
Vernon Miles and James Cullum contributed to this story
Image via Google Maps
After a flurry of activity, the Del Ray Christmas tree is finally at home at Pat Miller Neighborhood Square.
The 32-foot-tall Fraser fir was lifted by a crane and installed on Tuesday afternoon. It’s the 13th straight year that Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group selected and cut down the tree at the Naughty Pines Nursery in Maryland.
Blackburn, who owns the Christmas-themed Joy on the Avenue pop-up bar, picked the tree the day after Thanksgiving with his family. The tree is not as tall as the 40-foot-tall Christmas tree in front of City Hall in Old Town, and won’t have 40,000 lights, but Blackburn said that the neighborhood-feel of a real tree is better.
“It’s not perfectly shaped,” Blackburn said. “But it’s a real tree for kids and the community to enjoy.”
The Del Ray Christmas tree and menorah lightings are this Sunday at 6 p.m. The free event is held at Pat Miller Square (Mount Vernon and E. Oxford Avenues) and includes singing, hot chocolate, and visits from Santa and city leaders.
“I think the Del Ray Christmas tree is a good snapshot of the community and small businesses coming together,” Dameron said. “We’re getting no city funds to procure this and it’s a real tree.”
Pat Miller bought a new star this year for the treetop, and the tree will be decorated on Wednesday.
“We’ve always put red ribbon on top of the tree and everyone says we needed a star,” Miller said. “So Maureen Schweers and I went to a local store and right there staring in front of us was our star, so we got it. Now we have a star.”
Joy on the Avenue is officially open to the public in Del Ray.
The Christmas-themed pop-up bar at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue softly opened on Tuesday night, just in time for the long holiday weekend.
Owner Bill Blackburn said that the restaurant bar is the most festively decorated of its kind in Alexandria.
“It’s the same formula with the pop-up that we’ve followed the last two holiday seasons,” Blackburn said. “We have a very creative cocktail menu with some familiar favorites, some new creations this year and some nibbles to spread some holiday cheer.”
The menu (in the photo gallery above) includes concoctions like “We Forgot Kevin!” with Tito’s vodka, St. Germaine, cranberry juice, lemon, bitters, jalapeno honey, syrup and ginger beer.
It took nearly two weeks to get the annual pop-up ready, since Blackburn and staff had to pack away all of the Halloween decorations from the bar’s previous iteration as Nightmare on the Avenue.
Blackburn said that Joy on the Avenue will stay up until the first week in January, when it will wrap with the annual Festivus party.
A man was stabbed to death Sunday afternoon in Del Ray, and a suspect is in custody, according to the Alexandria Police Department.
APD was notified at around 4:25 p.m. that a person was stabbed in the 2700 block of Dewitt Avenue near E. Raymond Avenue, according to the police scanner. The suspect was described by police as a Black male with a medium complexion in his mid-30s and wearing a gray pullover sweatshirt and dark pants.
At 4:56 p.m., APD had the suspect at gunpoint nearly a mile from where the incident occurred, at the Exxon station at the corner of E. Monroe and Mount Vernon Avenues. Police said via dispatch, while searching for the suspect, that he is known to frequent Old Town, the Mount Vernon corridor and Potomac Yard.
ALXnow is awaiting more details from APD on the suspect’s identity, as well as the victim’s. More information is expected when the department puts out a press release, an APD spokesman told ALXnow.
This is the seventh homicide of the year in Alexandria.
Notification:: In response to a death investigation, there is a moderate police presence in the vicinity of the 2700
block of Dewitt Avenue. APD is on scene and investigating. pic.twitter.com/147aLnjkvq
— Alexandria Police (@AlexandriaVAPD) November 12, 2023
(Updated at 1:50 p.m.) Alexandria is about to get a little brighter.
The city will host its annual holiday tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 18, outside City Hall (301 King Street) in Old Town.
The free event goes from 6 to 8 p.m. and includes a holiday singalong, speeches from city leaders and a visit with Santa Claus. It will be held rain or shine.
The artificial 40-foot-tall tree will be adorned by 40,000 lights, according to Visit Alexandria.
According to the City:
The public is encouraged to take public transit or walk to the event. Visitors to Old Town can take Metrorail’s Blue or Yellow lines to the King Street-Old Town Station and then take the free King Street Trolley to the event in front of City Hall. For DASH schedule information, call 703.746.DASH (3274) or visit dashbus.com. For Metrobus schedule information, call 202.637.7000 or visit wmata.com. For parking information, visit alexandriava.gov/Parking
For those who like to see a natural holiday tree lighting after Thanksgiving, the city’s Del Ray neighborhood will host its own tree and menorah lighting ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 3.
The free event is held at Pat Miller Square (Mount Vernon and E. Oxford Avenues) and also includes a visit from Santa.
The Del Ray Business Association is also asking visitors to bring donations for Carpenter’s Shelter.
“In the spirit of the season, participants are urged to bring new full-size lotions, deodorants, and body wash; ground coffee, or flip flops/shower shoes in various sizes for Carpenter’s Shelter,” according to DRBA.
The Nightmare on the Avenue is over, so to speak.
The seasonal pop-up bar Nightmare on the Avenue closed after nearly two months of serving Halloween-inspired cocktails and food. Now the team from the Homegrown Restaurant Group will spend the next few weeks transforming the space into the Christmas-themed “Joy On The Avenue.”
“We are pleased to bring the third installment of Joy on the Avenue back to Del Ray, and exited to start spreading cheer sometime around Thanksgiving,” HRG owner Bill Blackburn told ALXnow.
The holiday concept will stay up until New Year’s, and will be transformed for the winter and spring.
The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a stabbing that allegedly occurred in Arlandria on Sunday night.
APD was initially dispatched at 10:45 p.m. to the 4000 block of Mount Vernon Avenue for a report of a motor vehicle crash. The incident was recategorized as a stabbing, and police interviewed a man who was allegedly stabbed while riding his bicycle, according to the police scanner. The victim was interviewed by police at the scene.
The 4000 block of Mount Vernon Avenue was briefly swarmed by police cruisers and an ambulance, as well as a K-9 officer.
ALXnow has reached out to APD for details on this incident.
Anyone with details on this incident can contact the APD non-emergency line at 703-746-4444. Callers can remain anonymous.
Thousands turned out in costumes for the 27th annual Del Ray Halloween Parade on Sunday.
This year, the parade was named one of the top 10 Halloween Parades in the country by USA Today.
The Del Ray Business Association parade started at Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Bellefonte Avenue and ended with live music and prizes at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center athletic fields.
“We couldn’t have made such a successful event without more than 100 volunteers,” said parade organizer Gayle Reuter. “We start planning for this months in advance, and it takes so many neighbors and friends to make it a success.”
Del Ray’s next big event is the 48th annual Alexandria Turkey Trot on Nov. 23.
The @AlexCityTitans Zombie Band was out in force for the best Halloween Parade on the planet in Del Ray!
Amazing and creative costumes!
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) October 29, 2023
Another great Del Ray Halloween Parade is in the books! pic.twitter.com/yjlrAkjElq
— Canek Aguirre (@CanekForCouncil) October 29, 2023
Another amazing Del Ray Halloween Parade this afternoon! pic.twitter.com/DIGmAUrnXk
— Alexandria Sheriff (@AlexVASheriff) October 29, 2023
One of #AlexandriaVA favorite traditions, the Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade! I had such a fun time judging the Pet Costume Contest! Over 50 pets entered the contest this year! @visitdelray pic.twitter.com/I7KVGtsH2b
— Alyia Gaskins (@Alyia4ALX) October 29, 2023
City leaders broke ground on Housing Alexandria‘s 474-unit affordable apartment complex in Arlandria on Wednesday, capping off the largest project of its kind in Alexandria history.
It will be 2026 by the time residents start moving into the two-building, 36,000 square-foot complex, Housing Alexandria said in a release. The buildings, named Sansé and Naja, will be located near the corner of W. Glebe Road and Mount Vernon Avenue. The property will include a large underground parking garage and 34,000 square feet of commercial space, which will include childcare and health care services, according to Housing Alexandria.
“This is not just the largest affordable housing project the city has ever undertaken,” Mayor Justin Wilson said at the groundbreaking. “This is a project
adjacent to some of the best transit investments we have around and within a mile of the new (Potomac Yard) Metro station. It is adjacent to some of our biggest and growing job centers, in Potomac Yard and along Route 1.”
Housing Alexandria first moved into Arlandria in Feb. 2022 when it bought a 14-story apartment building at 511 Four Mile Road.
“The opportunity to develop 474 affordable units and commercial space doesn’t come along very often,” said Aaron Remolona, Housing Alexandria’s vice president of development and acquisitions. “We are not new to this housing development, but we are new to this neighborhood… I want to thank the organizations in this community that have been willing to help us, teach us, and connect us – namely Casa Chirilagua and Tenants and Workers United.”
Evelyn Urrutia, executive director of Tenants and Workers United, said that Wednesday was a historic day.
“We say today is a historic day for us because this project will truly benefit the families that we work with,” she said. “The work reflects the government and development partners, but it is also the work of our community. This project is a reflection of the type of housing we need across the city. We hope this is just the beginning, and that this project will serve as an example for all who want to work in our city.”