<b>WELCOME HOME: </b> Santa Barbara Dance Arts students will celebrate the opening of the organization's new studio on May 22.
Paul Wellman (file)

It’s been a long time coming. Since being told that they would need to vacate their Funk Zone space in 2012, the folks behind Santa Barbara Dance Arts (SBDA) have been working tirelessly to relocate. Step one in the process: finding a suitable space. In spring 2013, after nearly a year of scouring, SBDA and its longtime partners at the Arts Mentorship Program (AMP) signed a lease and began to crack into SBDA’s next chapter. Thanks to a successful capital campaign, which raised more than $500,000, and a handful of loans and gifts from some of the community’s biggest arts supporters, the two groups set their hooks into an old warehouse space at 531 East Cota Street.

And now, nearly a year later, SBDA and AMP really have something to dance about. Next Thursday, May 22, they’ll host a grand-opening celebration for the new Performing Arts Center, complete with ribbon-cutting ceremony, food, drink, performances, demonstrations, and raffles for prizes.

As for the space itself, well, it’s nothing to scoff at either. The Cota Street center is boasting five state-of-the-art studios, complete with spring floors and new sound systems. There’s also a homework lounge, free Wi-Fi, a supply store, and a café filled with healthy snacks, all located just blocks from Santa Barbara High School, Santa Barbara Junior High, Transition House, and Girls Inc. (It’s also right on a bus line, for interested parties living outside of the general vicinity.)

Classes and camps will be offered throughout the year for children ages 3 to adult. And keeping in line with AMP’s mission statement, Dance Arts will offer needs-based scholarships, as well as affordable rental space for artists, businesses, and organizations throughout Santa Barbara. If you want to scope the space in person, the community is invited to come down and celebrate on May 22 from 4-7 p.m. For more info, call (805) 966-5299 or visit sbdancearts.com.


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