The owners of West Chester Academy are gearing up to expand the business once again.
In 2015, after expanding four times in eight years in a leased space, the business, which offers instruction in music, dance and acting, constructed and opened a 12,000-square-foot home of its own. That gave the business the ability to introduce a gymnastics program for preschool and school-aged children.
Now West Chester Academy, 8107 Market Place Dr., plans to add on an additional 1,200 square feet, according to owner Patsy Rabinowitz.
FIRST REPORT: Local music, dance studio opens expanded location
“We never imagined we would be adding on to our current facility two years later when we opened two years ago,” Rabinowitz told the Journal-News. “However, we have reached capacity in several of our spaces, and we particularly have a need for a larger space for the older students in our competitive dance program and our ballet classes.”
The academy’s largest dance studio is 25-by-40. The business will be adding a studio that will be five feet longer in each direction.
“This will allow our older dancers to dance full out without the worry of running into a wall,” Rabinowitz said. “The expansion will also allow us to expand our Aerial silks program. We currently have two hanging silks in our gym. In the new space, there will be a steel beam that will support five aerial silks, allowing for more aerial silks students as well as adult aerial silks classes.”
Those classes, she said, are becoming increasingly popular around the country for adults who would like a unique workout experience that combines the balance and stretching components of yoga with the conditioning and strengthening components of aerial silks.
Construction is expected to start this week and should be completed in early September.
In addition to benefiting the dance and aerial silks programs, the expansion will free up one of West Chester Academy’s existing dance studios to become a multi-use space for other group classes such as Suzuki violin, acting classes, and musical theatre.
With more classes comes the need for more teachers to teach them.
“As the saying goes, ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,’” Rabinowitz said. “It has been our experience that when the space is ready, the right personnel always appear.”
Rabinowitz said she and her husband, Paul, are always eager to do everything they can to make the business function better.
“Paul is the architect of the original building, and he came up with an architectural solution to the challenges of needing more space for more programming, a larger space for certain classes, and a way to grow the aerial silks program,” she said. “We’re honored to be joined by a team of like-minded instructors and support staff who share our vision for inspiring students of all ages to reach their highest potential.”
“All of us are excited to grow and reach more of our community with the benefits that the arts provide, which to us are more than just great music, dance or gymnastics skills. They’re the life skills that students gain in the process: perseverance, teamwork, communication skills, respect, sensitivity, the value of hard work and more.”