First it was the loss of Meg Wolfe’s we live in space which opened in 2016, next we said goodbye to Pacific Arts Center and Dance Studios founded in 2001 by Shida Pegahi and followed by the closure of Pieter founded by Jmy James Kidd in 2010. Although it is not entirely due to the pandemic, after 28 years EDGE Performing Arts Center owned by Randall Allaire and Bill Prudich announced that it is being forced to close and look for a new home. Its last virtual class was held on August 16, 2020. The EDGE administration stated that all remaining class cards will be frozen between now and when the owners find what they are hoping to be a new and more convenient location.
Allaire and Prudich put out a statement that read in part, “We have just been informed that EDGE will not be part of the building’s future development. We wish them success with their new endeavors. Their plans, combined with the hardship created by the Covid-19 mandatory closures have resulted in this outcome. Due to the abruptness of this decision, we need to take a moment to assess the future of both EDGE and the Academy at EDGE.” They added that students should keep an eye out for virtual classes in September. “Closing this location does not mean we are done by any means. We will be relocating to a new, more convenient home.” They wrote.
Located in Hollywood’s Television City, EDGE has been where dancers could go to train with the who’s who list of the entertainment industry’s professional choreographers, teachers and other professionals. It was available for live and filmed productions, and its beautiful studios could be rented for filming, showcases, workshops, and other private events. Its line-up of dance classes, designed for all ages, included Jazz, Jazz 40+, Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Jazz Funk, Contemporary, Contemporary Jazz, Theatre Dance, Turns, Jumps, Salsa, Pilates, and Fitness classes. Some consider the studios at EDGE as the best in Los Angeles.
Bill Prudich is a dancer, choreographer and the Founder, Principal and Officer of the L.A. DanceForce Corporation (1992-present), which is the parent corporation of EDGE and the LADF Workshop and Competition. He is also the Principal Executive Director of EDGE. You may read his entire bio HERE.
Randall Allaire is a dancer, choreographer, actor and Founder, Principal, CEO and General Manager of L.A. DanceForce Inc. (1992-present), the parent corporation of EDGE and the LADF Workshop and Competition. Full bio HERE.
On its website the names of Dance agencies, casting directors and artist representatives who have gone to EDGE to scout for new talent include Cher, Sia, Bette Midler, Jeremy Piven, Florence + The Machine, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Vanessa Carlton, “Tommy” (the musical), “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, Princess Cruises, Mafia (Touchstone Pictures), Heart of Love (Beverly Hills Playhouse), Denise Austin, Kathy Griffin, Kristine W (Carleen Terrano Agency), Keenan Ivory Wayans Show, Sputnik Films, Star Search, Warner Brothers Records and Propaganda Films. Its list of professional artists available for private coaching included Amy Adams, Christina Applegate, Justine Bateman, Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling, Bette Midler, Elizabeth Berkley, Neve Campbell, Cameron Diaz, Ileana Douglas, Kirsten Dunst, Carmen Electra, Jenna Elfman, Adam Garcia, Gina Gershon, Leeza Gibbons, Jeff Goldblum, Heather Graham, Melora Hardin, Marilu Henner, Katie Holmes, Kate Hudson, Poe, Keri Russell, Kiki Shepard, Brooke Shields and Alicia Silverstone.
What is amazing, extremely sad, and to be candid, shocking is that with the history of such famous artists and international stars passing through its doors, gracing its studio floors, and producing the next generation of dance stars, that the developers could not see the importance of this entertainment landmark. Cirque du Solei recently filed for bankruptcy because they were unable to satisfy their creditors leaving thousands of dancers unemployed. Money first?
Of course, it is not just Los Angeles that has been hit by the pandemic, but artists in this city have been dealt a series of blows unlike anywhere else. One has to ask the question, do our local, state, and federal officials realize what destruction that the gentrification of affordable rent areas, the California Assembly Bill 5, and now the COVID-19 pandemic have wrath upon the arts and entertainment communities in Los Angeles? LA is, after all, considered a major hub for the film and commercial industries; not to mention the home of over 300 dance companies of diverse cultures and dance styles.
We need our officials to set up and help save one of Los Angeles’ greatest assets, the arts.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
To learn more about EDGE Performing Arts Center, click HERE.
Featured image: EDGE Performing Arts Center – Photo from edgepac.com