Faculty Interviews for the Brookine Community Center for the Arts (BCCA)
- October 23, 2002 - by Dan Yonah Ben-Dror Marshall
(Dan's original article published in the November/December 2002 issue of the Boston Dance Alliance Newsletter)

Having been a resident of Brookline for the past 13 years (1992 Graduate of Brookline High School), and a dance and martial arts instructor for the past 10 years, I have noticed more and more how there are not enough community and culturally inclusive offerings in the town of Brookline and its surroundings. Our proposal is to found a community center where members of Brookline and the surrounding towns could attend lessons in dance, martial arts, fitness, and other recreational activities, at affordable prices, as well as be provided with hosting services for community events, and practice facilities for local dance companies and the like. The city of Cambridge, for example, has been successful in such community services. Notably, the Dance Complex provides a full array of arts offerings from around the world. In Brookline, the Brookline Academy of Dance, formally Ballet, Etc., as well as the Brookline School of Music, continue to provide great dance and music offerings. Yet, the competition for teaching and practice space is fierce, and the talents and rich culture of many local arts educators remain untapped. In light of the growing demand, creating another venue for the many talented teachers would not only provide great job opportunities, but also expose the community to more culture, and increase the level of integration. There are currently very few cultural offerings that tailor to the Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Latin, certain sections of the Jewish community, and other communities in Brookline and its surrounding towns.

The property in question, 115 School Street, is ideally located between Brookline High School, Pierce School, the Brookline Public Library and Town Hall, and a large residential community. It is also highly accessibly by public transportation (two D-Line and one C-Line T Stops) and has ample parking. As such, providing morning classes, after school programs for kids, and evening classes, as well as occasional afternoon and evening functions and dances would greatly enhance the community. The development we are currently proposing will result in three large (800 to 970 Sq.-Ft. each) and fully furnished studios, supplemented by dressing rooms, full baths, kitchen facilities, office and storage spaces. An extensive automated multimedia system will be installed to provide high quality audio, visual, and computerized capabilities. In addition modern furnishings will be provided to allow for full wheel chair accessibility to the 1st and 2nd studio levels.

Our proposed opening date is the 1st quarter of 2003. We would like to offer lessons in recreational Chinese and Japanese Martial arts (Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Jujitsu), self defense, cardio fitness, exercise, Yoga, Flamenco, Tap, Jazz, Ballet, International Folk Dance (incl. Middle Eastern, European, African, Latin and South American, Classical Chinese and Japanese, and North American), Ballroom dance, acting, and more. A suggested schedule would provide day classes from 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., after school classes from 2:00 - 6:00 p.m., and evening classes from 6:00 - 10:00 p.m., on weekdays. Weekend classes, workshops and functions would be provided as well, with similar hours of operation. We will also most likely have the ability to hold functions, such as dances and community gatherings, past 10:00 p.m. (up to 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., if possible).

To meet our goals, we would like to employ a large faculty body that would offer, on average, up to 200 hours of classes per week. We should note that although our center's offerings will be provided to the community at discount rates, we have created a business model that will leave ample room for instructors to make very good profits. Our proposed instructor/studio agreement will allow instructors to use the studio facilities for a percentage of their class income, or for a flat fee, based on class enrollment. All money handling for our regular offerings will be done by the studio's administration, and we will also advertise and promote all class and event offerings throughout the surrounding communities using extensive Internet tools, brochures, TV and radio programming, and more. As such new instructors and art forms will be greatly promoted, and available to more diverse sections of the community.

Both Mr. Bleck's and my companies have been committed to community and cultural enrichment through the arts, and are very excited at the prospect of opening this community center in Brookline. We are currently conducting interviews for faculty members in all art forms, and are offering good deals to instructors that give us an early commitment. This project is contingent on our ability to hire enough instructors to meet our required quota for the successful maintenance of the center's finances, and we will be greatly appreciative of your support in joining our staff of educators, and spreading the word around. To schedule a faculty interview, or inquire about studio space availability, and for any questions, comments, or suggestions, please call Dan Yonah Ben-Dror Marshall at (617) 970-1444, or E-Mail Dan_Y_Marshall@Prodigy.net.

Best Regards,

Dan Yonah Marshall & Olaf Bleck