A Brief History...
Broadway Dance Center’s rich history starts in New York City in the early 1980s, when dancers flocked to NYC to train and vie for a spot on the fabled Broadway stages -- the unitards roamed free and shows like A Chorus Line and Cats had created a new niche for beautifully trained dancers. Choreographers like Michael Bennett, Bob Fosse, and Jerome Robbins were creating brilliance on stage, while teachers like Luigi, Jamie Rogers, Henry LeTang, Phil Black, David Howard, and Frank Hatchett were preparing dancers to become the versatile and technical performers needed for these great choreographers. Then with the emergence of MTV and the music video era, ever more dancers came to train, and BDC evolved to become the one-stop shop for dancers of all levels, styles, and dreams.
Business-owner and avid dance fan Richard Ellner assumed ownership of Hines-Hatchett, re-naming it Broadway Dance Center, and set out to create a studio that would provide a true home for teachers and dancers. Each instructor was carefully selected and encouraged to contribute his or her personal style and expertise. Students converged in droves to enjoy the convenience of attending one studio for diversified training rather than having to travel throughout the city. In the early years, renowned teachers joined BDC’s faculty and solidified the studio’s standing in the dance community. Word of the studio quickly spread and brought students from around the globe. Mr. Ellner’s dream to share the joy of dance with everyone, not just professionals, brought recreational dancers and professionals together beautifully in their mutual love of dance. Over the next 15 years, the studio grew and flourished under Richard’s leadership. His daughter Allison came on board and together they formed a strong partnership.
Under standard NYC real estate pressures, the studios relocated to 211 West 57th Street. Richard passed away just three weeks after the move to 57th street at the age of 69, but would have been proud of the new space that inspired so many dancers. Determined to honor the legacy that her beloved father left behind and to move the business into the next millennium, Allison brought on an ever more impressive roster of teachers, and vastly expanded the studio’s educational offerings and programming. On 57th Street were born many of the programs and workshops that have made BDC famous: the International Student Visa Program, The Children and Teen Program, the Dance Teacher Workshop, and the Music Video Jam that since evolved into The PULSE on Tour – now its own company and truly the most cutting-edge of touring dance events. During our time on those five floors on 57th, our business evolved as well – the front desk system left behind the paper sign-in procedure to embrace the computer age and we developed the first iterations of what has become our now legendary Web presence. BDC’s ability to change with the times and deliver both the training and technology our students need has kept us current throughout our years of operation.
Nine years later, under the direction of the current Executive Director Diane King, and with heartwarming support from the dance community, faculty, and staff, BDC relocated again and was able to rebuild its current state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Times Square and maintain the integrity and generosity for which the studio is known in the dance community. Under her leadership and with the support of a talented and dedicated staff, the studio provides a palpable abundance of creative energy that invigorates the minds, bodies, and souls of all who enter. To this day, our staff holds true to the founder’s original intent; an open-door policy gratefully welcoming all those who wish to dance. BDC’s class offerings continue to grow and provide an enormous and unprecedented variety of talented faculty and styles. These include innovative and groundbreaking workshops, programs, and events that create positive opportunities for children and adults. It has often been said that BDC is a second home for dancers – this is indeed the dream Richard sought to attain, and it is our honor ever strive to keep this dream in our sights.
And we’re far from finished! We’ve expanded our space on 45th Street to seven state-of-the-art studios and now offer over 350 classes a week. With workshops such as our Broadway Choreography Series, Contemporary Variation Series, Commercial Hip-Hop Weekend Intensives, and programs such as our elite Professional Semester and new Junior Training Program, as well as with our expanded Shop and online video presence, we are always carefully crafting new and exciting offerings for dancers of every path in our endless effort to inspire the world to dance! Just as Broadway Dance Center became the fulfillment of Richard’s dreams, we know that, somewhere within the BDC-red walls of our dynamic studios, it can do the same for you.