Setting Downtown in Motion: Downtown Dance & Movement

Downtown Los Angeles from two to three years ago hardly seemed liked the ideal host for Angelenos’ growing appetite for health and fitness. Fast forward to today’s frenzied downtown environment–Spin, Yoga, Crossfit, Martial Arts, and all its glamorous new-age fitness counterparts have taken up residence. Amidst the more commercialized fitness franchises that run amok Linda Valentino’s Downtown Dance and Movement has built up a cult-like following and for good reason.

“I wanted to build a studio that allowed for all types of dances to integrate. The studio was meant to host a cross section of different dances.” – Linda V.

The revitalization of downtown’s residential and retail industries have brought to the streets, a heightened demographic of self-awareness and sophistication. Along with other entrepreneurs in the health and wellness industry, partners Linda Valentino and Alle Ghadban—who is also a contractor by trade—transformed an old car dealership, a venue that was more akin to a casualty of downtown’s industrial bust, into a sophisticated 4-room dance studio equipped with sprung maple and Marley floors, 8 foot high mirrors and professional-grade sound systems.

Downtown Dance and Movement, whose first year anniversary is just around the corner, is more than just a brainchild of Linda’s passion for dancing, who herself has been a dance instructor for almost 20 years—it is essentially a culmination of her deliberate and patient pursuit of building a vision that was 13 years in the making.

“I worked in downtown from 1981-1984 when every establishment had steel roll down windows and large padlocks…when the area started to develop, it was one of the areas on top of my list.” – Linda V.

Downtown Dance and Movement has brought together teachers that embrace the same philosophy of infusing the discipline of classical technique with an openness to modifications that are adaptive to the evolving trends in fitness. It is this formula that has allowed Downtown Dance and Movement to built such a strong community of novice and seasoned dancers.

“I’m super happy that we finally have a legitimate dance studio here in downtown…never thought I would really be able to get back into ballet at this stage” -DDM Student

To date, the studio has become the forerunner for dance companies seeking top of the line rehearsal spaces. The studio is accustomed to accommodating traveling performers and no stranger to hosting celebrity performers, including a recent three-day rehearsal by Usher.

Currently, Downtown Dance and Movement studio host about 6 to 8 classes a day from categories including salsa, tango, ballet, african dance, fitness classes, Bollywood, hiphop, modern jazz, and yoga.

The grandiosity of the studio’s brightly lit rooms are as attractive as the studio’s teachers themselves. Some of the studio’s more prominent instructors include the famous Argentinian Tango duo Carlos Barrionuevo and Mayte Valdes who have been Linda’s great friends.

“We wanted to support her studio because it’s a great studio…the quality of the studio is just amazing. There is no other studio with this kind of facility”- -Carlos and Mayte

Master teachers, Carlos and Mayte, who also own their own studio in San Diego, teach two classes a week at Downtown Dance and Movement. Dubbed as “World’s greatest Contemporary Argentine Tango Dancers,” if there’s one class to sign up for, it is theirs. Notwithstanding the studio’s high caliber roster of instructors, the students are the one’s that deserve praise. The studio is impressive in its ability to break through inhibitions at all levels of instructions and for all types of students.

Indeed, no other dance studio this side of Los Angeles has committed to instilling dance and movement into the fabric of downtown’s growing community. The studio’s 7,800-square-foot facility at 1144 South Hope Street, is unrivaled not just in the range of classes it offers but also in the scale of its facilities. What better way to celebrate than to join in on the festivities–It’s high time we all take our places on Downtown Dance and Movement ’s dance floor.

“It’s been amazing to just be able to get back into dancing and it’s so convenient,” added another student who works for the LA County City Hall. -DDM Student