FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio – Don’t call The Movement Project a startup. It is fair to say now that the troop is fully established.
With its move from a church in Tremont to a premier studio in Fairview Park, the modern dance group has entered a new era, one in which founding sisters Rebecca Leuszler and Megan Gargano are completely free to realize their artistic vision. .
“By being here, we can offer more,” Gargano said from a chair in the company’s bright, newly renovated space along Lorain Road. “It allows us to serve the community better than we have been. We are now independent. »
Do not mistake yourself. Gargano and Leuszler have a fondness for Pilgrim Congregational Church, the historic building inside which they began teaching and performing in 2015.
If it hadn’t started in a stable house, The Movement Project might never have started, let alone survived the pandemic shutdown. There the band found both the public and the student body that still form its base.
But there were limits. Their space was cramped, the ground uneven, their hours and access determined in part by the church. They were hot in the summer and cold in the winter, and in their studio at the back of the building they were essentially hidden from the public.
“Although we liked Pilgrim, it was an older installation,” Leuszler said. “We were looking for a space that would give us the opportunity to be more accessible.”
No problem on that front or any other front now. In its new home at 21547 Lorain Rd., The Movement Project has approximately 1,300 square feet and all the street-level visibility in a family-friendly neighborhood that a school for dancers ages 3-18 could want.
Leuszler, Gargano and all partners can use the studio at any time, day or night. While the company plans to continue performing offsite, at the Breen Center, Transformer Station and other local venues, it now has the ability to hold workshops and other informal in-home gatherings. Its next public performances are Saturday, March 26 at 78th Street Studios in Cleveland.
Finally also, their space is really adapted to the dance and the functioning of a company and a school. In addition to high ceilings, the sisters now have a suspended floor that they installed themselves, as well as a lobby, cloakroom and dedicated office space.
“We knew if we really wanted to keep pushing, we had to act,” Gargano said. “It was a very nice reset, and we gained a lot of experience.”
The Movement Project may be thriving in its new home, but it’s not quite off the hook, like almost all performing arts organizations these days. Not with a still ongoing viral pandemic.
The school and business are looking to expand, but they are also playing it safe when it comes to masking, distance and room capacity. Leuszler said the group is now actively recruiting for its intensive 2022 summer, when hopefully the need for such restrictions will be less urgent.
One thing Gargano said they don’t have to worry about is competition. Even in Fairview Park, a town home to several dance schools, The Movement Project stands out, as it has since day one, with its unique focus on modern dance.
Rather, Gargano predicted, The Movement Project could be the rising tide that lifts all boats, fostering new and deeper relationships with dance in general.
“We are something different, something educational for the community,” she said. “The stronger the dance ecosystem, the more we can all thrive.”
What: The Movement Project presents “shApe”, the works of company members Leuszler, Morckel, Conway and Frye
When: 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26
Or: Stream, 1300 W. 78th St., Cleveland
Tickets: $16-$18, available at the door or at themovementproject.org.