DC Wheel Productions, Inc./Dance Place was founded by Carla Perlo and Steve Bloom in 1978 as an Educational and Performing Arts Company, which toured the public schools in the Greater DC Metropolitan area. From 1980-1985 the organization developed and operated a cultural community center called Dance Place in a rented facility located at 2424 18th Street NW, DC in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. In 1986, the organization was forced out of its Adams Morgan location due to gentrification and quadrupled rents. In order to secure the organization’s future, DC Wheel purchased and renovated its permanent home located at 3225 8th Street, NE in the Brookland neighborhood. With ownership of its own building, DC Wheel increased development of artistic and educational programs drawing many citizens and new business into its Brookland neighborhood.
The heart of the organization has resided in linking Arts, Education and Community in a rich, diverse atmosphere of nurturing support. In 2002, DC Wheel expanded its campus to include three rented facilities located adjacent to its main space in the Brookland Studios to serve as an additional office space, a teaching studio and a creative education center (CEC). A wide variety of programs have been generated throughout Dance Place’s twenty-five year history – feeding the development of a vital community center while simultaneously growing a reputation as a national and international presenter of high acclaim. Dance Place has served as a vital catalyst in parenting, partnering and supporting the growth of individuals, families, schools, organizations and business in the DC area. Also, Dance Place has played a significant role in the creation of a model program for underserved youth and in the development of the DC dance community. Dance Place has enhanced the reach of its national presence while strengthening its connections to DC and its immediate neighborhood. Dance Place has become a strong community arts center and an important thread in the city’s cultural fabric, making Washington, DC a safer and more vibrant city in which to live.
Header photo: “Touch My Building” Installation from artist Christopher Janney. Photo by Signe Renn.