East siders will have a new dance studio to add to their repertoire when Kercheval Dance opens in Grosse Pointe's Village business district this summer.
Tracy Halso Gap and her husband, Adam Gap, will own and operate the business, which is being renovated inside a space in the block-long building that previously housed a Borders bookstore and an Ace Hardware. Their 3,500-square-foot space will come with two studios -- one with a stage, high ceilings (The husband-wife dance partners know the pitfalls of dance spaces with low ones). The studio will also be built with special shock-absorbing, bone-protecting sprung floors like the ones used on Dancing With the Stars, professional lighting and sound systems, and a large lobby.
will be next door to the offices of St. John Health System, which leased the space for the studio and has plans to bring in other tenants. The studio faces a public parking lot behind the building, which fronts Kercheval Avenue. Its entrance is on the alley for easy drop-off and pick-up, and, if needed, convenient access to nearby businesses, says Tracy Halso Gap.
The couple bring with them years of experience in performance dance, dance instruction and competition dance coaching. They've lived and worked in cities around the country.
After graduating from Oklahoma City University, which specializes in dance and musical theater majors, Gap, a Grosse Pointe native and University Liggett graduate, "bounced around like a gypsy," including years spent in New York studying dance and auditioning. That was followed by work as a dancer at theme parks in Virginia, where she and her husband were dance partners, and in Pennsylvania and at Disney World before moving to Boston. There they led a master's program and directed a competition dance team. Adam Gap also danced for Royal Caribbean International, the Bellagio in Las Vegas and the American Spirit Dance Company. During their time in Boston, he received his business degree.
"After living in so many places we really found out what we wanted to do. It really gave us a taste of what's out there. And we both knew we have a mutual love for children and dance," she says.
They also have a love for Grosse Pointe, she says, and after they moved back from Boston last summer, they started looking for a studio location.
"There were a lot of times we contemplated starting a dance school out there. It could be great. Boston is a big supporter of the arts," she says. "But the feel of the community in Grosse Pointe is so special and unique… Parents really research what their kids are involved in, and they want high quality. We hope we produce a high quality dance education and a fun place to study for children and the parents as well."
The Gaps will lead classes in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and contemporary dance to students as young as age two. Adults will be offered the same courses plus fitness fusion, a workout for dancers or non-dancers, and ballroom dance. Advanced ballerinas will find pointe classes, and there will be special classes in tumbling and stretching and leaps and turns to build on gymnastics' influence on dance.
Initially, the Gaps will teach all classes. As enrollment builds they will hire other instructors and expand courses. She says their dance school will be set apart by the quality of the studio construction and its performance space as well as its syllabus-guided instruction that lets students and parents track progress, milestones, set goals, etc.
"We want children to develop and learn and grow with us," she says. "We are just so excited to be here, in the Village and to be a part of bringing back this part of the Village that has been open and empty for so long. We are so grateful for this opportunity."
Check out this video of O'Mara Sprung Floors
, the Flint company that's building the studio floors, and this one of the Gaps dancing.
Source: Tracy Halso Gap
Writer: Kim North Shine