Downtown Dance Factory, Turning 10, Shows Off How Far It's Come

"Hernando's Hideway," choreographed by Katie LaDuca, was one of 226 dances performed over two weekends of Downtown Dance Factory recitals. The dance has been nominated for an Industry Dance Award. At center is Lillie Braden. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jun. 10, 2019

Downtown Dance Factory turns 10 this year and its annual marathon of recitals the past two weekends, packing the 900-seat Tribeca Performing Arts Center for all 10 shows, was a glittering testament to the remarkable success of this home-grown enterprise.

Slide show from one of six Downtown Dance Factory recital shows staged last weekend (10 over two weekends) at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Photos by Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib 

Co-founded in 2009 by Melanie Zrihen and Hanne Larsen, Tribeca mothers of four and three respectively, Downtown Dance Factory opened its doors in the basement of a Chambers Street gym to a cohort of 150 students drawn to the pop offerings of “jazz/hip hop fusion,” street hip hop, and kindihop that couldn’t be found elsewhere. Their first recital of 17 dance performances to a sell-out crowd in the TPAC auditorium that spring was a hint of what was to come.

Over the past two weekends, 226 dances were performed at Downtown Dance Factory recitals. The school, housed in a seven-studio complex on Broadway, now boasts more than 1,500 students who take classes in a widely expanded variety of dance genres. A number of students have been accepted to prestigious dance programs, including 11 to Laguardia High School of the Arts. Twenty-three students who started as tykes back in 2009 are still taking lessons at the school.

“By the end of the recital season we will have done 57 recitals here at Downtown Dance Factory, and each one we like to think of as being pretty fantastic,” Larsen told the adoring audience at the end of a recital. “So well done everybody. You danced on stage with your heart and your soul.

“And with pointed feet,” she added, “which is always important.

Below, the close to a finale performance that ends one of the 10 shows of Downtown Dance Factorys 2019 recital season.