Commission green-lights dance studio plans

by Laura Bednar

March 7 planning commission meeting

The Independence Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for Cleveland Dance Project to use 5505 Valley Belt Rd. as a dance studio and wellness headquarters.

Cleveland Dance Project is the largest all-adult dance group in the greater Cleveland/Akron area, according to the company website. Classes include contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, ballet, tap and musical theater.

Director and company owner Anna Cerveny is a full-time physical therapist and works at University Hospitals in Independence. She said she formed the company in 2017 and dancers range from 18 to 65 years old. Classes take place Monday through Thursday evenings and on weekends.

A typical class is 20 people, and Building Official Michael Gero said there would not be an issue with parking because the studio would operate outside of normal daytime business hours. Cerveny said classes draw people from as far away as Sandusky, Columbus and Detroit.

Cerveny said she looked for studio space for three years. Currently, the company rents space from various studios in the Cleveland area. The studio and wellness center would occupy 4,880 square feet of building space, according to Vice Mayor David Grendel. The lease would be for five years.

The company puts on two showcases every year, which include 20 to 24 local choreographers and 180 adult dancers and draws roughly 1,000 audience members, according to Cerveny. In the past, a showcase was held at Independence Middle School.

In addition to dance classes, Cerveny formed a nonprofit as an outreach to different community groups that emphasizes the importance of movement for physical and mental well-being.

“We work very closely with The Gathering Place, which is a cancer support organization,” she said. “We also work with Laura’s Home, which is a women’s home crisis shelter, so we go there, and we provide wellness and movement-type education in classes for them.”

The nonprofit has also started to visit retirement homes.

Pending final approval from city council at the March meeting, Cerveny hopes to open the studio by Aug. 1. ∞