Astoria
Jun 21, 2019

10 Years on Steinway: A History of Sol Dance Center

Sol Dance Center has survived 10 years on Steinway Street—which we all know is quite an accomplishment. The dance studio was founded upon the Latin and Classical roots of owner, Karla (…)

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Sol Dance Center has survived 10 years on Steinway Street—which we all know is quite an accomplishment. The dance studio was founded upon the Latin and Classical roots of owner, Karla Choko, and now offers over 10 styles of dance for children and adults. We spoke to Karla to hear a little bit more about the her and the dance studio’s history, starting her business in this Astoria neighborhood, and more info on this year’s dance showcase. Read on!

1. Tell me about the founding of Sol back in 2009. Why did you start it and what is your dance background? What was the landscape of the neighborhood then?

I was born in Mexico, and began my training at the age of 5. I started teaching once I turned 15 as my passion for teaching increased more and more. My dance training extends from classical ballet to Latin Rhythms, Modern plus many more. Sol initially started in a basement which was under a bridge – it was in a very deserted but open area. The studio wasn’t able to be seen until we moved our location to Steinway which was a huge move with a bigger community and neighborhood.

2. In what ways have you seen the community change over the last 10 years? As you said, with the quick turnover of businesses on Steinway, how do you think you have managed to thrive?

We have had such an amazing group of clients throughout our Sol family who are practically family. Sol we consider all of our students family, which helps us continue motivating and growing as a community.

 3. How has the studio expanded over the years? Now you offer over 10 styles of dance—how many did you start with and why did you decide to add certain ones?

Sol initially was held in a basement under a bridge in Astoria Blvd. We are certainly grateful we were able to find Sol Dance Center’s new location on Steinway Street which was located above the former Hallmark Store until 2015. We managed to gain the former Hallmark building and turn it into the main level of our studio and it’s been about four years since then. Now, we are in the process of updating the studio again. When we first opened our first location we had classes such as Michael Jackson Class, Tango, Salsa, Hip Hop and Belly dance. We noticed that all of ours students have been advancing rather quickly to the next level and we decided to up the stakes and challenge them even further. We found our current and amazing instructors who have been working extremely hard with all of our students.

4. What would you recommend for someone who danced when they were younger and wants to get back into it, or is completely new to dance but wants to try something new?

You are never to old to start dancing. If you put the necessary time and commitment you can go far as a dancer.

5. Tell me a little more your upcoming show Dancesanity and which local creatives are a part of it?

As this is our 10 anniversary we are going bigger than we have ever done before. We have more classes included in this year’s performance as well as instructors. In this year’s production we are aligning our chakras—not our usual productions we normally produce compared to our past showcases. I believe this will be the best one yet. And I could not be more excited to help put together Creative Consciousness.

Tickets to Dancesanity: Creative Consciousness on Sunday, June 22 are available here. The Facebook event can be found here.

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