September 6, by Nathaly Pesantez
The large space on Queens Boulevard that once housed a Korean church and acted as a community hall will now serve as a permanent home for a children’s school and a dance studio.
The site at 41-20 Queens Boulevard will be the location of the Q Studio Lab, a laboratory school serving children from kindergarten to the third grade, and Dance Matters, a youth arts program making its way to Sunnyside from Spaceworks in Long Island City.
The Q Studio Lab, according to its founder Lauren Travers, who also founded the Amazing Magic Beans Learning Center at 43-12 46th Street, is currently a small “home school collaboration” that launched in 2015. The idea came about after working with a group of parents and teachers to create a learning environment that follows the Reggio Emilia philosophy, which promotes experiential learning and teaching through the arts. Prior to moving its location to Sunnyside, the studio lab operated out of the Variety Boys and Girls Club in Long Island City.
The Q Studio Lab will officially open on Queens Blvd. tomorrow.
The studio lab program has 12 enrolled students and a capacity to seat 50. The studio lab will likely receive private school designation in early 2018, according to Travers, and students who join the Q Studio Lab before that are enrolled through the New York City Department of Education’s Home School program.
Tuition for the Q Studio Lab is $1,200 a month, and the studio lab is still accepting applications for interested students. For information on how to enroll, visit the Q Studio Lab page.
A pre-school and an after school are also planned for the site, and will open late October.
After the school day finishes, the top floor of the building will be occupied by Dance Matters, a youth program for children ages 2 to 18 that teaches a variety of dance styles, including ballet, modern, jazz, through classes like “Mommy and Me” and a newly added “Boys Freestyle”.
Mariana Sanchez, an American Ballet Theater certified instructor, founded Dance Matters in 2014 after closing down her former dance school, Astoria Fine Arts Dance. Sanchez, along with four other professional dance instructors, will teach students in two large dance studios.
“Part of the mission is to create a nurturing environment where kids can find their own strength,” Sanchez said. “Dance is such a powerful tool for kids to have in their lives.”
Travers reached out to Sanchez about moving the dance school’s location to the Queens Boulevard site in order to have an after-school program within reach that aligns with the creative teaching philosophy of the studio lab. When the after school program takes off late October, Sanchez will likely provide a select number of classes for enrolled students at the studio lab school. The dance school, however, is open to any child, and does not require affiliation with studio lab to join.
Dance classes will begin this Saturday, but will continue to be held at Spaceworks, located at 33-02 Skillman Avenue, until the dance studios are ready for use in the coming weeks. Children can sign up for a 7-week class series in any of the dance styles taught, which costs around $175 total. Pricing plans and models are also available for students interested in year-long learning. For more information on enrolling and pricing, visit the Dance Matters site.
Travers says the goal for the Queens Boulevard site is to have it be used as a community space, with a possibility for the dance studios at the top floor to be rented out to artists interested in using the facilities.
“Ultimately, we want to partner with local public schools and community organizations so what we’re doing can be shared—like a shared brain trust,” Travers said.