With membership growing and a demand for more classes, Genese Brisky believed it was time for a change.
Brisky, co-owner and manager of Partners Dance Studio in Columbus, decided to take a chance, moving the studio from 107 W. James Street to its new location, 136 W. James. The larger venue allows Partners to offer more space for expanding class sizes, and welcome additional adult classes.
Partners was founded in 1992 by Sue Ellen Reitzner as an opportunity to offer dance instruction and programs for local youth. In the past 25 years, the program has grown and includes more than 330 dancers from Columbus, Beaver Dam, Waterloo, Watertown, Fall River, Fox Lake, Marshall and other local communities.
“I grew up taking dance lessons at Partners, became a full-time assistant right after college and then purchased it a little later,” Brisky said.
Partners was based at its old location for more than 20 years, but Brisky started to feel a bit cramped. With the blessing of her husband, co-owner Danny Brisky, Genese purchased the lower level of 136 W. James, formerly known as Rahn’s Appliance. The owners looked at several places in Columbus and the former appliance store was the ideal fit. Brisky said Columbus Director of Planning and Development Matt Schreiber assisted in steering them to the James Street location.
“Our enrollment was growing and our class sizes were too big so it was time to get bigger,” Brisky said. “It was just time for an improvement.”
Along with more space, the new facility will offer air conditioning, a luxury the old building did not.
“All of our dancers are happy about that,” Brisky said.
Brisky purchased two storefronts that feature two large rooms. The first studio includes a parent-viewing window for parents to watch their children in class, while action in the second studio will be televised for parents. The new location also offers more street parking access.
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“I had a lot of interest in staying downtown; I like the charm you get from the old buildings,” Brisky said. “It’s really cool because this is what you can do with these old buildings. You have to have the vision, though, that was the hardest part.”
The Briskys purchased the building in early January. Through help from Lasche Contracting of Columbus, the building, constructed in 1883, began transforming into a dance studio. While there is still some work to be done, Brisky said renovation has come a long way in less than sixth months. Crews had to install plumbing, including bathrooms, along with an updated heating and air conditioning system.
Online registration for classes begin Aug. 1. With more space, Brisky can offer smaller class sizes and more options. Partners offers a variety of classes, including tap, jazz, ballet, point, hip-hop, tumbling and some new offerings beginning this fall.
“We’re offering more ballet classes, along with more lyrical and adult classes, since there has been more interest for that as well,” Brisky said. “I used to not have time to offer adult classes, but now running two studios, we can offer more.”
To unveil the new studio to her dancers, Brisky plans to host an open house Aug. 7. She’s also welcoming an addition to her staff as Assistant Director Sabrina Castillo begins teaching this fall. Castillo, who grew up in Beaver Dam, recently graduated from Kansas University with a degree in business, which including a minor in dance.
Castillo began taking classes at Partners at age 3 and it ignited her passion for dance. She taught dancing in middle school and, while on summer break from college, helped Brisky with instructional camps.
“It’s very exciting to have her back,” Brisky said.