Flamenco Por La Vida recently opened a new dance studio, four years after losing their space in Roosevelt Row. The dance company was founded by Angelina Ramirez, who says she’s delighted they finally have a new home.
The studio is located at 1731 East McDowell Road, in a part of Phoenix historically called “Miracle Mile.”
Ramirez started Flamenco Por La Vida to help raise awareness and appreciation for flamenco dance. The company perform at festivals and venues throughout metro Phoenix, including Crescent Ballroom. Ramirez serves as artistic director, and Olivia Rojas is the music director.
“We’ve been bouncing from space to space,” Ramirez says. “We’re excited to finally have our own studio again.”
Ramirez opened Fifth Row Studio in the former Flowers building in Roosevelt Row in early 2012. But their landlord sold the property to a developer called Desert Viking in 2016. Soon after, several creative businesses lost their space in the building. Flamenco Por La Vida was among them.
“All the tenants got a letter saying they had 30 days to vacate,” Ramirez recalls. “It was kind of sad, and a little bit frustrating.”
They’ve been using other spaces in the interim, including a space in the Garfield neighborhood and a space at the Tempe campus for the theater group Childsplay.
Now, they’ve got their own space again — and a five-year lease. “I’m going to miss the foot traffic on Roosevelt, but McDowell is becoming a really busy spot as well,” Ramirez says. The studio is located near Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, another creative spot.
They opened the new studio, which has more than double the space, in October. Fifth Row Dance Studio had about 600 square feet. The new FPLV studios have 1,500 square feet. That means they’ll have more room for classes and other community programs.
Flamenco Por La Vida are already holding Wednesday night classes in the new studio. They’ve installed a new floor but plan additional changes in the coming months.
They’ve completed the first phase already, which focused on preparing the front studio. Next, they’ll add a smaller studio space, then office and retail space. Moving forward, Ramirez plans to offer not only classes but also community cultural events.
“Right now our focus is bringing in movement, and adding life to the space,” Ramirez says. She’s also busy transforming her business into a nonprofit, so she’ll be able to apply for grants to help with expanding Flamenco Por La Vida programming.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know people in this community,” Ramirez says of their new home. “We’re really excited about ways we can innovate in this space without changing the rich culture that already exists here.”