BTI Dance Institute located just north of Dupont Circle is closing its doors on December 9. The dance studio, founded by Artistic Director Alvaro Maldonado, opened on 14th Street NW in July 2010 and later relocated to its 1643 Connecticut Avenue NW space last February.
Federal government budget cuts appear to have played a huge role in the nonprofit’s demise. From a BTI email news release on Tuesday:
“This year Congress cut $38 billion out of the U.S. government’s current-year budget. Among the many programs they slashed were the National Capital Arts Program and other arts programs funding… As you know BTI is a nonprofit that depends on grants and donations, although we do a great job on generating income to support our selves we still do not earn enough to cover our operating costs.”
Below are two e-mails from BTI Dance Institute received on December 6.
Going Out of Business Notice
As of December 9, 2011, BTI Dance Institute will be going out of business.
As dancers our main objective is to reach the maximum expression of excellence and truth with passion, enthusiasm and discipline no matter how impossible the task seems. These are the principals that we at BTI strive for every day. Establishing a new non-profit arts training facility in downtown D.C. with a social entrepreneur vision in the present economy was not [an] easy task. Fortunately it was our passion, enthusiasm and discipline that saw us through the past year. BTI is nearing its second anniversary of providing quality dance training. We are ever grateful to loyal community partners like you who kept the spirit of our shared vision alive!
Since its opening BTI has employed more than 35 qualified Dance Instructors from the D.C. metropolitan area and New York as well as provided scholarships to 28 students.
This year Congress cut $38 billion out of the U.S. government’s current-year budget. Among the many programs they slashed were the National Capital Arts Program and other arts programs funding… As you know BTI is a nonprofit that depends on grants and donations, although we do a great job on generating income to support our selves we still do not earn enough to cover our operating costs.
This opens a sizable gap in our budget that would be tough to close any year; and represents an extraordinary challenge that unfortunately at this moment we cannot overcome.
As founder and director of BTI Dance Institute and BTI Dance Company, and on behalf of BTI’s faculty and staff, I would like to thank you for making BTI an instant success.
If you have any questions or comments regarding our business closure, please feel free to contact us by via email: [email protected].
Notice Regarding Pre-paid Classes
As you may know, as of December 9, 2011, BTI Dance Institute will be going out of business.
The last day of class will be on December 9, 2011. We will reimburse your credit card for pre-paid classes within the following 30 business days. If you purchased a group buying voucher such as LivingSocial and you have not used the classes, you must contact LivingSocial or the respective company you bought the voucher from since you made the purchase through them.
Again as founder and director of BTI Dance Institute and BTI Dance Company, and on behalf of BTI’s faculty and staff, I would like to thank you for making BTI an instant success.
If you have any questions or comments regarding our business closure, please feel free to contact us by via email: [email protected]
From Cecile Oreste of danceDC
Long before moving to DC and opening BTI Dance Institute on 14th Street, Alvaro Maldonado was a kid growing up in war-torn El Salvador. Free dance classes at the National Ballet School kept him away from the violence and gangs that surrounded him, and the lessons he learned in the classroom changed his life.
“I wouldn’t be able to be here without dance,” Maldonado said. “Dance transformed my life and I hope to use the power of dance to transform the lives of others.”
Inspired by his personal experience, Maldonado, who is also a nutrition consultant and co-owner of the personal training gym Fit on 17th Street NW, began to implement dance programs in his home country, and in other troubled areas of Central America. According to Maldonado, the goal of the program is not to create dancers, but instead to inspire students and provide them the tools needed to succeed in life.
He now brings this transformational outreach program to District schools and youth groups through BTI–Ballet Teatro Internacional–Dance Institute, which opened its doors on 14thStreet NW last weekend. He is the owner and artistic director.
In addition to its outreach programs, BTI Dance Institute has both an adult and youth dance training program. To promote its repertoire of classes and to test out the current schedule of its adult dance training program, the studio is offering free classes until Friday, July 23.
First time students and experienced dancers alike will have the chance to try a variety of free classes before regular rates go into effect this Saturday. They will also be able to purchase discount cards at reduced rates before Saturday the 24th.
Youth Program Starts in September
The success of the first few weeks of BTI is not only important to keep the studio going, but it is also key to building a solid financial base for its youth dance training program scheduled to start this September. Maldonado wants to train modern dancers through this program.
Students of BTI Dance Institute’s youth dance training program will take dance history and other relevant academic classes, as well as daily technique and modern dance classes. Graduates of the program will receive a diploma in contemporary dance concert performance and will be prepared to audition for modern dance companies all over the world.
Ballet Performance Workshop
Students interested in the training program and ballet dancers who have been out of practice may be interested in BTI’s Classical Ballet Performance Workshop with Elizabeth Wisenberg of the Stuttgart Ballet. The two week intensive workshop runs Monday through Friday 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, August 16-27. Total cost for the workshop is $190, but students can also pay for drop in classes with Wisenberg.
Dancers who participate in the workshop will take an hour of technique class and an hour of repertory to learn one of the well-known pieces from Swan Lake. The workshop culminates with a small performance of the Swan Lake piece for family and friends at the studio.
Maldonado noted that BTI is still working on its studio but hopes to complete everything over the next couple weeks. Classes will be adjusted and added to meet the needs of the studio and its clientele–but hip hop and flamenco fans will be disappointed to hear that these types of classes will not be included to the roster.
For more posts about dance in DC please visit my new blog, danceDC. – Cecile.