Danville city officials joined citizens Monday morning in celebrating the opening of New City Dance Space at the renovated historic building located at 616 North Main St. The building once was known as the Red Men Building and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The dance studio will occupy the second floor. In this space, Danya and Jose Zuniga will provide group and private lessons in multiple styles, including ballroom and social dances, adult ballet and belly dance.
“This day is a little overwhelming,” Jose Zuniga said at the ceremony. “We are excited about the location. The building became so gorgeous that we could not pass it up.”
At a reception following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Zunigas performed in the dance studio, which is an open loft with large windows and wooden flooring. On Nov. 22, they will hold a grand opening.
The studio will provide lessons for beginners, intermediate and advanced level dancers. The Zunigas also plan to hold private dance parties at which students can get the feel of using their skills in front of others who are learning the same dance styles.
Jose Zuniga began teaching ballroom dancing in 1979 for Arthur Murray in Richmond. He became an independent ballroom professional in 1987 and relocated to Danville, where he opened ZL’s School of Social Dancing. He has been teaching in the Danville area since then.
Danya Zuniga began teaching performing arts dancing in 1989 under the guidance of Vikki Rimmer at Dance Arts Center in Danville. She later purchased the center from Rimmer.
In 1999, the Zunigas opened The Dance Space, which provided both ballroom dancing and performing arts dance.
Mayor Sherman Saunders welcomed their move to the new location. “We wish you many, many years of success,” Saunders said.
He also talked about the renovations to the historic building, saying, “Less than a year ago, the façade to this building was covered. Now, this brick building has been brought back to life.”
The renovation is the work of developer Steve DelGiorno, a graduate of George Washington High School. DelGiorno purchased the building four years ago. Renovations began two-and-a-half years ago.
DelGiorno talked at the ceremony about the decision to purchase the building, which he is branding as Neapolis Six One Six. The North Main Street area was incorporated as Neapolis, which means “new city,” in 1894 before being annexed by Danville.
DelGiorno said he learned of the investments taking place in Danville and the efforts to bring about a rebirth of the city. “My wife and I decided that we wanted to be a part of that,” DelGiorno said.
He continued, saying, “We were immediately drawn to Neapolis. What we have in Neapolis is, what we hope you will agree, is something quite special. This commercial district is untapped, and it is intertwined with a residential neighborhood with affordable housing and a welcoming population of residents. There are opportunities here. We think Neapolis will be an important part of Danville’s future.”
Jerry Meadors, a local filmmaker and theater producer, writer and director, brought the Zunigas to Neapolis Six One Six. Meadors sees the dance studio as a complement to Moon River Thai Bistro and the North Theatre.
A project for the first floor space is in progress.
DelGiorno also owns the adjoining building at 620 North Main.