By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — Evolve Dance Co. celebrated the start of a new chapter on Saturday as it showed off its new space inside Edgebrook Shops.
The dance company has taken residence at 1643 N. Alpine Road after spending 17 years at Brynwood Square along Mulford Road.
“There’s been a lot of awesome memories there, but we’re really excited for the new ones here,” said Jenny Vause, artistic director and co-owner of Evolve Dance Co. “It’s definitely a fresh start. I think after 17 years it makes sense. Why not switch things up and make sure that there’s a fresh life and a fresh breath going in.”
Evolve, which was founded in 2005, is owned by the mother-daughter team of JoEllen and Jenny Vause. Dozens of people gathered Saturday afternoon for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new space.
Vause said Evolve was looking for a place with a better sense of community, and Edgebrook offered an active and supportive array of small businesses surrounding it.
That activity can help Evolve restore its ranks, which dwindled a bit during the coronavirus pandemic. Before the pandemic, Evolve instructors taught various classes to about 350 dancers.
“We wanted a new location that had a little bit more foot traffic and sense of community to try to get our numbers back up, but also to make sure our staff and everyone here felt really safe being in this environment,” Vause said.
Evolve teaches a multitude of dance styles: jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, lyrical, musical theater, ballroom and country. It also has classes for wedding choreography, theater, tumbling and more. Vause said they’re considering adding adult classes.
Classes are taught by a staff that’s diverse in its teaching methods and style.
“We’re similar in the fact that we wants what’s best for the kids in the class, but everyone is so different and unique that I think everyone feels welcome here,” Vause said. “Kids come as they are and get to live their best lives when they’re here.”
Evolve is also offering Saturday trial classes for children ages 2-6 to learn basics. Each will run for four weeks.
The new space has four large dance studios with sprung wood floors covered with mallet. There is also a lobby, break room, changing area and a teacher’s lounge providing staff their own place to decompress.
It’s “just incredible excitement and energy that surrounds here,” said Sandy Dingus, Edgebrook’s marketing and events coordinator. “We look forward to a wonderful partnership and to the energy, which in the literal sense they’re bringing to Edgebrook.”
The first classes at Evolve start on Monday.