ArtsATL > Dance > News: The Work Room, a critical hub for indie Atlanta dance, will close next month

News: The Work Room, a critical hub for indie Atlanta dance, will close next month

Blake Beckham and Malina Rodriguez (left) cofounded the Work Room in 2015. (Photo by Jamie Hopper)

The Work Room, created in 2015 to provide a hub for experimental dance and housed in the Wagon Works building in East Point, will cease operations next month.

The studio space, founded by The Lucky Penny experimental performance outfit, gave independent choreographers and dancers a physical space to create and rehearse their works.

The news was announced this week in an email from dancer/choreographer Blake Beckham and designer Malina Rodriguez, who cofounded the Work Room.

“This spring marks three years since the Lucky Penny transformed an empty space in East Point into a vibrant workplace for choreographers,” they wrote. “During those years, the Work Room has served as a vital incubator for contemporary performance, launching dozens of daring projects that have given voice to the culture-makers of our time. It is with extraordinary pride in our accomplishments and our community that we announce the conclusion of the Work Room residency. Next month, we will close our studio in the historic Wagon Works building.”

The announcement is a blow to the city’s independent dance scene; the Work Room offered rehearsal space and a community hub for many cutting-edge dance makers. The Lucky Penny received a Luminary Award from ArtsATL in 2017 for the vision behind the creation of the Work Room.

Beckham and Rodriguez said the future of The Lucky Penny is also undecided. “What’s next for The Lucky Penny?” they said in their email. “We don’t know quite yet, but we promise to keep you posted and invite you to join us for whatever hatches next.”

Artists from the Work Room will continue to present shows through the spring, including new works by MaryGrace Phillips, Bella Dorado, Myra Bazell and SCRAP Performance Group, Melissa Word and Claire Molla, Okwae A. Miller and Anicka Austin.

“Thank you, Work Room, for our sanctuary and home,” Beckham and Rodriguez said. “Thank you for holding a space for the queers, misfits and underdogs to belong. Thank you for feeding us, accepting us and holding us in the strange and bright light of creative work.”

The Work Room occupies 1,700-square feet of the Wagon Works, a 19th-century former wagon mill in East Point. The room offered studio space at affordable rates to its resident and visiting artists. More than 45 original projects were created in the room’s first 18 months of existence. The space also offered dance classes, professional development workshops and space for visiting artists.

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