For Marristela Sousa dance class isn't just a part of her exercise regimen, it's her social outlet, and these days she says it's also her therapy. Her husband has Alzheimer's and Sousa is his primary caretaker.
“The first time I came in here, I kind of ditched my support group to come in here instead,” Sousa said. “And then this became my support group. I realized this was my place to be."
For 17 years, Culture Shock Dance Center has been a place for all people: professional dancers, dance enthusiasts, and those who simply need a break from their busy lives.
But this sweet escape is now on the brink of closing, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We applied for all the grants and small business loans we could,” said Briget Savant, studio program manager.
Savant says it wasn't enough. Her dance studio has been shut down for nearly six months and the online classes they offer aren’t keeping them afloat.
There was hope on August 31, when they were finally able to open their doors, but only at a 10% capacity.
The studio says they are doing everything they can to make it work.
“We just launched a GoFundMe yesterday,” said Savant. “We did as many cuts as we possibly can. We did salary cuts, the staff offered to volunteer.”
Savant says she's concerned they won't be able to stay open beyond this month.
“I cannot imagine not coming here,” Sousa said. “This is a place with so many great instructors and if this place were to close its doors, it would break my heart."