Runner-up: Encore Dance Studio, Warrenton

Honorable mention: Maddox Dance Studio, Warrenton

The Arts & Movement Center in downtown Astoria is more than a dance studio. It’s a place where people can come to be part of a community, to express themselves, to feel accepted, to grow.

“I’ve seen people’s lives change in that ballroom — their health improves, their confidence grows, they make friends and inspire others, all within a supportive learning environment,” executive director and Astoria City Councilor Jessamyn Grace West said. “This studio is community, a community that has a right to creative self-expression and honoring a relationship with the body.”

Founded in 2011, the studio averages more than 20 classes and workshops per week. The facility also is home to more than 20 regular and guest instructors who teach Argentine tango, belly dance, contemporary dance, tap, modern dance, jazz, contra dance, Zumba, fitness, yoga, theater, hip hop and more.

In 2018, West and the studio’s board president, Andrea Mazzarella, purchased the historic Odd Fellows Building on 10th Street that houses the studio on the second floor.

“It was time to take action and secure our space,” West said.

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