My favorite (Cheap) Rehearsal Spaces

Perhaps the worst part of being an independent choreographer in NYC is trying to find affordable rental space. I have personally spend HOURS ripping out my hair trying to find space. Through all the muck I’ve discovered these studio gemsThey are my favorite either because they are inspiring spaces to work in, conveniently located, or easy to book (sometimes ALL THREE!). But most importantly…. They. Are. Cheap. 

Number 1: Chez Bushwick

Cost: $5-8/hr + $35 annual fee for Members. $15/hr for non-members.
Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn
Address: 304 Boerum St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 — 2nd Floor
Studios: 1
Hours of Availability: 8am- whenever * they just opened up their hours beyond 10pm.
Ease of Booking: 7 of 10.
How You book: You have to check the online calendar for studio availability and then email Chez Bushwick in order to book it. They tend to confirm within 2-3 days so you have to give them time.
Ease of finding space: 7 of 10
Cancellation Policy: 1 week
Application for subsided Rate? No, instead they have annual memberships for $35.

Quirks: Before you are allowed to rent the space you must come into the office, sign a contract (which explicitly forbids Glitter) and receive a tour. Included in the contract are door codes that give you access to the building and studio. You may not give these codes out and must, therefore, be the first one to arrive and last one to leave if you’re bringing dancers. Payment is in cash at the time of the rehearsal.  The studio is located in a residential building, there is not much room to loiter outside of the studio and you must be quiet to respect the tenants. P.s This is one of MY ALL TIME FAVORITE studios. Sun soaked and cheap. If you become a member you will receive weekly emails with “last minute rental” opportunities for $5/hr.

Additional Info: Chez Bushwhack works to cultivate a vibrant dance community by hosting opportunities for works-in-progress showings, residencies and performances.

Number 2:  FAB or the Forth Arts Block 

Cost: $10/hr
Location: Lower East Side, NY
Address:70 East 4th Street, 1st Floor, New York, NY 10003
Number of Studios: 5
Hours of Availability: Mon-Wed 8am-5pm. Thur, Fri & Sun 8am-6pm
Ease of Booking: 5 of 10.
Ease of finding space: 9 of 10
Cancellation Policy: 72 hours
How You book: Once you’vv successfully completed the online application you will receive an email link to the booking site. Each of the 5 FAB studios have their own tab and calendar
Application for subsided Rate? Yes. Request the application online by filling out a form at the bottom of the homepage. Give them 48 hours to respond with the full application.  Once that is filled out you need to give them another 48 hours to respond with a booking link and instructions.

Quirks: Each of the 5 studios are in own and operated by 5 different companies within 3 buildings — FAB is merely the umbrella organization. There are therefore a lot of rules you need to adhere to when renting from FAB. They rent exclusively to independent choreographers hosting dance rehearsals (no class, no performance, no video, no theater). As the choreographer you MUST arrive early for your rehearsal time — or call — because FAB walks you to your rehearsal space; dancers are not allowed in the space without their choreographer. They are not very lenient so if you follow their rules you will have a good experience with FAB, if you don’t follow their rules you will not.  They are one of the cheapest, most convenient studios to rent from in NYC, so its worth it to put your best foot forward!

Studio Breakdowns:
Teatro Círculo (TC) & IATI Theater (IATI): Are very similar to each other. Each are decently/small sized with a mirror that expands most of one wall. Very colorful.
Rod Rodgers Dance Company (RRDC-B): Is the least desirable studio. It is in a basement with low ceilings and poor ventilation.
Duo Multicultural Arts Center (DMAC): My favorite! Its a big long and open space. You can feel the history in the space. No Mirrors.
Downtown Art (DTA): A long, open, modern space with high ceilings and a lot of natural light. No mirrors.

Number 3: BAC or Baryshnikov Arts Center

Cost: $10/hr 
Location: Midtown West
Address: 450 West 37th Street
The Studios: 2 theaters, 4 rehearsal studios
Hours of Availability: 10am-5pm
Cancellation Policy: 30 days
Application: No, but you will need to email them directly if you want subsidized studio space. There is a limited number of allotted subsidized rentals per year and once they’ve been used that’s it!
Ease of Booking: 5 of 10 * there is no online calendar. Instead you must email your preferred time, date and studio to and keep your fingers crossed. They may take a few days to get back to you.
Ease of finding space: 8 of 10
Quirks: There is a full-throttle, highly detailed, very professional, 4-page rental agreement attached to the space at BAC which is the same whether you are a large-scale cooperation renting space for months at a time, or a single entity renting space for an afternoon. Upon booking you will receive an invoice, which must be paid in full before the rental period begins.THESE STUDIOS ARE GORGEOUS.
Additional Info: BAC is an amazing resource for artists, they have a renown performance series, artist residencies and after school education programs.
Favorite Studio: 4A and 6A

Number 4: Arts on Site 

Cost: $15/hr
Location: East Village
Address: 12 St. Marks Place
The Studios: 3F (no Mirror), 4F (with mirror)
Hours of Availability: 7am-10pm
Ease of Booking: 10 of 10 * Entirely online
Ease of finding space: 8 of 10
Cancellation Policy: 2 weeks
Application: None
Quirks: There is no front desk or live person interaction. Once you’ve booked the space online you will receive a confirmation email with a door code to get into the building. The studios are on separate floors across the hall from Yoga to the People. There is a bathroom inside of the studio, so you’ll need to wait until your reservation time to use it (or *very politely* ask whomever is using the studio). You may lock the studio door for complete privacy.

Additional Info: Arts on Site has a nice community behind it. Periodic performance parties, retreats, and an army of volunteers to help their operations run smoothly.

Favorite Studio: 4F (its exactly the same at 3F but it has a mirror).

Number 5: Space Works

Cost: $10-20/hr
Location: Three locations in Long Island City, Williamsburg and Park Slope
Long Island City [Main Studios]: 33-02 Skillman Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101 Williamsburg: 240 Division Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Brooklyn Conservatory of Music | Park Slope: 58 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Number of (dance) Studios: 3 in Long Island, 1 studio in Williamsburg (studio A), 1 Studio at Brooklyn Conservatory of music (Grand Hall, no mirrors).
Hours of Availability: 8am-11pm
The Specs:  Click Here
Ease of Booking: 9 of 10 * Entirely online
Ease of finding space: 7 of 10
Cancellation Policy: 72 hours
Application for subsided rate? Yes, it is online.
Quirks: There is no front desk of Spaceworks. Once you fill out the online application you will receive a Spaceworks key that allows you access to the building and studios. Keep the space clean and make sure you finish in your allowed time as there is always someone ready to dash into the space right behind you!

Number 6: Movement Research

Cost: $10/hr
Location: Two separate Spaces in Lower Manhattan
Eden’s Expressway: 537 Broadway 4th Fl (online calendar here)
Studio G05 at Abrons Arts Center: 466 Grand St (online calendar here)
Ease of finding a space: 7 of 10
Ease of Booking: 7 of 10
Availability: 10am-9pm
Cancellation Policy: 2 weeks
Quirks: I’ll let you know! Trying the space out for the first time in the beginning of February. BUT Melani De Guzman says, ““I like booking spaces from them! They are on top of it! You know you’ve found a good place when YOU fucked up and they are nice and understanding about it.” 
Additional Information: Movement research is connected to Judson Church, has a robust 2-year Artist residency program, an intensive roster of classes in summer and innumerable showing and performance opportunities.

Number 7: BAX or Brooklyn Arts Exchange

Cost: $10-12/hr
Location: Park Slope, Brooklyn
Address: 421 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Hours of Availability: 9am- 10:30pm
Booking Process: Check the online calendar then email BAX to reserve your spot.
Ease of Booking: 7 of 10
Ease of finding space: 9 of 10
Cancellation Policy: 72 hours
Application for subsided rate? Yes. You need to email about renting. They will have you fill out an online form, pay and book for the first rehearsal over the phone and sign a contract upon arrival. There is an annual $15 maintenance fee.

Quirks: The website can feel a little crazy to negotiate, be ready to get lost in a maze. The online calendar is color-coordinated, and doesn’t always line up by column (try reloading the page if this happens). You can get cheaper rental space ($5-9) by opting for Rush Rehearsal Space, same-day bookings or rehearsal packages.

Favorite Studio: Studio D, which is the top floor theater space. No mirrors.

Number 8: Mark Morris Dance

Cost: $10-15 Subsidized. $10 Before 10am.
Location: Downtown, Brooklyn.
Hours of Availability: 8am-10pm
Booking Process: Online Application
Ease of Booking: 4 of 10
Ease of finding space: 5 of 10
Cancellation Policy: 1 week
Application for subsided rate? Yes, it is online. You need to prove you are a 501(C),  fiscally sponsored OR are an independent choreographer with an upcoming performance or project.

Quirks: Except for the “last minute availability” listing there is no calendar telling you when studios are available. Instead you need to fill out an online application saying what times, dates and studios you are interested in booking. You will then be emailed back a confirmation or (more likely) alternative times when you can book. This process can take a while. I almost exclusively book from the “last minute availability”.
The Best Studio(s): Duffy (theater, no mirrors),  Cole,  Studio C
The Worst Studio(s): Studio D, its tiny and in the basement.

Leave a Reply