Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance seeks new location

Caught fleet-footed in Fort Greene: African-dance studio getting the boot

By Matthew Perlman - Source: http://www.brooklynpaper.com
In motion: Cumbe is a Fort Greene dance studio that focuses on dances from Africa and the African diaspora.  Photo by Elizabeth Graham

In motion: Cumbe is a Fort Greene dance studio that focuses on dances from Africa and the African diaspora.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

A Fort Greene dance studio is not ready to let the beat drop.

The Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance on Fulton Street is getting the boot to make way for a luxury residential tower. The departure will end three years at the space above a bagel shop between Flatbush Avenue and Rockwell Place, and will cut short a 10-year lease, forcing the dancers to scramble to find a new home, one of the studio’s directors said.

“It’s a huge blow for a young organization,” Jimena Martinez said. “We were taken by surprise.”

Cumbe runs 50 dance classes each week, focusing on dances, traditional and contemporary, from Africa or influenced by African cultures. The center’s 2,000 students heard about the impending move in June, when the current landlord informed Cumbe honchos that their building had been sold. They have until the end of the year to clear out.

Building permits show that a 19-sory residential tower will rise on the spot, bringing ground-floor retail and another 157 apartments to the rapidly transforming area. The tower will extend all the way to Flatbush Avenue, where a corner storefront housed a short-lived Five Guys Burgers and Fries and has recently contained a succession of temporary retailers.

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