#seattlesmallbiz you should support: The Century Ballroom! Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, #TheCentury is on the 2nd floor of the 1908 OddFellows temple on Pine, w/ 2 awesome spaces for classes & dance events w/ live bands - from #swing to #salsa to #kizomba. Owner & instructor Hallie Kuperman opened Century in 1997 & wanted to create a safe space for the #CapitolHill community, at first very focused on #queer-only classes. She's also the founder of Swing Girls, which teaches the #LGBTQ community how to swing dance. Since then she's broadened Century's community but said, "It’s still important to me to have the gay community find this place...What I hear over & over is the asset that Century is to the community...I believe dance as being healing for people-in the bigger picture I feel we’re creating a safe place.” Century has hosted many arts & community meetings & partnered w/ Plymouth Housing for 8 years to throw a dance competition, raising millions of dollars to house the homeless. Developer Ted Schroth acquired the #Oddfellows building for $8.5M in 2007, and the artists & tenants were forced out by rent increases of over 300%.
The Ballroom is the only arts org to remain in the 100-year-old space. Velocity Dance, Freehold Theatre, Reel Grrls, Annex Theatre & #Seattle Mime Theatre all were forced to leave. Then in 2013 the WA Dept of Revenue smacked a number of Seattle event spaces with a “dance tax” of over $92K. Supporters of Century were able to fundraise almost $100K & successfully advocated to do away w/ the tax that would have destroyed Century & other venues. Recently, Las Vegas-based developer, #MidbyCompanies, which develops commercial properties & housing including Seattle’s Escala condo tower, may purchase the building at $30M - again raising concerns about how the sale could push rent even higher & endanger the future of the Ballroom. To celebrate its 20th, @centuryballroom will have a series of special events & performances throughout February. #centuryballroom #smallbusinesssaturday #thisplacematters #displacement #gentrification #LGBTQseattle #supportlocal #vanishingseattle #vivaseattle. Info from Capitol Hill Blog