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Ballet school transforms Quadra Village warehouse

A former import store and ­warehouse in Quadra Street ­Village has been completely transformed into a dance studio. The Victoria Academy of ­Ballet is opening the ­purpose-built facility on ­Monday.
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Victoria Academy of Ballet artistic director Bleiddyn del Villar Bellis in the nearly completed No. 2 studio at the new Quadra Street Village location. The studio will officially open on Monday. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A former import store and ­warehouse in Quadra Street ­Village has been completely transformed into a dance studio.

The Victoria Academy of ­Ballet is opening the ­purpose-built facility on ­Monday. It covers 8,000-square feet on two floors and is being called the finest facility of its kind in the region.

Bleiddyn del Villar Bellis, artistic director and owner of the academy, said about $1.25 million was spent on rebuilding the property at 2713 Quadra St., next to the former San Remos and now Pluto’s Diner.

“It’s the culmination of years of hard work and planning as we look to provide our recreational and professional students with the finest dance facility in ­Victoria,” said del Villar Bellis.

“The facility is now able to match the quality of our training,” she said. “Our new home will create a first-class environment for local students and those who move from across Canada and around the world to train in our vocational programs.”

Del Villar Bellis said the entire structure was completely gutted and purpose-built for the studio.

The end result is impressive.

It features three large studios with vaulted ceilings, sprung dance floors, a student lounge and kitchenette, large warm-up and Pilates area, touchless water fountains, change space and universal washrooms. The main level is accessible through automatic doors and includes faculty and administration offices, kitchenette, and lounge.

Victoria Academy of Ballet offers specialized dance instruction for children ages three through to the professional level.

Del Villar Bellis said many of the school’s more than 120 students hail from from across the province, other parts of Canada and from other countries.

She has owned the academy for the past decade; it was previously known as Island Dance Studio. Victoria Academy of Ballet moved to Quadra Village after several years downtown at Johnson and Douglas streets.

The academy employs four full-time faculty and 10 part-time instructors as well as administration staff.

“We are a pillar in Canada, as well as around the world, for high-level dance training and are proud to train students who go on to have successful, fulfilling careers in the arts,” said del Villar Bellis.