Miami Dance Collective opens world-class dance studio

Miami Dance Collective opens world-class dance studio

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If you just ‘gotta dance’ then you should know about Miami Dance Collective, a world-class dance studio that just opened up in the SW corner of the Roasters ‘n Toasters shopping center on September 6.

The owners, Marie Gaschler and Kristin Douthit Richards, have been teaching dance for years, and after teaching at the same studio together for a while, they felt the urge to start their own operation so they could take their careers and students to a new level.

“This area of town needed us and we needed them. There are very few options when it comes to dance, particularly ballet, and we wanted to provide the creative outlet,” said Gaschler.

10-year old Taylor Moxey has been dancing since she was six. Proficient in contemporary, ballet, jazz and acro dance she remarks, “This new school is cool because it’s owned by my dance teacher and it’s helping me prepare for my competitions. I’m so happy for them!”

Miami Dance Collective has a highly respected Ballet Mistress in Irene Balague. She trained with the English National Ballet and oversees the entire ballet program, shapes the classes, how students are taught and how the shows are produced.

Marie Gaschler and Kristin Douthit Richards bring national recognition. They have won the New York City Dance Alliance Award and have several students winning National-level awards. One former student is dancing for the Alvin Ailey Company. Gaschler is an award-winning choreographer.

Kristin Douthit Richards explains, “We have all the right building blocks to take someone from a recreational dancer all the way to national recognition. We also can work with all ages to help them progress to even award-winning performance.”

If that isn’t enough, the duo will be starting a Masters Series as well, with guest teachers being brought in on a monthly basis such as Matt Luck and Jen Freeman.

Over 60 people are currently enrolled in classes. The owners expect they’ll be well over 100 by Christmas. They’ll be adding two additional studios beginning in January, which will allow them to vastly expand their program of classes too. Miami Dance Collective plans on having morning dance classes for kids as young as two years old. They will also be adding adult ballet to the schedule.

The school operates via a school year and charges tuition based on the number of hours you want. You can take trial classes for a fee as well, as low as $20 for a 60-minute session.

Miami Dance Collective is located at 9549 S. Dixie Highway in Dadeland Plaza Shopping Center. You can register and find more information at or by calling 786-801-1669.

Ghost Hunting at Thalatta Estate

A stone’s throw from haunted Deering Estate, Palmetto Bay’s Thalatta Estate seems to have a ghostly attraction as well. The history of the land goes way back, having been inhabited since the Paleoindians about 20-thousand years ago. In 1925, the Connett family built the Mediterranean-Revival home that stands today, making it one of the oldest buildings in South Florida.

As Vanessa Binns, who is the park reservations specialist at Thalatta will tell you, “I know there are paranormal activities here. Usually late at night or when there are only a few people are around, some of us hear and feel unexplainable things. One night I shut everything down and locked up only to turn around and see the lights had been turned back on. Maybe Alan and Virginia Cornett who lived where my office is now are looking over the property. I think that everyone has that curiosity of the great unknown, but only you can decide what that means to you.”

So, on Friday, October 7, as part of a Village-sponsored event, about two dozen intrepid souls teamed up with David Pierce Rodriguez’s PRISM (Paranormal Research & Investigative Studies Miami) to hunt for some ghosts.

“We usually do ghost tours at Deering,” explained PRISM’s Rodriguez. “But we were invited here to run a tour. To make sure it was worthwhile, we came here about two weeks early and recorded some remarkable Electro Voice Phenomenon (EVP). At one point we asked if there was a god and the EVP answer was ‘no’.”

Using infrared and full-spectrum cameras, audio records and devices that measure static, electricity, magnetic pulses and temperature, PRISM took the participants to nearly every spot in the house to find the paranormal. The key ingredient was using a voice recorder that somehow captures EVPs (voices from beyond) that you can’t hear until you play the recording back.

While there were some minute anomalies on some of the recordings, the evening didn’t uncover any ghosts. David Pierce Rodriguez explained, “Maybe there were too many people around. Sometimes I’ve seen spirits either like or dislike the people and they react accordingly.”

Whatever your thoughts are on the subject, I felt this was a very enjoyable and entertaining evening. It’s nice to get out and do something different.

Real Estate Update

Local expertise and realistic expectations are the keys to successfully selling your home. We’re in a slowing real estate market and now is the time to know the value of your home and get SOLD. I’d be glad to provide you a private home evaluation. It’s easy to get started at Why are you waiting?

Hal Feldman (MiamiHal) is a Realtor with RE/MAX Advance Realty. You can contact him with your story ideas or real estate questions at, or

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