Main menu


Dancing in the dark? - Grand Rapids Business Journal

featured image

An ‘adults-only’ dance studio opens in the Monroe North business district.Two years of effort to start a business kept the owner Hannah Miko and Paige Gabert on their toes.

It all started with a grumbling session on the Easttown porch in 2020. Dancers Miko and Gabert, They were fed up with the discriminatory practices they had witnessed at another dance studio. I was joking.

The idea stuck and the women decided to give it a try.

Mico is an environmental nonprofit by day and Gabert is a photographer by day. They knew they would need help navigating the process as they tried to move forward.

The two began seeking help from business coaches, the Michigan Small Business Development Center at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, and other professional organizations dedicated to growing startups.

“Liz Hoffswell has been very helpful,” Mico said of SBDC’s business consultant. “And the Monroe North Business Association, the support given by them blows my mind.”

They formed an LLC, organized a fundraiser, searched for a location for a long time, and finally settled on 1140 Monroe Ave. NW. This is a commercial building with a large parking lot near the bus line and a major crossroad with bike lanes.

By May 2021, the pair had managed to raise a significant amount of seed funding, and it was time to start renovating Midwest Movement Collective LLC. They hired a contractor and were really getting into the business ownership groove when they discovered their mistake.

“He asked who we hired as our architect,” Miko said. She and Gabert were blindsided. Somewhere along the way, through every coaching session, business development, planning, and budgeting, this critical step in the process was overlooked.

“We thought it was their job,” Gabert said, pointing to the contractor.

Gabert spends his days (and nights) tending the front desk. “For two years, every day was something new,” she said. But they kept their feet on the ground and stuck through it. The studio opened on June 12th.

It features three different spaces that can be rented to the public when not in use.

The largest room is named after Josephine Baker, an American-born black female burlesque singer-dancer who rose to fame in France in the 1920s. In this room, a very high ceiling is fitted with silks and sturdy poles.

Small group classes are held in two additional rooms. A yoga studio with floor-to-ceiling west-facing windows and a room named after transgender ballerina Jayna Redford used for small group classes.

The studio offers lessons for all skill levels including ballet, contemporary, pole dance, aerial silk, tap, yoga, improvisation, belly dance, liquid motion and more. Classes are held at night outside business hours for adults.

Flexible membership allows dancers to choose from a variety of classes. Drop-ins are recommended for those who want to rekindle an old hobby without making a long financial commitment.

In keeping with its original mission, staff are trained in inclusivity, allowing dancers the freedom to be themselves in a no-judgment zone.

“This space is open to socially conscious people,” Miko said. She wants it to become a fixture in the community and is interested in partnering with other like-minded organizations and philanthropic causes. is an LLC of

“Yeah, we have to make money,” added Gabert.

Co-owned and co-founded by two single women, the Midwest Movement Collective is a deliberately inclusive space for people of all identities. Hours of operation are 4-9 PM on weekdays and 11-9 PM on weekends. For more information on the studio and upcoming events, visit