Metro Movement: A Home for the Dancer in You

 

Whether it’s to take up dancing professionally, get fit or just have a little fun, owners Phil and Kalie Nero promise all of that and much more at Metro Movement.

On my three-minute walk from the Broadview station, I do a quick scan of my surroundings—cozy coffee shops, eye-catching salons, and your everyday food marts. Nestled in-between this thriving community is Metro Movement, a professional adult dance studio that first opened its doors in 1989.

As I climb up the stairs to meet Phil Nero, the owner, I hear the notes of the piano from a room on the far end, followed by the excited chatter of dancers and their instructor. I had never been to a dance studio before, but this seemed exactly like the one I often watch in movies. In the bitter cold, surrounded by music and symphony, I try to come up with the word to describe how I felt at that moment. A sense of calm, yes, but not quite what I had in mind. More like…

“You must be Anisha?” says the man I recognize from the studio’s site, Phil Nero. A performer, director and choreographer, Phil has been in the business for 20 years. He began his career by playing Chino in Stratford’s 1999 production of West Side Story. But in 2015, life came full circle for Phil when he was presented with a unique opportunity to run the studio he trained at. “I had been training at Metro Movement for 18 years and it was during that time when the previous owners realized they wanted a life-change. They moved to British Columbia and approached us, my wife, Kalie, and me,” says Phil. Even though it was a huge financial investment, the decision to buy the studio came easily. “Once we realized ‘why,’ it was easy to move ahead,” says Phil, explaining, “There is a sense of belonging here that’s irreplaceable. We really wanted to focus on the energy and help build a community of dancers.”

“Everybody can dance” is the platform that Metro Movement is based on. After taking over, the studio underwent a major transformation. Apart from the basic refurbishment and technical changes, Phil and his 20 member team also implemented new classes. “We have beginners, intermediate, and advanced ballet classes, tap, hip hop, and jazz classes; and the very important massage therapy and life coaching classes focusing on the healthcare component. We added a bunch of conditioning classes, group pilates and massage therapy classes too,” says Phil, adding, “Whether it’s to dance, get fit or just have fun, people pop-in all the time.”

A review online by a dance enthusiast from the US summarizes the kind of experience Metro Movement promises to offer: “Anyone who wants to take a class and dance in a supportive, encouraging, and positive environment should check out Metro Movement! Kalie and Phil have brought a fresh vibe, updated facilities, new classes, and truly insist that every dancer has a home. If you’re in Toronto and love to dance you should get to Metro!”

Owner Phil Nero

When Phil is not doing a show, he can be found teaching or massaging at Metro Movement. His better half and co-owner, Kalie, teaches everything from basic (no experience) jazz to ballet. Sought-after adjudicator and teacher, Kalie has her BA in Dance from The School of Alberta Ballet and since graduation has spent her time performing all over the country. “We have a shared vision: to provide a place for people who can come in to dance and achieve their goals. It’s fundamentally a dance studio and not just for the elite dancers.”

As the interview comes to an end, I eavesdrop on a conversation Phil has with his student. “How do you feel?” Phil asks a student who just got done with her class. “Awesome. I feel very balanced…”

And I realize with a start that’s exactly the word I was looking for, one that summed up my feeling as I walked in the studio… balanced.

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