2014 | News

Dance Company Hopes to Find New Home in Bethesda Park Building

Rock Creek Dance Academy owner says she sees it as an extension of the studio's history

Rock Creek Dance Academy Owner Christina Adabbo Prete tip-toed her way into the local ballet scene at the Corinne Phelps Robertson School of Dance in Bethesda.

The Robertson School’s studio was in the home of its founder by the same name at the corner of Wyngate Drive and Old Georgetown Road. Prete said she served as the school’s executive director for 15 years until Robertson, at age 92, closed the school and sold her home three years ago.

So Prete founded the Rock Creek Dance Academy with many of the dancers from the Robertson School. The academy currently holds classes at local schools including North Bethesda Middle, Walter Johnson High and Thomas W. Pyle Middle School in Bethesda.

But a few months ago, when Prete heard the Montgomery County parks department was leasing vacant activity buildings in county parks she soon found a nearby building that would work for a permanent studio—the activity building at the Maplewood-Alta Vista Park on Alta Vista Road in Bethesda.

“We thought, what a perfect place,” said Prete, who is called Miss Christina by her students. “It’s an open building that’s right in the vicinity where the majority of our customer base is located.”

The building also has 22 parking places that would work well for parents dropping off their kids for weekday evening classes and Saturday day classes offered by the academy, she said.

“We want to be part of the community so families in the area have a place to bring their kids that’s convenient,” Prete said, “and [to] keep that building alive and not dark and not closed and uninviting.”

The parks department is inviting the community to comment on the proposal during a public meeting at the building from 7 to 8 p.m. Dec. 3. The meeting will include a presentation from the academy.

Prete said she knows nearby residents may be concerned about traffic and parking, but notes that she learned about dealing with traffic flow and alleviating parking issues while running Robertson’s home studio.

“When the studio opens, we want it done in a way that’s comfortable for the community,” Prete said.

The parks department leases three activity buildings to tenants while another 18 are available for rent.