Dancing for Mature Audiences

Calli Rothberg (front center) leads a class at Passion Adult Dance Studio. Photo by Alyssa Malliae

Calli Rothberg (front center) leads a class at Passion Adult Dance Studio. (Photo by Alyssa Malliae)

New Beacon studio caters to adults

“It’s amazing to me how many people want to dance,” says Calli Rothberg.

The owner of Passion Adult Dance Studio, which opened six months ago on Main Street in Beacon, isn’t talking about the traditional model.

“The studio isn’t designed for dance professionals — it’s not made for prima ballerinas,” she says. “It’s a different form of working out — and so far no one has said it’s not what they were expecting.” 

At Passion, she says, “the emphasis is on feeling comfortable in your own skin.” There are few rules and requirements. According to the studio website: “The music is loud, the lights are low, and the space is a sanctuary of acceptance.”

Its classes include Dance Party Fitness; Not Your Everyday Ballet; Samba Movement; Jazz Funk; Heels; Creative Hoop Dance; Hip Hop 101; and, by popular demand, Rothberg says: Twerk It Out.

“You do need to be willing to look at yourself in the mirror and smile until you laugh,” says Rothberg, 29, who grew up in Beacon. “I wanted Passion to be a welcoming place where adults could come and play and feel safe, feel zero judgment and dance for themselves, not looking over their shoulder thinking they don’t belong here. 

“It’s all about how it feels,” she says. “We all deserve to feel sexy and hot and beautiful in our own skins.” 

That suits Inge Haensch-McKie. “I’ve never attended a traditional dance studio,” she explains. “It has never felt like something I would feel comfortable doing. But Calli has put me at ease. She has created an environment that is all about loving the body you are living in. During the classes I feel strong, confident and sexy. At the end of class, I always feel proud to have accomplished something beautiful. The best part is I get to carry this confidence into every area of my life.” 

Rothberg admits to being a little nervous about how the studio would be received. “I’m teaching the ‘Shake your booty, love your body’ classes, because they don’t exist around here. And those classes are thriving; people are surprised how much they love them. Part of me knew, but there’s always that what-if.”

She says men have been turning up at quite a few classes, including Heels. The only restriction is age, which is 18 or older. “It’s a space for adults, including moms who don’t want to be in a dance class with a 15-year-old who has been dancing for years,” Rothberg says, noting that there are also no concerns about playing music with explicit lyrics. 

Rothberg didn’t open the studio on a whim. As a graduate of Binghamton University, where she studied finance and economics, she says her background and experience working with startups in tech sales gave her the confidence to take the plunge. She now works for another startup, and each professional move has been instructive. 

“You learn why and how decisions are made, and other aspects, like training, psychology and how much to charge,” she says.

She moved to South Carolina after college and returned to Beacon in 2020. Stranded at home during the pandemic, she says she craved seeing people and missed movement and dancing. When she opened in March of this year, she guessed many people felt the same way.

“I had danced all throughout my childhood, in college and post-college, and I didn’t want the classes in Manhattan geared to dance professionals,” she says. “I was that person, coming to it a bit older, wanting to express my sexuality, my sensuality, doing these sexy dances. I wanted to do that in person, with the community. There are great online platforms, but they can’t feed off the energy you experience having another dancer next to you.”

Passion Adult Dance is located at 473 Main St., Suite 4, in Beacon. All classes are drop-in and cost $23, or memberships are available for $113 per month. See passionadultdance.com or call 845-206-9306.

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