ellen gunn 073014Ellen Gunn in the stairwell at 16 Monmouth Street, where her new ballet studio is set to take the space being vacated by Dancing Foot Yoga. (Click to enlarge)


16 monmouth 072914It sounds counterintintuitive in these yoga-crazed times: a yoga studio calling it quits, only to be replaced by a ballet studio.

But that’s what’s happening on the third floor of 16 Monmouth Street in Red Bank, where pre-yoga-fad stalwart Dancing Foot Yoga is saying ‘namaste’ for the last time while a classically-trained ballerina is moving in – and hoping to revive a tradition of ballet instruction developed just two doors away.

Dancing Foot, which has been around for 14 years and has occupied the third-floor space for six years, is moving out on August 31, and a new enterprise, Monmouth Academy of Ballet, is moving in, with its first classes planned for September 15.

Dancing Foot was forced out as much by a rising number of competitors as anything else, co-owner Emily Huresky tells redbankgreen. They’re just cannibalizing the market, says Huresky, reeling off the locations of a handful of new yoga businesses downtown. (Another one signed a lease this week to offer hot yoga at 27 Monmouth Street, the former home of Wooly Monmouth. We’ll have details in a future edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.)

“The competition is just overwhelming,” says Huresky. “When there are more yoga studios in a given area than Starbucks’, that’s a problem.”

Earlier this month, Huresky and partner Robin Candrea outlined a plan on their website to convert the business into a cooperative. But the idea didn’t gel, Huresky says. So she and Candrea are still trying to figure out how to keep Dancing Foot going, now that it’s free of the overhead that a dwindling number of clients no longer supports.

Finding a tenant to take over the lease was the first order of business, and happened so quickly that it caught them unprepared, Huresky says

Enter Ellen Gunn, 47, a Rumson native and Red Bank resident who studied, and later taught, at the Academy of Dance Arts , which long occupied the third floor at 74 Broad Street, at the corner of Monmouth Street.

Gunn’s Monmouth Academy of Ballet is her first business venture after years of working as a professional ballerina – she performed with the Cincinnati and Cleveland Ballets – and instructor at other studios, including Dance Mixx in Shrewsbury and the Academy of Dance Arts, now located on Chestnut Street.

Why ballet instruction?

“Because the schools where I’ve been teaching don’t really offer intense classical ballet training,” Gunn tells redbankgreen. “Ballet is the foundation for all the dance arts. It’s the key to jazz dance, to your tap, to your modern.”

Gunn notes that the Academy of Dance Arts offers ballet instruction among other dance forms, “but it used to be pretty much all ballet.” That’s what she wants to offer: ballet instruction for students as young as two years old.

“It’s my whole life,” says Gunn, a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance, and opening the studio is “a wonderful opportunity to be on my own.”

Who else is at 16 Monmouth? Shorehands Family Chiropractic, run by Dennis Brown, son of building owner Mary Ann Brown, has the second floor and on the on the ground floor, Lil’ Cutie Pops.