Elementary school-aged dance lovers today know about Millennium Dance Complex. The YouTube channel of this L.A. based dance studio has a subscription of as many as 37,164. Millennium Dance Complex is entering its 24th year in 2016, expanding to 27 different cities around the globe.
- Millennium Dance Complex: Junior Dance Companies
- MDC Junior Dance Company 2015 performance at World Of Dance
Millennium Dance Franchising LLC, a new company Millennium Dance Complex co-owners Robert Baker and Ann Marie Hudson formed with business executive David Kingsdale, has opened franchised locations in seven U.S. cities and Tokyo over the last two years. Another 18 are planned for 2016—Malaysia, China, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Toronto are among them, as well as more U.S. cities.
Millennium has been offering jazz, hip-hop, ballet, tap and contemporary dance instruction since it opened in 1999. The studio boosts to have provided classes for people such as Justin Timberlake, Pink, Usher, and Britney Spears.
It certainly will be a challenge to translate this well-known brand to far-flung locations. A 700-page operating manual for franchisees helps with everything from business details to dance class syllabi. There is also training at headquarters for franchise owners, their chief employees and at least one choreographer per location.
It is interesting that even though Millennium is famous for providing classes on exciting underground dance styles, neither of its founders seems to come from the scene. Robert Baker, a South Carolina original, relocated to L.A. to study film-making at UCLA. Ann Marie Hudson was a Jersey girl that took classes on Broadway before coming to California.
"When we left New York there was nothing called Hip-Hop dance in any of the professional dance studios," said Hudson. "The talk was that hip-hop was a passing phase and didn’t belong in the ‘real dance’ world. I remembered that’s what they said about Rock and Roll in the fifties and decided to co-mingle the classic dance arts with this new urban, movement."
"Our faculty was created from raw talent walking through the door. No resumes required at the beginning, each candidate was tested out in the dance class and hired on pure ability. The momentum of the hip-hop classes was building right along with the jazz and ballet. The students were trying everything, embracing the new, the old and each other. Word spread throughout the dance community and soon we were filled with choreographers wanting to teach and bringing their rehearsals to us."
What we see today as the world-famous and blooming Millennium Dance Complex probably has behind it a story of hard-working individuals who never gave up on their dreams. Before Millennium, Hudson operated several dance and fitness studios in Manhattan while continued dancing at the same time. Baker also changed career a few times, relocating from the South to the East Coast, finally landing on the West Coast.
As MILLENNIUM enters the new year, it’s founders feel it has stayed true to the vision of spreading and supporting the art of dance. ‘We feel honored and blessed to have been given the privilege of serving the dance community’.