New Chicago Dance Studio
The New Chicago Dance Studio was started by Samantha Fitschen in 2010. Fitschen is a native of Chicago and came to Greenbelt six years ago with her husband as he pursued his Ph.D. degree at the University of Maryland, College Park. An experienced dancer with a BFA in Music Theater, Fitschen soon started teaching dance for the Greenbelt Recreation Department at the Community Center. She saw the need for a dance studio in Greenbelt and hoping to bring Chicago-style dance to the area, she opened her own studio two years ago. On a recent Saturday morning, I visited New Chicago Dance Studio.
The dance studio is at 7505 Greenway Center Drive, behind Greenway Shopping Center. The main floor of this building is occupied by Columbia Bank.
Sign on the studio window. The studio is taking a winter break but this morning some students are meeting to rehearse for an upcoming performance.
Samantha Fitschen (right), owner and director of New Chicago Dance Studio, leads the Goddess dance class. This class started at the Greenbelt Community Center while Fitschen was teaching there, and some of the students have been dancing together for five years. Today, five students are present to prepare for a performance on January 5. Also with the class is Fitschen’s daughter Finnoula who is almost three.
The dancers start a scarf dance. Fitschen describes this class as dance fusion with elements from world, belly, African, and Latin dances.
Samantha Fitschen and her daughter Finnoula watch the dancers. Fitschen tells me that Finnoula is an Irish name.
Fitschen demonstrates a move.
The next dance is choreographed and led by Didi Peck. Peck has been involved in competitive aerobics and was an aerobics instructor at Bally Fitness for 15 years (before the Greenway Center club was sold to L.A. Fitness). Peck currently teaches dance fitness at New Chicago Dance Studio and has been taking this Goddess class for five years.
Susan and Beth
Samantha Fitschen stands next to a painting she recently commissioned from her brother-in-law Mark Mattson. It is titled “Danser” which is French for “to dance.”
The Goddess class meets every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Normally there are children’s dance classes afterward, but because the studio is taking a holiday break, nothing else is scheduled. Fitschen is ready to take Finnoula home.
On the wall are photographs of dance instructors at New Chicago Dance Studio.
Fitschen tells me that currently 100 students from 2 to adults are enrolled in dance classes at New Chicago. There are six other instructors and they offer ballet, tap, and jazz classes at all levels. On January 5, students, faculty and friends of New Chicago Dance Studio will perform a show titled “Ode to an Ode”–“An evening of dance inspired by the poetry of past and present literary greats.”—at the Publick Playhouse in Cheverly. More information about the show can be found here.