Like many of us, Eleanor Robertson doesn’t make changes on a whim. So when she made the decision to move Rigby’s Jig Dance Studio to a new location, she knew she landed in the right spot at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen.
Eleanor realized she had to move the studio after her lease ran out at Willow Place Shopping Center, a location that had housed the dance studio since 2003. When she started talking to the Cultural Arts Center, she discovered how much their missions aligned.
“They are very community oriented, and they have such an artistic community. They have other dance companies that rent space there like the Latin Ballet of Virginia. I thought, what a great home for us,” she says.
The classes she has at the Center will help to fund the community programs under ARTREACH that include Art Matters! and Artful Living!
Growing the Business
When Eleanor launched Rigby’s Jig in 2003, the business was very small.
“I had a little bag with my shoes in it,” she says. “I had a stereo that I would put the CDs in.”
For the first two years, she offered only group classes, teaching each one of the classes herself. When the business started to grow, thanks to word-of-mouth endorsements, she hired a few employees to help her out.
“A lot of those employees are still with me today,” she says.
The business continued to grow, and in 2007 she decided to expand by knocking down a wall to add one-third more space to the studio.
“We’ve always maintained a loyal base of clients that keep coming back. Many of our couples come here to have date night. We have families who take dance lessons with their kids. It’s amazing to see the support,” Eleanor says.
Rigby’s Jig has always offered ballroom dancing, swing, Latin, and social dancing. Other classes include line dancing and a ballroom exercise class.
“We even have events and parties,” Eleanor says. “We’ve expanded our offerings over the years.”
When the show Dancing With the Stars was big, it really boosted the business, she says. “People would say, ‘I want to learn how to do the waltz’ because they had watched it on the show. Over the years, ballroom has become a dying culture. It’s not a pastime for people. Those shows were great in their heyday because of the conversations people were having.”
However, the interest for ballroom is still there, she adds. “There are certain dances that are hot, like salsa, West Coast swing, and East Coast swing. Line dancing definitely took off after COVID.”
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Rigby’s Jig, like many other businesses, had to shut down. But Eleanor was determined to keep people dancing.
“Within seven days, we had virtual classes via Zoom,” she says. “We were hopeful people would start to feel more comfortable in that scenario. When we went back into the studio, we were limited in what we could do. It was a real roller coaster ride. But we have loyal clients.”
Ready for a Change
Living near the Cultural Arts Center was an additional benefit to the move for Eleanor.
“I was so excited that the Cultural Arts Center is only a minute away from my house. Between my prior location and my house, I would spend ten hours a week driving. How great is it to have something so close,” says Eleanor, who is the mother of two.
Rigby’s Jig is now holding classes Monday through Thursday at the Cultural Arts Center. She’s excited about the flexibility she she has at the new location. “It’s a really good fit,” she says.
She is not adding any new classes at the moment, but she is still having Rigby’s popular Thursday night parties.
“We also have the opportunity to have different events at the Center,” she says. “I’m thrilled about coming to this beautiful arts center. The possibilities here are endless.”
For more information, visit Rigby’s Jig.