History and Mission
Based in Brooklyn since 1979, Elise Long and Spoke the Hub Dancing have been hailed by the local press and public as “neighborhood treasures” and “cultural pioneers”, creating the Living Room Performance Space on 9th Street (1980 – 84); the Gowanus Arts Exchange on Douglass Street (founded in 1985, relocated and renamed the Brooklyn Arts Exchange/BAX, now active as a separate organization); and the Spoke the Hub Re:Creation Center on Union Street (1995- present).
The Gowanus Arts Building, the original home of the Gowanus Arts Exchange, was a derelict soap factory bought and renovated by Long with partners David Wolfe, Marc Eichen, Mary Ann Banerji and Jonathan Stewart in 1985. A thriving 15,000 square foot, multi-dimensional artists “habitat,” the Gowanus Arts Building now offers affordable workspace to over a dozen performance, visual, musical, architectural, and multi-media artists, including Spoke the Hub.
In addition to spawning Park Slope’s most vibrant community art centers, Spoke the Hub has also presented over 100 of Long’s original small, medium and extra large dance/theater works in the States, Canada and abroad. These “folk dances” involving performers, newborn through octogenarian, have appeared in wildly diverse settings including pizza joints, beer halls, protest marches, and weddings as well as on ferries, across bridges and at the World Trade Centers, and at more upscale settings such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Lincoln Center.
Over the last two decades, Spoke the Hub has concurrently produced the work of thousands of fellow artists through the Choreographers’ Showcase Series, the Outback Performance Series, the Kids Outback Performance Series, Mentors Outback, the Groundhog Performance Series for Family Audiences, the Small Potatoes Performance Showcase, and currently, through the Local Produce For All Seasons Productions, the Gowanus Guest House, and the Gowanus Wildlife Preserve Concert Series.
New programs launched recently include “NY Matters,” a documentary film series, curated by Isabel Hill, featuring local film-makers, plus a new, peace “finding and keeping” initiative in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in collaboration with the Old First Reformed Church. Watch for our new “World Dance Program” featuring traditional dance forms from around the world (including Brooklyn!) taught by local master teachers, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Arts Council’s “Folk Feet” program.
Spoke the Hub’s mission is to nurture both individual and community health and happiness through providing the general public with affordable creative arts study, contemplation, and practice opportunities of the highest caliber.