The Evanston community has a new performing arts venue, and directors Bèa and Steve Rashid are throwing the doors open to the community from Sept. 30-Oct. 2 for the grand opening celebration of Studio5, 1934-38    Dempster St.  
The weekend schedule includes dance, music, and a children’s concert, with tickets priced at $5 for each show. Tickets are available at the door. At 7 p.m. on Sept. 30, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl will kick off the festivities with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a performance from Dance Center Evanston’s (DCE) resident dance companies – Evanston Dance Ensemble, enidsmithdance, Be the Groove, Elements Contemporary Ballet, Glenn Leslie Classic Tap, and Cartier Collective – with special guest appearances by Christina Ernst, and Jump Rhythm Jazz Project founder Billy Siegenfeld.

The Rashids envision Studio5 as a performing arts space open to the community at-large and available for master classes, music and dance series, theater productions, and small festivals. With its state-of-the-art retractable seating system, Studio5 functions as both a 104-seat performance space and as additional dance studio space for DCE. The Rashids describe Studio5 as an “unconventional use of a retail shopping center … which has the added benefit of lots of parking.” “Dance is a performing art form, and you need a place to perform,” says Ms. Rashid, who opened DCE 22 years ago and founded the Evanston Dance Ensemble two years later.

She added, “Evanston has been missing a performing arts space of this size and caliber. Studio5 is a natural extension of Dance Center Evanston and provides a close, intimate performing space where an audience can feel and see the dance.” “Not to mention the music,” adds Emmy-award winning composer/musician Mr. Rashid. “Live performance is a direct relationship between the artists and the audience.We’ve worked hard to create excellent sound and sight lines for everyone. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. Our audiences will feel connected to the performers on the stage.”