Brand new dance gym

March 13, 2023


Lucas Tang

The current dance gym has been closed for years.

Along with several of the other promises of the bond, the Cherry Hill Board of Education aims to renovate the Dance Gym as an “all-purpose space,” according to Mr. Mike Beirao, Director of Athletics at East.

Mr. Beirao revealed plenty of details about the room that many East students don’t know about, especially considering that it has been closed for construction for three years, so most (if not all) East students haven’t had the chance to use it.

Today, someone walking by the Dance Gym doors would see a sign saying, “This room is closed due to construction.” The room is dark and unserviceable – but what are the B.O.E.’s goals in making it functional again?

Upon first reading the name “Dance Gym,” one might interpret it as a space intended for a dance team to practice in or for instructors to hold ballet classes with barres and mirrors, but this has never historically been the case. In fact, in reconstructing the area, the Board intends to cover the room in “all-sport floors so that [students] can do a variety of different activities in there,” as Beirao articulated, implying the opposite of a dance studio-esque feel.

In the past, East has used the gym for Mind and Body Connection classes, wrestling matches, indoor throwing, and cheer practices.

“It’s a great workout space here on the upper level,” said Beirao, referencing its location at the back of East. “It’s close to the locker rooms, [so] it’s easily accessible.”

Beyond just specific groups in the future using the Dance Gym, Beirao explained that when Physical Education classes in the DiBart or East gyms become too full, students and teachers can go to the Dance Gym as an additional area to complete their lessons.

As another physical change, Board also intends to eliminate the room’s dangerously positioned windows, which, according to Mr. Beirao, could send a wrestler flying in the middle of a match!

Though the Board’s modifications seem necessary and undoubtedly helpful to our East community, the Dance Gym’s construction timeline is currently unknown. 

“If you’ve ever done construction around schools, timelines are usually not great,” said Beirao. “I’m not sure about the timeline for [the Dance Gym]. I’m not sure if it’s this year or next year.”

Currently, Mr. Beirao only has certainty regarding the roof and stadium renovations slated to take place this summer. 

With our ever-growing East community, no matter when it arrives, the newly-furnished Dance Gym will be a welcome space for all students to partake in all sorts of athletic activities.

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