Pearl Art Supply to Become Millennium Dance Complex

The famous sign will be incorporated into the new building's design.


The space, in progress. | Photo by Lauren Mame Thomas

Our sweet, beloved Pearl Art & Crafts — another Philly retail stalwart (like Daffy’s and Strawbridge’s and Bonwit’s), whose closure was met with great gnashing of teeth. It seemed like the last vestige of South Street’s artistic, bohemian phase.

But things change and commercial corridors evolve and choreographers who work with Justin Bieber and Beyonce need a place to teach, dammit! Now they have one. Millennium Dance Complex is going to be a massive endeavor entirely devoted to anything and everything related to dance. The 39,000-square-foot space will specialize in workshops and drop-in dance classes that’ll cater to all ages, dance styles and experience level. So even if you think you can’t dance…

Here’s the plan: phase one has a target opening of Nov. 28th. The first floor will have dance studios of various types and windows looking out onto South Street, so that passersby can watch classes. Also:

– viewing windows from a Hall of Fame that will feature autographed photographs from the choreographers and their celebrity clients
– two seating areas
– reception and retail desk
– student lockers
– choreographers’ office
– conference room
– bathrooms
– three changing rooms
– childcare room
– bootcamp training area with indoor running track, TRX workout zone, tumbling mats, heavy bag workout area and matted stretching space

The third floor will feature “wall-to-floor street art paying homage to dance, the arts, South Street, Philadelphia and famous Philadelphians.” That space will be available for photo and video shoots, as will the 5,000-square-foot roof, which has a skyline view.


The space, in progress. | Photo by Lauren Mame Thomas


The space, in progress. | Photo by Lauren Mame Thomas


Boundless potential. | Photo by Lauren Mame Thomas

The release also says:

As a tip of the hat to the former and beloved tenant, Pearl Arts and Crafts, the four studio spaces and private dance space will be named after a letter in the Pearl name. Each room will be identified by a piece of the original sign that adorned the building.


Love that sign. | Photo by Lauren Mame Thomas

Owner Lori Ramsay Long is “a mom, forensic scientist, advanced practice registered nurse specializing in emergency medicine, dance teacher, health, fitness and nutrition expert, and biology professor.” Clearly, there is something magical in Lori’s coffee, and I, for one, would like to know what it is.


Owner Lori Ramsay Long. | Photo by Lauren Mame Thomas

Lori is also a savvy new businesswoman who, when quoted, knows which names to drop to Philly natives:

“South Street is an eclectic, diverse and culturally rich community that is the perfect atmosphere for creativity to prosper and thrive,” said Long. “As I’ve spent more time here, I have only fallen more and more in love with our new home and the community. In the middle of the day or night, I can hit top restaurants, make a trip to Headhouse Square’s Wawa, enjoy Lorenzo’s pizza, stop by Philadelphia Magic Gardens, or pull up a barstool next to a potential new friend.”

Many more details to come from our sister site, BeWell Philly.