Thursday, April 24, 2014
Zumba classes will resume next month at the fitness studio that drew international attention to Kennebunk.
Joyce Bagshaw of Wells, left, and her sister Janet Berger of Parsonsfield, who designed some of the wall art, are preparing the former Pura Vida dance studio for a March opening. The new business is called Danceworks.
Courtesy of Joyce Bagshaw
The new operator of the Kennebunk Zumba studio chose the building for its central location.
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer
Joyce Bagshaw, a licensed Zumba instructor from Wells, confirmed Thursday that she and her husband, David Bagshaw, have entered into an agreement to rent the space at 8 York St., where Alexis Wright operated the Pura Vida Studio.
Pura Vida closed after Wright was charged with operating a one-woman prostitution business that had dozens of clients. The charges again her and her alleged business partner, Mark Strong Sr., drew media attention from around the world.
Strong is now on trial in York County Superior Court. Wright is scheduled to stand trial in May on 106 counts including promotion of prostitution, engaging in prostitution, violation of privacy, conspiracy, violating tax law and welfare fraud.
The only image left on the Pura Vida website is a photograph of Wright and 18 of her students with a message that says, "Studio now closed."
The new business, Danceworks, should begin classes at the studio by the middle of March, Bagshaw said.
Bagshaw could not be interviewed Thursday because she is teaching dance classes in the Caribbean, but she agreed to correspond by email.
She said she knows Wright but Danceworks will have no connection to her.
Bagshaw said she chose the studio as the location for her new business because it is big -- about 2,500 square feet -- and has a "beautiful dance floor."
"I am convinced of the fact that this space will provide people with what they seek when looking for a venue for dance fitness," Bagshaw wrote in response to a question about the studio's history.
"It's in a central location, a beautifully designed and installed floor, open space, natural light and an inspiring environment. I am dedicated to making this a reality for the community and know that the space, in fact, will provide that."
Bagshaw said she grew up in Sanford and lived on the West Coast and in New York City before moving to Maine.
She worked for several years as a dance teacher and choreographer in New Hampshire.
She became a licensed Zumba instructor in 2008. She has been teaching classes in New England and on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, where she has taught for five years.
In Kennebunk, Bagshaw said, she will teach Zumba classes and other music movement classes that could involve such dances as samba, rumba, flamenco and salsa.
Bagshaw said she will hold an open house and offer free introductory classes before regular classes begin next month.
Bagshaw said Wright left the studio in good shape.
Bagshaw's sister, Janet Bergen of Parsonsfield, has helped her put some finishing touches on the studio, including a striking wall painting that shows a female dancer.
Calls to several town officials for their reaction to Bagshaw's plans were not returned.
For more information about Danceworks, go to www.danceworksmaine.com.
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:
click image to enlarge
Joyce Bagshaw said the studio has “a beautifully designed … floor, open space, natural light and an inspiring environment.”
Courtesy of Joyce Bagshaw