Danielle Drouin is moving her Drouin Dance Center to 100 Larrabee Road, the former Joker’s Family Fun and Games, which closed in June due to pressures from the coronavirus pandemic. Chance Viles / American Journal

WESTBROOK — Citing parking and space, Drouin Dance Center is moving from the Dana Warp Mill to the former Joker’s building on Larrabee Road.

After operating in the city for 15 years, owner Danielle Drouin said she is happy to be staying in Westbrook. While she said the mill was a “great place to incubate a business,” the move was spurred by a lack of available parking as student numbers grew and the fact that her classrooms were scattered about the mill.

“This has been a plan of ours for maybe five years,” Drouin said. “More parking is a plus, but also being right across from Rock Row will allow parents of kids to do things while they are in class.”

The new space is about the same square footage as the mill space at around 10,000 square feet for six classes at a time, Drouin said. But in the mill, the classrooms are separated and there is no centralized waiting room. Drouin hopes the new location will be operating by late December but is continuing to use the mill space in the meantime.

“We are excited to hear that Drouin Dance Center has chosen to remain in the community and was able to find an appropriate space to support their operations,” Mayor Mike Foley said. “We are very proud of the work they do with youth in our community.”

Aside from teaching roughly 500 students, the dance center has given back to the community as regular donors to the Westbrook Little League, elementary school PTO auctions, the annual Opportunity Alliance Winter Warm-Up Drive, Libby’s Ouchie Box and more.

For the last two years, the dance center has hosted auditions for children’s roles in the “Nutcracker,” presented by the Moscow Ballet and performed in Portland.

“We really appreciate the support from both the city and our students,” Drouin said. “With this location it will be easier for parking, which is huge for not only our Westbrook students but kids that come from all over the region for lessons.”

Drouin Dance Center’s Danielle Drouin stands in front of the new Larrabee Road location, which she hopes will open late next month. Once work is done at the site, the transition will “happen basically over night,” she said. Chance Viles / American Journal

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