You’ve seen the dance videos all over social media with the red studio walls, and the epic dance moves, now get to know more about the beloved Millennium Dance Complex.
The now legendary studio opened its doors in 1992 thanks to the hard work and dedication AnnMarie Hudson. She was kind enough to answer some of our questions about opening and running such a successful studio, check out the exclusive interview below.
WOD: Tell me about the history of your studio/how it got started?
AH: I had a few dance studios on the East Coast. When I came to Los Angeles I got a job as a manager at a very famous old dilapidated studio that was about to be closed. This was the Moro-Landis studio. The owners knew that I had run my own studios and gave me a chance to lease their studio. I started building classes that I liked. At first, no one would talk to me because I was from New York. And Hip Hop was just starting to go. No one would allow Hip Hop in their studio. Despite all that I went out there and began scouting dancers like Wade Robson and Shane Sparks to teach at the studio. And from there on it just kept growing.
WOD: What was a struggle for you early on compared to some of the challenges you face today?
AH: The struggle early on was keeping all the dance styles together in one building. We had a 12,000 square feet space. To have hip hop with ballet, with tap, with lyric, with jazz in one building was a challenge. But, I wanted to make sure that dancers got the full education in every area. Another challenge was being a dancer myself, and then all of a sudden I had to be a business person, a realtor, landlord and construction person. Today the challenge is that we are so large and we need more space. Finding more space and training more people so that everyone can experience the Millennium brand.
WOD: If you could pinpoint what sets your studio apart from others, what would it be?
AH: Complete dedication to the art and not the business.
WOD: Can you share some notable dancers who have trained/taught at your studio?
AH: There have been many over the years. Brian Friedman, Ian Eastwood, Misha Gabriel, Casper Smart, Wade Robson and Chachi Gonzales are just a few. Many celebrities like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Britney Spears, Shakira, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Usher and many more have been to our studio too. Most of the top dancers of the past and today have danced at Millennium.
WOD: What is your favorite memory so far?
AH: A young dancer from Germany came to our studio back when N’sync was top in the world. He came to the front desk with his suitcases and said: “I am here to dance with Marty Kudelka. He is my idol. Everywhere there is a class with Marty I go.” So I said: “Okay. Marty is in the back. Did you want to meet him?” The kid got so excited, he was the cutest little guy, he couldn’t believe it. I went into the back and said: “Marty, this guy adores you.” And I introduced them. Cut forward to one week later, he comes to Millennium and says: “I just came back from Vegas. I was staying in the penthouse with Marty, Justin Timberlake and N’sync. Marty invited me and I just stayed with them the whole weekend.” That’s THE Millennium story to me.
WOD: What are your plans for the future?
AH: I want to create a virtual Millennium with online tutorials, where our instructors will teach, give advice and inspiration to students. I want everyone to be able to be a part of Millennium no matter where in the world they are or have access to Millennium. Maybe sometime down the road I would like to get an International Dance Festival started.
WOD: Anything else to add?
AH: I wanted to create a studio where dancers of all styles could come together and dance together. Where everyone is down to earth and no style is judged. Where no snobbiness is allowed. Love all, serve all, dance more, is our motto.