A new event space is being created in Margate by Thanet dance teacher Leon Williams.
The Cliftonville dad-of-two has decided to step into the world of venue ownership by taking on the Margate House premises on the second floor of the Burton’s building in the High Street.
TheSpace Margate will be available for corporate, social dance and well-being events with completion of a bar and chill out room to follow.
Taking on TheSpace, which will have a soft opening event on Sunday, September 3, came about “by chance” when Leon enquired about hiring the venue for soe Latin and Afro dance workshops.
The 56-year-old, who moved to Thanet 12 years ago but has been hosting classes on the isle for some 20 years, said: “I was looking for a venue to run three hour workshops and was in Margate High Street when I saw a sign for the event space.
“I rung it and spoke to a lovely lady called Rachel who runs a theatre group for children nd 10 minutes later she said come and have a look at the place.”
Leon says agreement to hire the space was made almost immediately but then the conversation moved on to the building becoming vacant.
He said: “I started asking a lot of questions and was imagining what I could do there.”
Within a couple of hours Leon had met the owners and signed up to take the space on.
For the last few months he has been working to clear and recreate the main area. Phase 2, the bar area and toilets, are perfectly useable but Leon says he still has ideas he wants to implement.
He said: “I’ve always hired my venues but now this is it, it is big time for me. I’m a little bit anxious but I feel great about the place.”
Leon runs classes in Salsa, Tango, Afro and more but his dancing background started in ballroom when he was just eight years old.
He said: “I danced and competed in ballroom for about 10 years until I was 17/28. When I was looking at this place I didn’t know that back in the 70s/80s it used to be a ballroom. I have spoken to a lady called Virginia who used to run ballroom classes here in the 80s and I’m going to copy some of her old photos and have them on display.”
A blue plaque is also in place on the building to remember artist Lana Vanzetta who owned Margate House until her tragic death due to a fall in 2020.Lana had opened the site in 2015 as a gallery and arts-based projects space.
Leon says he will also be launching The Dance Café – a monthly event where the public will treat TheSpace as a café with free entry, teas, coffees, soft drinks and light food and different styles of music on rotation: from Waltz to Tango, Salsa to Rumba.
He added: “The floor will be available to any couple wishing to dance, or they can just chill n chat like one would normally do in a cafe.”
The soft launch on September 3 is from 1pm and Leon requests people are mindful of the HotPod Yoga business on the lower floor when they enter the building.