The Star City School of Ballet opens, enhancing Southeast Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Get your ballet shoes on and your yoga mats out. A new business has opened in Southeast Roanoke--The Star City School of Ballet. It's in an old silk manufacturing plant and has been transformed into a new space for Roanoke region dancers.

You may not expect to see a dance facility in the Roanoke Industrial Center. It's the Star City School of Ballet and it's here and enhance Southeast Roanoke.

"To transform and give back to the community, to see the future. We're trying to plant a little seed to see what trees come out, so that's what we're trying to do here," Pedro Szalay, Co-Owner and Co-Directer of Star City School of Ballet, said.

Couple Pedro Szalay and Mark Sheppard held a ribbon cutting today with Vice-Mayor Joe Cobb to celebrate the grand opening.

The facility has studios for ballet, yoga, Pilates, and ballroom dancing. It even has a study hall for students to work in before and after classes.

"It's very important to involve the community, we did this for the community and for the people who want to come and enjoy it," Szalay said.

Community officials hope this $600,000 investment will help re-shape the Southeast neighborhood.

"These buildings down here have been sitting for quite a long time and there have been a few businesses in here that really not a lot of people know about, but I think when you come in and see a huge transformation like this, I think that it draws more businesses to the area which allows more people to work in the area," Lisa Soltis, Economic Development Specialist for the City of Roanoke, said.

She believes the 15,000 square foot space will be a huge stimulus.

The school's theater will have a name that means a lot to WDBJ7 and the greater community.

"We are going to name Alison Parker theater. It's a very special place that people come and see performances and really she will be delightful because she was a beautiful dancer and I know she's dancing up there," Szalay said.

Szalay was friends with Parker so he has decided to also offer a scholarship in her name.