Smile Politely

Meet Breathe, C-U’s new all-ages dance club

The Champaign-Urbana area welcomed a new addition to its “club scene” this month: Breathe, an all-ages venue located in Savoy, which celebrated its opening this past weekend.

Breathe differs from its competitors in the area in that it is geared primarily toward the under-21 crowd, especially high-school-aged teens (ages 14-18), who can dance their hearts out every Saturday from 8–11 p.m. According to Christine Rich, the owner of Breathe, the nightclub vibe encourages visitors “to balance a life of increasing screen-time with movement and self-creativity through dance.” The result, she noted, is “very soul-nurturing.”

Rich is no stranger to the positive effects of dance. She is also the owner of the Christine Rich Studio, a dance academy and performing arts center that has been providing classes in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, Irish, acrobatics, modern, and more for the past twenty-eight years. Breathe complements the Christine Rich Studio insofar as it gives teens the chance to express themselves without the need for formal dance training.

Despite Breathe’s teen focus, the venue does welcome people of all ages during designated hours. Theme nights, including nights for folks 21 years and up for which alcohol will be served, are in the works. Rich noted that they’re also planning some designated hours for parents and kids to attend, including a special slot from 6–7:30 p.m. during their upcoming Halloween Party on November 1st. Then, at 8 p.m., Breathe will become “teens only” with costumes encouraged.

According to Rich, the design and décor choices for Breathe were inspired by clubs in Europe and Los Angeles. They’re definitely going for the big-city feel: purple lights glow on the dance floor and small tables lit with neon colors are scattered throughout the venue. You won’t find any chairs in the space; instead, beds are available for groups of people to sit on when they need a break from dancing.

Breathe hopes their patrons will match the upscale vibe they’re aiming for. Teens and other attendees are advised to dress to impress and be on their best behavior while dancing the night away.

Rich chatted with us recently about what we can expect from this new venue.

Smile Politely: What is Breathe?

Rich: Breathe is a unique nightclub for underserved populations such as teens, tweens, parents, and the over 21 crowd who really want a full-out dance and nightclub experience for most Saturdays and some Sunday nights. Additionally, we are a full theater and can do supper clubs (shows and dinner). Breathe has the largest dance floor in the area with an amazing sound system, light shows and DJs playing current music, all in an upscale building with easy parking.

SP: Why did you choose to establish Breathe as a nightclub for teens?

Rich: The teens are the first population that we chose to start with. The teens in our community are amazing and deserve to have a non-alcoholic club like those seen in major cities. Some towns have seen a downturn in school dance attendance, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to dance and socialize, especially with other area teens throughout the county.

SP: For those of us who are over 21, what can Breathe offer?

Rich: We have a full beer and wine selection in addition to a full-out dance floor and vibe. The sound, lights and DJs really add to the upscale, hip environment. Breathe is a departure from campus bars or the laid back nature of the downtown bars.

SP: What will catch people’s eyes when they first walk into Breathe?

Rich: The purple lights outside and the crystal chandelier over the fireplace when they enter.

SP: How did the opening event turn out? What has the reception been so far from the community?

Rich: We have been very well received, and the club is planning a big Halloween Costume Party on Saturday November 1st for teens aged 14-18 in high school from 8-11 p.m. with DJB from Chicago. We will also test run our “Parents with Kids” seating from 6-7:30 p.m. November 1st with Halloween costumes. Many parents don’t use babysitters anymore but would still love to have a date night. One thing we know for sure is that children love to dance with colorful lights everywhere. Our solution is to have parents and the children come to experience a magical time before the children’s bed time.

SP: Will the venue be available for special events?

Rich: Yes. Because we can go from a full theater with rows of seats to a nightclub, there will be opportunities for supper clubs a la 1920s, jazz nights for the older crowd, musicals for dinner theater on Sundays, and more. Our stage is the largest in town with full theatrical details.

SP: Anything else you want to tell our readers?

Rich: We love feedback and we will continue to test and improve upon our ideas. The best thing to do is to join our email list for event notifications. We look forward to bringing in relevant artists for a show seating that segues into the nightclub dance experience.

Breathe is located at 1402 Regency Dr. West in Savoy. Visit their website for hours and information on special events.

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