GREENWICH, Conn. – In four years, the Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich has had a profound impact on the community. Many people already knew that, and the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce recently confirmed it.
The ballroom will receive the Small Business Award from the Chamber at its annual awards luncheon on Thursday, April 10, at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. The award honors businesses and individuals who “have gone beyond our expectations in delivering the chamber’s philosophy of bringing together commerce and community,’’ according to a flier for the event.
There is no better choice than the dance studio run by Christine Georgopulo, whose store celebrated its fourth anniversary last month and has been an open door for all groups who want to learn dance steps, socialize and have just plain old fun.
“We’re kind of everywhere,’’ Georgopulo said. “We donate to every fund-raiser that we can. I lived her for 10 years before I opened, and it’s an easy town to immerse yourself in.”
Georgopulo had a successful career in corporate real estate development before opening the studio. From the outset, she has created unique programs that bring the community together. She started a Dance for Health program for cancer patients and a corporate team building series. In January, Georgopulo held Dance 2 Donate to benefit Stand Up To Cancer.
Georgopulo said dancers are finding that time in the studio enhances their lifestyle. “Our tag line is we change lives,’’ she said. “This is better than any therapy session you’ll ever have. When I started, I wanted to do things on a small scale. But I can use the ballroom to change lives for people on a larger scale.”
The most significant change since she started the business is awareness, Georgopulo said. “People are aware that we’re there, and they see we’re serious,’’ she said. “You have to prove yourself in Greenwich. Here they kind of kick the tires, check you out, make sure you’re real.”
Her customer base has continued to build, and Georgopulo finds herself with diverse clientele, from serious dancers seeking to improve their steps to residents seeking to improve their social life. “We’re a social club, a wedding club, a club for people in transition, a club for people who are getting ready for events or marriages or cruises,’’ she said.
While she focuses on changing the lives of others, Georgopulo also feels the change in her own life. After spending 20 years as a real estate developer, she is enjoying her new role as business owner and dance instructor.
“It’s changed my life,’’ Georgopulo said. “I anticipated it, but to have this level of emotion and get deep down into the soul of people and see them change, it’s just breathtaking. To experience it to the level and degree that I see with the people who come here is really cool.”
Admission for the Chamber of Commerce luncheon is $75. Registration is available online .