Conveniently nestled in the heart of West Covina right off the 10 freeway, The Lab Creative Arts Studio is home to performers, athletes, and artists of all kinds.
The dance community most commonly recognizes the studio as a space for rehearsals and classes, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a creative sanctuary. A safe space. It’s a buffet of resources for anyone who wants to learn, explore, create, and grow.
Students of all ages can take classes in dance, tumbling, kickboxing, weight training, barbering, photography, videography, and more. Both a playground and a classroom, a blank canvas and a toolbelt.
STEEZY shoots the majority of our classes and concept videos at The Lab. We’ve been blessed with the generosity and hospitality of Val and Carrie, who truly live out their mission. STEEZY and The Lab are both dedicated to supporting the creative energy in the community around us, and have became proud collaborators in early 2016.
Being in and out of the studio, we’re constantly surrounded by patrons seeking better health, happiness, and creativity. It’s an infectiously positive environment dripping with hunger and potential. We ourselves ride on the good vibes and were eager to share the richness that lives within its walls.
Let’s begin by examining its origin.
How did The Lab become what it is now? How did a space, once empty, become a home to so many?
I Need A One Dance (Room)
…And 2 Devoted Owners
Since its humble beginnings in 2011, the one-room dance studio has transformed into a multi-faceted training facility.
One would assume that, at the very least, a full team was responsible for its progress.
But it was actually two people (doing the work of a dozen) who brought this vision to life.
Valerie Ramirez, with 15 years of experience in dance, studio ownership, and team direction is one of the fearless, creative, selfless owner/directors of The Lab.
She’s the perfect mentor – possessing the uncanny ability to identify strengths in others and determination to foster that skill to its fullest potential. Under her direction, students have been pushed and challenged, achieving goals that would otherwise have been left as dreams.
She makes them believe in themselves. She empowers them to develop their own greatness. She sets the bar high, and encourages them to reach higher.
Val is a teacher, leader, motivator, philanthropist, business woman, director, collaborator, and.. Knowing her, another infinity roles she takes on with gusto.
Also with an extensive background in studio life, the tenacious Carrie Calkins takes on the role of the Director of Operations at The Lab. A title that barely grazes the full scope of what she does.
Transforming visions into plans is no easy feat, but Carrie is a natural alchemist with a penchant for developing concrete strategies and following through with action. Through her organization and implementation, The Lab takes both baby steps and leaps in progressing forward.
Together, Val and Carrie make an unstoppable dream (and action) team.
This is how, in 5 short years, The Lab has grown into a beautiful 12,000 sq. ft. custom built, state of the art facility. It has an industrial, street-style vibe fused with fashion, design, dance, and fitness – aesthetically representing an artistic lifestyle as a whole.
Wanna take a virtual tour? We’ve outlined the different programs and equipment offered at The Lab below!
Programs at The Lab:
Monday – Friday | 8:00pm – 10:00pm | Ages 10 yrs-Adult
$5.00/class OR $60.00/4 weeks – Unlimited
$25 Registration Fee
Whether you’re searching for self-defense techniques, a great work out, or are interested in becoming a competitive fighter, Muay Thai Kickboxing classes at The Lab Creative Arts Studio are a great way to get in shape while learning the rules and techniques of this popular sport.
Students/athletes learn the “art of eight limbs” in a friendly and safe training environment. They develop fitness functions like accuracy, balance and increased cardiovascular endurance, while building character traits like perseverance and respect.
They don’t just “teach” Muay Thai at The Lab – they live it. The students and teachers learn to translate this mentality to the real world, and find confidence, stability, mental strength and growth that no other combat art can impart. If you can control your emotions while training in hostile conditions, all negative influences outside the gym are easy to manage.
The weight room is a place where dancers can train without having to go to a separate gym. For example, when Quest Crew & Kinjaz were training at The Lab in preparation for their time on ABDC, they would often incorporate a weight lifting/conditioning session into their rehearsals.
It’s also available for athletes, parents, and siblings (who may not be dancers) to train their bodies.
The Weight Room includes a Smith machine (which can be used for various exercises for a total body workout), a versatile squat rack (for free weight barbell exercises), a cable machine (for targeting and isolating different muscle groups in your quads, shoulders, back and chest), treadmills and bikes (for cardio), free weight dumbbells ranging from 5lb to 100 lb and kettle bells for a more dynamic workout.
Anyone is welcome to become a member of The Weight Room!
CURRENT WEIGHT ROOM SCHEDULE
MONDAY – THURSDAY (6-10PM), FRIDAY (8-10PM)
18 YRS+ (Ages 14 – 17 – Adult Supervision Required)
WEIGHT ROOM RATES
$25 – Reg. Fee
$10 – Single Evening Pass (Mon-Fri. 5-10pm)
$25 – Unlimited (Monthly/Mon-Fri. 5-10pm)
$45 – Private Lesson Hour (with Ed Ramirez)
COMBO – KICKBOXING GYM & WEIGHT ROOM
$12 – Single Day Pass (Mon-Fri. – 5-10pm weight room & 8-10pm kb gym)
$80 – Unlimited Combo (Mon-Fri. – 8-10pm for KB, Mon.-Fri. 5-10pm weight room)
The Lab also offer the Weight Room for rental for personal trainers to use in order to work with their clients.
THE BARBER BOX
You may have seen resident barber Sofie “StayGold” Pok (@StayGold31) doin’ her thing at the Barber Box, adjacent to the registration counter at The Lab. Guest barbers are also able to use the Barber Box.
It has also been used as a showcase facility for barber battles, with The Lab hosting their first one last summer. They hope to offer educational courses in barbering in the near future as well!
Hair cuts with Sofie start at $50 – you can book an appointment by emailing SofiePok@gmail.com
THE GYM / TUMBLING ROOM
The Lab has a 3,500 sq. ft. gym which includes a 42’x42’cheer floor, 40’ TumblTrak, 16’
boxing ring, and various punching bags.
It’s perfect for cheer team practices / tumbling courses / nightly kickboxing.
Aside from our cheerleaders, tumblers, & kickboxers… many dancers cross train, especially with tricking becoming more heavily involved indance routines. This room is perfect to SAFELY work on new skills, with ease on muscles and floor impact.
There are 3 dance rooms at The Lab, all equipped with 8’ Duraflect Copper-Free Mirrors and top of the line speakers.
The large dance room has a second level instructor viewing area.
Aside from The Lab’s weekly dance, tumbling, and fitness classes, they also rent the studio out for crew rehearsals, video shoots, workshops, personal training, banquets, birthday parties, creative meetings, and more!
When you walk in the front doors, you’ll notice that the wall on the right hand side is filled with “The Lab” merchandise. We’re personally tempted to purchase one of each, as their designs are always, always on point.
The merchandise is concepted primarily by Valerie herself, with creative collaborations including Sean Martin @TheeSeanMartin, Matt Cadiz (MACA) @macamasse, & Vince de Vela @vincediminish
You will soon be able to buy The Lab apparel on Big Cartel: www.TheLabCreativeArtsStudio.bigcartel.com
- TINY TOTS TRAINING PROGRAM (4-9 YRS*)
(CREW OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE, INVITE ONLY)
- TUESDAY 5:15-6:00PM – INTRO. TO BREAKING (SA-EWL DOCIOUS)
- TUESDAY 6:00-7:00PM – BEG./INT. HOUSE (JOEY VELASQUEZ) *AGES 9+
- WEDNESDAY 6:00-7:00 – INTRO. TO FREESTLYE (CLAY BOONTHANAKIT)
- THURSDAY 5:30-6:00PM – INTRO. TO HIP HOP (HEATHER GONZALEZ)
- THURSDAY 6:00-7:00PM – INTRO. TO TUMBLING (SHELLY PIANTANIDA)
- BEGINNING/INTERMEDIATE TRAINING PROGRAM
- MONDAY 5:00-6:00PM – INT. TUMBLING (PETER NGUYEN) *9 – 12 YRS
- MONDAY 6:00-7:00PM – BEG./INT. HIP HOP (ANDREW ELAM)
- MONDAY 7:00-8:00PM – BEG./INT. GROOVES (HEATHER GONZALEZ)
- MONDAY 7:00-8:00PM – BE.G/INT. TUMBLING (PETER NGUYEN) *AGES 13+
- TUESDAY 6:00-7:00PM – BEG./INT. HOUSE (JOEY VELASQUEZ)
- TUESDAY 7:00-8:00PM – BEG./INT. BREAKING (SA-EWL DOCIOUS)
- TUESDAY 8:00-9:00PM – STRETCHING/TECHNIQUE (MEGAN HART)
- WEDNESDAY 7:00-8:00PM – KIDS SALSA (TONY & GRACIE FLORES) *9 – 14 YRS
- THURSDAY 5:00-6:00PM – BEG./INT. TUMBLING (SHELLY PIANTANIDA)) *7 – 11 YRS
- THURSDAY 6:00-7:00PM – BEG./INT. HIP HOP (HEATHER GONZALEZ) *9 – 13 YRS
- THURSDAY 7:00-8:00PM – INTRO TO ANIMATION & BODY CONTROL (CLAY BOONTHANAKIT) *11 YRS+
- THURSDAY 7:00-8:00PM – BEG./INT. HIP HOP (HEATHER GONZALEZ) *AGES 13+
- ADVANCED TRAINING PROGRAM
(CREW OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE, INVITE ONLY)
- MONDAY 6:00-7:00PM – ADV. KIDS HIP HOP (DAVID LEE)
- MONDAY 7:00-8:00PM – ADV. HIP HOP (DAVID LEE)
- MONDAY 8:00-9:00PM – ADV. HIP HOP (ANDREW ELAM)
- TUESDAY 6:00-7:00PM – INT./ADV. BREAKING (SA-EWL DOCIOUS)
- TUESDAY 7:00-8:00PM – INT./ADV. HIP HOP FUNDAMENTALS (JOEY VELASQUEZ)
- TUESDAY 8:00-9:00PM – STRETCHING/TECHNIQUE (MEGAN HART)
- WEDNESDAY 7:00-8:00PM – ADV. HIP HOP (CLAY BOONTHANAKIT)
- WEDNESDAY 8:00-9:00PM – ADV. HIP HOP (ROTATING INSTRUCTOR)
- THURSDAY 6:00-7:00PM – ADV. HIP HOP (ROTATING INSTRUCTOR)
- THURSDAY 7:00-8:00PM – ADV. TUMBLING (PETER NGUYEN)
As you can see, The Lab is no ordinary dance studio. They have virtually anything anyone could need to achieve their mind/body goals. We all want different things, and work in different ways, and the customizability of The Lab’s resources and programs can accommodate anyone.
Want to get swole? Become a better freestyler? Join West Covina High School’s award-winning hip hop program? Learn how to tumble? They gotchu.
Val and Carrie make sure that everyone who steps foot into The Lab leaves better than when they entered – whatever this “better” means to them.
Thank you to Val, Carrie, and The Lab staff for helping make us better, too!
Check out the studio in person today! We can’t wait to see how you grow.
The Lab Creative Arts Studio
541 N Azusa Ave.
West Covina, CA 91791
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