Fazil’s Ramshackle Hoofer Palace Closes

Places where cultural history was made in Manhattan have vanished for the most part. On Friday another institution was lost. Fazil’s Times Square Studio closed its doors after 73 years as a ramshackle, homey rehearsal hub that served as a mecca for everyone from movie stars to struggling tap, flamenco and Middle Eastern dancers.

The rates were cheap, even starving artists could afford to rent there. In Studio A-4, one of 14 rehearsal rooms in the three-floor center on Eighth Avenue, dancers for many years paid 25 cents to spend an entire day working in the studio that was affectionately known as “The Snake Pit.”

From the start, tap, flamenco and Middle Eastern dancers thronged there, as well as Broadway hoofers. By the late 1950s, Alvin Ailey was teaching there. Countless workshops and rehearsals for Broadway musicals were held at the studios. Something of Fazil’s will live on in scenes in the movies filmed there, including Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose and Nick Castle’s Tap. Gregory Hines, a fixture at Fazil’s, modeled “Sonny’s”, the hoofers’ hangout in Tap, after Studio A-1.

Fazil’s Times Square Dance Studio Closes

Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis in “Tap”

Fazil’s Times Square Dance Studio Closes

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