Columbus may not be the Florence, Italy, of the Midwest, but it was deemed the better option by dancers Filippo Pelacchi and Russell Lepley when they decided to open their own studio.

Lepley and Pelacchi said they chose Columbus over Florence because it was a more affordable place to live, and Italy does not recognize same-sex marriages.

"Also, we saw that Columbus is growing as an arts community," Lepley said.

They will open Flux + Flow, a hybrid dance and yoga studio, June 25 in the former Clintonville Community Market, 200 Crestview Road. It will offer dance classes for all ages and levels of experience.

There will be an open house from 3 to 6 p.m. June 25.

The studio will feature "pop-up performances from members of the dance community," Lepley said, as well as artwork by Lorenzo Doyle and refreshments provided by neighboring business Preserve on Calumet.

The couple behind Flux + Flow started dancing when they were young: Pelacchi at 14 when he grew weary of competitive swimming, Lepley when he was 6 and his parents finally agreed to pay for lessons.

"I thought Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly were amazing, so I asked my parents for dance lessons," said Lepley, who grew up in Hilliard.

At 12, Lepley began training with BalletMet and at 17 took off for more training with the Houston Ballet.

Pelacchi, a Florence native, relocated to Lille, France, to train with a contemporary dance company.

"I was really ready for it," he said. "I was like, this is what I want to do."

The two met in Munich, where both had gone to find work with a dance troupe.

"It was kind of the perfect place for me to finish out my career with a dance company," Lepley said.

Pelacchi had stopped performing and taken up teaching, which he found -- to his surprise -- to be deeply satisfying.

"I felt that I could give so much to people, and that made me appreciate what I am and what I have to give," he said.

After deciding to run a dance studio, the question was where.

"It was between Florence and here," Lepley said. "It was his idea to come back to Columbus."

"For us, dance was always a place to be who we are," Pelacchi said. "It gives us the opportunity to express ourselves."

They decided on the name Flux + Flow because "life is constantly in flux," Lepley said.

And it relates to dance and yoga, they said.

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