In preparation for Hurricane Irma, sandbags were placed around the building, constructing a three-and-a-half-foot fortress in the front and back. The doors were sealed with gutter tape and the owners were confident that the raging water would do no harm … but no one could anticipate the devastation Irma’s wake left in the San Marco area.

After the storm, there was five feet of standing water inside many locations in the neighborhood, including the Dance Trance studio. In total, there was over $100,000 worth of damages to repair with zero flood insurance. State-of-the-art raised sprung hardwood floors resembled waves as they had buckled violently, warped from the water. Four Turbo-sound Sub-Woofers were destroyed, along with merchandise, murals and artwork on the walls painted by artist Tim Lenoir.

This is the story of Dance Trance, a fitness establishment born right here in Jacksonville. When owners Beth and Jay Handline discovered five feet of standing water inside of their studio in San Marco, the world tumbled down on them.

A shot of the damage caused after Hurricane Irma ripped through the San Marco studio.

For weeks, they could not form a coherent sentence. When they built this studio, they did it right. Everything was top-of-the-line so dancers could have an experience beyond compare. The Handline’s poured their heart and soul into this studio, and were in a zombie-like trance until a miracle came along.

State-of-the-art raised sprung hardwood floors resembled waves as they had buckled violently, warped from the water.

A complete stranger to them, Billy Fricke called out of the blue, who has investments in Anytime Fitness Studios around Jacksonville. He explained that there was a location a jump, skip and a hop away with a dance room that was rarely used. Fricke said to make it Dance Trance, with no strings attached! The true beauty of this is Billy and the Handline’s had never spoken before, but simply had mutual friends.

“This was one of those experiences that this is a gift from God that comes out of nowhere,” Jay said. Fricke was not the only one to support the local Jacksonville gem. The community also raised $14,000 through Go Fund Me to aid in the relocation to the new studio.

With water damage reaching five feet up, large portions of the building had to be removed entirely.

Although the old San Marco location is now up for rent, the Handline’s were able to salvage some mirrors, all of the lighting and even managed to fix their stereo and sound system to give dancers the same experience at the new location in the Center State Bank Building on the corner of North Laura Street.

The Handline’s main focus was giving the dancers a unique experience and atmosphere. “It was so unique and so representative of this is different. This is not the standard experience that you are going to have when you go someplace else,” Jay said.

With the helping hand of the Jacksonville community, this experience will continue to live on and flourish for those who love to get their Dance Trance on!

For more information about locations and classes, visit dancetrancefitness.com.