Husband, wife relocate businesses to downtown Niles storefront
Published 3:45 pm Thursday, March 30, 2023
NILES — A long-held dream is becoming a reality for Eddie and Erin Torres.
The couple has been busy relocating their two ventures – Legion Martial Arts and Expressions Dance Academy – under the same roof at 211 E. Main St., Niles. The space, formerly home to Scrapper’s Rescue Corporation, is set to open Monday, April 3.
Legion Martial Arts, formerly Legend Martial Arts, was previously located at 306 E. Main St.. Expressions Dance Studio was formerly located in 210 E. Main St., Suite B.
“It’s what Ed and I have been dreaming about since we’ve met,” Erin said. “It’s a dream come true.”
LMA offers a wide range of martial arts instruction, including traditional Taekwondo, Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts to children, teens and adults. A nonprofit, non-competitive studio, EDA offers dance classes — everything from ballet to tap to jazz and hip-hop — to area youth. EDA accepts all abilities and all bodies.
Both ventures have grown in size, with EDA having more than doubled in size from last year with approximately 30 students. The Torreses believe the new space will allow them to grow in their craft, bring in different guest instructors and offer more opportunities to the community.
“Main Street is awesome,” Eddie said. “Niles has been getting a lot of new stuff. We’ll have a lot more reach, especially with the window space. Being right here on main street will offer lots of exposure.”
“It’s really exciting,” Erin said. “It’s been one of our goals to open our space together downtown. Niles is a really exciting place right now. It has a lot of potential and it’s exciting to be a part of that.”
Eddie and Erin aim to use their extensive knowledge of their respective fields to make an impact on area youth. Eddie has more than 15 years of MMA experience under his belt at both professional and amateur levels. Erin started her dancing with Miss Kathy’s School of Dance in Dowagiac. She went on to travel across the world pursuing dancing, including South Korea and Japan, and moved to New York where she danced for 12 years.
Erin decided to make Expressions Dance Academy a nonprofit to make dancing more accessible for local youth.
“Dance was a big part of my life,” she said. “With the economy being the way it is, I don’t want the arts to be something anyone has to make a choice over if they want it. Students are able to raise funds through fundraisers or pay monthly. It depends on what they prefer.”
As their ventures continue to grow, the Torreses will be expanding the offerings they provide. Eddie said he hopes to start private martial arts classes as well as a women’s self defense class. Erin aims to book more community performances and hopes to add more adult classes. “Ed and I are really focused on making Niles our home,” she said.
The Torreses thanked the City of Niles as well as the local downtown business community for making the relocation process a smooth one.
“Downtown is amazing,” Eddie said. “It has grown so much in the past few years. We have made a lot of connections. We’re very excited.”
For more information, find Legion Martial Arts online at legendmartialarts.net and on Facebook at “Legion Martial Arts.” Expressions Dance Academy can be reached on Facebook at “Expressions Dance Academy.”