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New Look for Teen Nightclub

Planet Club, the immensely popular teen nightclub within Planet Splash and Play in Chantilly, has a hot new look — and it will be unveiled this Friday.

The changes have been five months in the making, and what makes them so exciting is that they were initiated and designed by the very teens that flock to this club each week.

"We asked the teens what they liked and didn't like about it," said Planet Club spokeswoman Megan Lanterman. The result — from a committee of teens, plus management and club staff — is something spectacular.

What bothered teens the most, she said, was the way the music was played. "The kids heard so many different styles of music in one evening that no one was completely pleased," explained Lanterman. Deejays played Top 40 dance tunes, hip-hop/rap and trance/high-energy songs all in one big room, and teens had no choice about what was played when.

"So kids who came for Top 40 music, for example, only heard it for a couple hours, but then the rest of the night was other styles," said Lanterman. And sometimes, depending on when they arrived, teens missed out on their favorite type of music, altogether. But all that's been changed now.

The teens suggested dividing up the one large room into three different rooms — each with its own dance floor and distinct type of music. That way, aficionados could listen and dance to their favorite music all night long.

"It's been a huge financial investment," said Lanterman. "We purchased three new sound systems and three new lighting systems so each room will have a different feel. We put soundproofing panels in the walls and ceilings to help absorb the sound [and keep it within each particular room]. And we repainted and redecorated [according to] each theme."

In the Top 40 room, she said, "The most impressive thing is the intelligent lighting, moving in synch with the beat and changing into multiple colors and 120 different patterns. It also has dancing risers — elevated, rectangular platforms that the kids can dance on, about 1 1/2 feet off the floor. It looks really neat when the room is full and kids are dancing at different levels."

Each room will also have its own live deejay, and the teens designed elevated, multi-level booths for them. Said Lanterman: "They're more aesthetically pleasing, and they let the deejays look over the crowd, instead of being on the same level."

Although the deejay booth in the rap/hip-hop room lights up, overall this room has a darker tone, with burgundy, purple and dark-red lights. And posters of singers such as Ludacris, Ja Rule and Destiny's Child adorn the walls. However, said Lanterman, one poster suggested caused a controversy.

"They wanted DMX, but I refused because that band was recently charged with animal cruelty," she said. "Their music videos were notorious for showing pit bulls preparing to fight each other."

The third dance room, for trance/high-energy songs, also has its own unique look. It features all black-lighting so people wearing white clothes can see them light up into neon, as soon as they enter the room. And one complete wall of this room is covered by a handpainted mural of kids dancing. Tyler Steele, 17, of Fairfax High, designed it, and several teens from various schools helped paint it.

"I'm very pleased [with all three rooms]," said Lanterman. "The kids have been wonderful. They've taken a personal interest in this and even came in after school to paint."

But that's not all; Planet Club also has some other changes in store for its patrons. Its new drink bar (still nonalcoholic) will now offer Island Oasis tropical fruit-smoothie drinks. And when the weather is warmer, the club will open an outdoor lounge — complete with waiters and waitresses serving appetizers and drinks. The lounge will be on a mezzanine overlooking the facility's waterpark and will seat 60 people.

Located off Route 28 and Willard Road in Chantilly, Planet Club is open Fridays, from 8-11 p.m., for those ages 11-15; Saturdays, it's open from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. for teens 15-19 years old. The cost is $10 and includes roller-skating for the Friday patrons. Lanterman says the club draws 400-600 kids per weekend, and she can hardly wait to see their reaction, this Friday and Saturday, to all the new changes.

"This renovation was in honor of our two-year anniversary, and it looks great," she said. "It's been wonderful to [discover] what the kids enjoy, and I was [pleasantly] surprised that — although they didn't want to hear the other kids' music — they still wanted the others to be able to come to the club."