A Grande Turn

Ballet Arizona’s corps of dancers, patrons and staff will join Phoenix civic and community leaders Oct. 9 to kick off the construction of the Ballet’s new home at 2835 E. Washington St. in Phoenix. The groundbreaking ceremony will be hosted by the Ballet with participation from Brignall Construction and Durkin & Durkin Architects.


The 45,000 square-foot center is expected to be an active and transformative community hub. Formerly the Walsh Bros Warehouse, the new space will boast spacious, upgraded rehearsal studios, additional studios and classes, allowing room for more students and expanded curriculum for the School of Ballet Arizona, Black Box Theater, an in-house performance space with a 299-person seating capacity for community lectures and demonstrations, new choreography workshops and open-house events.


Under the leadership of co-chairs Carol Schilling and Jacquie Dorrance, Ballet Arizona launched The Next Step capital campaign and has succeeded in raising more than 80 percent of the funding targeted for the $10 million project. Initial funding for the building renovation came through a 2006 City of Phoenix bond designed to strengthen neighborhoods, provide educational opportunities, improve public safety and expand cultural and community programs.


“We expect our attendance to double, even triple, in the near future,” says Ib Andersen, artistic director. “The expanded studio space also expands our capacity to develop dancers through our school, creating a training program for dancers to join our main company. It will increase local students’ opportunity to learn their craft and stay here.


The new center, located along the Metro light-rail line, is being designed by the award-winning architecture firm Durkin & Durkin, which specializes in civic and public works. The new center will more than triple the Ballet's current studio facilities and will allow the Ballet to expand its free and low-cost outreach programs, which currently serve more than 25,000 children and families each year.


"Ballet Arizona's new home will allow us to expand and develop our educational programs, providing an invaluable opportunity to transform our educational role in the community," says Alison Johnston, Ballet executive director. "It will make the greatest possible cultural, social and educational contribution to Phoenix while supporting our vision to teach, create and perform outstanding classical and contemporary ballet."


"Local arts groups are always in a fragile economic situation, even in a good economy," says Jacquie Dorrance. "Having a dedicated building with the entire operation under one roof will put Ballet Arizona on sound footing for the future. Thousands of people enjoy the artistry and athleticism of our amazing dancers through such programs as Ballet Under the Stars and the formal performances at Symphony Hall. We want to keep giving Arizonans the joy of ballet, danced at the highest of levels. To do that, we need to provide upgraded facilities for our dancers as well as more studio space to teach and foster

dancers for our future generations." 


If you are interested in helping finish building the Ballet’s new home, you can make a donation to The Next Step campaign. Contact Ballet Arizona at 602-343-6527.


Submitted by Ballet Arizona

Rendering by Durkin & Durkin Architects LLC


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