North Carolina Dance Theatre announces building of new facility, with Knight support

Charlotte, N.C. – North Carolina Dance Theatre (NC Dance Theatre) plans to begin construction on a new 34,000 square feet facility in March 2009. The new facility is made possible in part by a $1.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and $2.5 million from the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s (ASC) Campaign for Cultural Facilities.

Since moving to Charlotte from Winston Salem, N.C., in 1990, NC Dance Theatre has leased office and rehearsal space and is currently located in the NoDa Arts District at 622 East 28th Street. The new facility will be located at 701 North Tryon Street, next to the McColl Center for Visual Art. 

“We are pleased to join Discovery Place, Levine Museum of the New South, The Light Factory, Spirit Square and our new neighbor, the McColl Center, in the North Tryon Street cultural district. Together we are forming the cultural mile, complementing developments on South Tryon Street,” said Douglas Singleton, NC Dance Theatre executive director.

Funding

In 2003 NC Dance Theatre initiated a capital fundraising campaign, led by Hugh L. McColl Jr., to build its own facility. The initial phase of the capital campaign raised $4.5 million. An additional $1.8 million endowment was established to sustain NC Dance Theatre during its transition to and operation of a new facility. “The new facility will complete the commitment made to Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride when we enticed them to come to Charlotte. It has been a long trip and we would not be here without the individual and corporate support we received along the way,” said Hugh L. McColl, Jr, Chairman of Dance Theatre’s Capital Campaign. “Obviously, the commitment from Knight Foundation put us over the top. Those that participated feel we are investing in the very best of Charlotte’s performing arts groups.  North Carolina Dance Theatre is first class and merits our support.” 

NC Dance Theatre became a partner in the Campaign for Cultural Facilities in 2005. This initiative, convened by the Arts & Science Council, provides, in part, additional capital funds for NC Dance Theatre’s new facility.

In 2008 NC Dance Theatre applied for and received a grant from Knight Foundation for $1.5 million to cover the remaining cost of a new facility. Total cost of the facility is estimated to be $8.5 million. “Dance Theatre’s new facility will not only strengthen Charlotte’s cultural mall, but also inject more creativity into the city and help transform it into a major cultural destination,” said Susan Patterson, Charlotte program director for Knight Foundation.

New Facility

“Dance Theatre has explored building a new facility for several years. Due to many reasons, including construction costs and land acquisition, we have not been able to build before now,” said Loy McKeithen, past board chair and new building committee chair. “Although the economic climate is challenging, current construction costs make it possible for us to build a new facility that accommodates Dance Theatre’s growth. This, coupled with the gifts we received during the years of the capital campaign, including those from the Knight Foundation, the Arts & Science Council, our generous supporters and our board members, has allowed everything to fall into place now.”

Dance Theatre is working with the architectural firm Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates and general contractor Rogers Builders. Trade Street Partners is providing support as development manager, and McGuireWoods LLP is providing legal representation.

Plans for the facility include six dance studios, with three overlooking North Tryon Street. “The studios overlooking North Tryon Street will showcase the artistry of our dancers,” said Singleton. “The space Dance Theatre is currently leasing only has three studios. Six studios will allow the School of Dance to hold additional dance classes providing healthy, artistic and fun activities for everyone in our community.”

In addition to six dance studios, the new facility also includes a costume shop, administrative offices and meeting spaces. Students, professional company dancers and faculty will have locker rooms, changing spaces and showers. Although it will not be completed in the initial phase of construction, the space for a black box theater is included in the facility. “A black box theater will eventually provide space for Dance Theatre as well as other dance organizations to perform and present new choreography, take risks and explore the art form,” said Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, NC Dance Theatre president and artistic director.

NC Dance Theatre expects to move into its new facility in spring 2010, with a grand opening scheduled for the fall.                                                                 MORE

About North Carolina Dance Theatre

Since its founding in 1970, NC Dance Theatre has become one of the premier mid-sized dance companies in the nation. President and Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Associate Artistic Director Patricia McBride joined the company in 1996, and under their leadership NC Dance Theatre has built a diverse and exciting repertoire, toured extensively across the United States, and attracted international dancers and choreographers. The company has an annual budget exceeding $4 million and employs 24 professional dancers.

The New York Times called NC Dance Theatre “unstinting in range and thunder…a pleasure to behold,” and former acclaimed New York Post dance critic Clive Barnes called Dance Theatre “...one of the liveliest and

most brilliant troupes in North America.”

NC Dance Theatre School of Dance opened its doors in 1993 and has an annual enrollment of over 600 students. North Carolina Dance Theatre’s Education and Outreach Program serves approximately 50,000 students annually.

North Carolina Dance Theatre is supported, in part, with operating support by the Arts & Science Council. NC Dance Theatre is also supported by individuals, corporations, and local and national foundations; the North Carolina Arts Council; ArtsTeach; and the National Endowment for the Arts.

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of the communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.