Ballet Austin: The Start of Something BIG
A big new production, a Big Apple debut, and big gifts to support its big new dance center downtown may make this the biggest season yet for Ballet Austin
The watchword for Ballet Austin as it kicks off its 2005-06 season is "big." It starts this weekend with a big new production from Artistic Director Stephen Mills: Carmina Burana, which teams the dance company with the Austin Symphony and the choral ensemble Conspirare. That's followed next week by the Big Apple debut of Ballet Austin in a four-day stand at New York's esteemed Joyce Theater. And now some big money has lined up behind the ballet's drive to create a big new dance education center out of the former Aus-Tex printing facility on West Third: $2.5 million from arts philanthropists Sarah and Ernest Butler, $1 million from Austin Ventures, $500,000 each from James C. Armstrong and Long Center benefactors Teresa and Joe Long, and $250,000 from Gail and Jeff Kodosky. The creation of the new 28,000-square-foot facility will be a big make that huge step forward for the company, which outgrew its home in the Firehouse on Guadalupe years ago. It'll give BA not only desperately needed studio space but a point for connecting with the public in the heart of the city. This $10 million facility will be called the Butler Dance Education Center, and Austin Ventures will have its name on the venue's 287-seat studio and performance space. The ballet has stealthily raised more than $7 million for its new home and is now taking its capital campaign public to raise the remaining $3 million. With the big waves it's making nationally and abroad, BA should have little problem garnering big support.
Ballet Austin presents Carmina Burana Sept. 30-Oct. 2, Friday-Sunday, at Bass Concert Hall. For more information, call 469-SHOW or 476-2163, or visit www.balletaustin.org.