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

Ballet Austin: The Start of Something BIG

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

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Ballet Austin, Carmina Burana, Austin Symphony, Conspirare, Joyce Theater, Sarah Butler, Ernest Butler, Austin Ventures, James C. Armstrong, Teresa Long, Joe Long, Butler Dance Education Center

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