Ballet Austin

Dance of the Sugar Plum Jackhammers

Ballet Austin

That revving of jackhammers you hear is another cultural construction project kicking into high gear. This one is Ballet Austin's new Dance Education Center at Third and San Antonio. Starting this month, the former Aus-Tex printing facility is getting a multimillion-dollar makeover that will result in seven dance studios, (including a 270-seat flexible performance space), offices, and open rental space. But before the 15-month renovation begins, BA is inviting the public to kick up its heels at an event it's calling Dancin' in the District. At the celebration, to be held this Sunday, March 5, 2-5pm, you'll be able to tour the building, hear a set from Asleep at the Wheel, and bid on items in a silent auction, the proceeds of which will go to the capital campaign for the center. The company is looking at a total cost of $10.7 million for the new downtown digs (that includes the purchase of the land and old building), but the good news is that it's raised $7.7 million to date, and the company just received a $200,000 challenge grant from the Meadows Foundation to help fund the renovation. The ballet has until May 31 to raise $200K to make the Meadows match, so when you go dancin' in the district, don't forget your checkbook.

In other company news, BA was honored by the Anti-Defamation League for the community-building and education efforts it conducted with last year's Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project. The company received the Audrey and Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award, given to an individual or organization for work in furthering greater harmony and cooperation in our communities. And the New American Talent/Dance showcase proved lucrative for all three choreographers. The jurors divided their $15,000 prize money such that Sonya Delwaide received $3,500, Thaddeus Davis received $6,000, and Thang Dao received $5,500, plus an additional $4,000 that came from winning the $1,000 Audience Award at all four performances. Congratulations, all. For more information, call 476-9051 or visit

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