The newly opened Dance Center at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Yesterday, I watched our Interlochen Arts Academy dance students experience their first rehearsals in our newly opened state-of-the-art Dance Center. Although masks veiled their smiles, their delight in the new facility was palpable.
Expertly designed with the needs of young dancers in mind, the Dance Center will revolutionize how we teach dance at Interlochen. Larger rehearsal spaces will accommodate large-scale works. New technology will enable students to connect with performers and choreographers around the world. Higher ceilings allow dancers to soar—both on their own and in tandem with others.
The opening of the Dance Center coincides with the completion of our newly renovated Interdisciplinary Arts Space, a black box theatre and new classroom on the lower level of Stone, which are primed to foster collaborations and partnerships. These new spaces mark not only new chapters for dance and interdisciplinary arts, but also serve as a milestone for Interlochen as a whole. Each arts discipline at Interlochen now has a designated “home,” with facilities that reflect the excellence of our programs.
These “homes” fulfill a major objective of the 1990 Sasaki Associates Campus Master Plan, which has guided our campus improvement projects for the past 30 years. Initiated by former Interlochen Center for the Arts president Dean Boal and funded by former Interlochen trustees Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow’s eponymous foundation, the plan aimed to create a physical environment worthy of Interlochen’s global reputation and to pave the way for its second century as a leader in arts education.
Three decades later, the Sasaki Plan is nearly complete. Nine world-class arts facilities—the Phoenix Theatre, the Harvey Theatre Complex, the Edward P. and Jessie Frohlich Piano and Percussion Building, the Writing House, DeRoy Center for Film Studies, the Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts, the Upton Morley Pavilion, the Music Center, and the Dance Center—now enhance the incredible instruction that has always been central to the Interlochen experience. The expansive Mallory-Towsley Center for Arts Leadership, home to Interlochen College of Creative Arts, opened in 2010. And in recent years the Dennison Center for Recreation and Wellness and Corson Park, as well as substantial improvements to Corson Auditorium, have enriched life at Interlochen for thousands of students, staff, and guests.
Looking back on our successes, I am humbled by the remarkable generosity of our community, without whom none of these accomplishments would be possible. Over the last 30 years, $83 million in gifts to bring the Sasaki Plan to fruition have remade the artistic face of our campus.
As we enter the final stages of the Sasaki Plan—the renovation of the Hildegarde Lewis Dance Building and the construction of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow House—we have a challenge grant offering a 1:1 match of gifts and pledges up to $400,000 made between now and August 1. I invite you to join the hundreds of others who have supported these and other projects over the last three decades. If you would like to support Dow House or Phase 2 of the Dance Center project, please contact our Philanthropy team at 231.276.7623 or visit interlochen.org/give.
Thanks to your support, we stand on the cusp of our second century prepared to meet and exceed the needs of tomorrow’s creative changemakers. Together, we can ensure that Interlochen will serve as a beacon of transformation, innovation, and collaboration for generations to come.