Interlochen's new Dance Center breaks ground

  • L-R: Director of Dance Joseph Morrissey, Trustee Nancy Hoagland, President Trey Devey, and Board Chair Glynn Williams break ground on Oct. 18, 2019.

  • Current Academy dance students perform an excerpt from The Nutcracker.

On a beautiful, sunny day this fall, some members of the Interlochen family, including the Trustees and leadership donors, gathered to celebrate a milestone 30 years in the making: Breaking ground for a new and expanded Dance Center.

In 1990, Sasaki Associates developed a master plan for Interlochen. The plan led to the construction of Phoenix Theatre, Harvey Theatre, The Writing House, The Aaron & Helen L. DeRoy Center for Film Studies, The Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts, and the newly completed Music Center. The last art facility specified as part of the master plan was a modern building for dance.

Thanks to the generous support of many donors, the Dance Center will become a reality. More than $6.9 million has been raised, and an upcoming crowd-funding effort will launch in March of 2020 to encourage all who want to celebrate dance at Interlochen.

Scheduled to open in 2021, the 25,000 square-foot renovated and expanded Dance Center will be ADA accessible and include new studios with higher ceilings, updated technology, fitness equipment, air conditioning, and essential upgrades to create new opportunities for students, faculty, and guest artists. The unmatched lake views that have inspired dancers since 1950 will remain unchanged.

For seven decades, dancers have trained in the historic Hildegarde Lewis Dance Building on the shore of Green Lake.

“I think it is fair to say that no other teaching facility on campus holds the heart of its alumni in the same way as the Dance Building. It seems only right that we stay planted on this extraordinary location for these extraordinary young artists,” said President Trey Devey during the groundbreaking ceremony.

Thanks to leadership supporters like current trustee Nancy Hoagland (IAC/NMC 74)—who wanted dancers to also have the same modern facilities as their fellow musicians, writers, actors, filmmakers, and visual artists—the new building will allow dance students to soar.

“I am incredibly inspired by the discipline and courage it takes to study dance. Like others who supported the new Dance Center, I recognized the need for a facility that matched the possibilities dancers deserve,” Hoagland said during her remarks at the groundbreaking.

The groundbreaking celebration included both classic and modern dance performances. Academy students performed an excerpt from The Nutcracker, as well as a contemporary hip-hop piece created with the help of guest instructor Liezel Marie. The classic and modern performances connect dance through the generations and across genres, the same way the legacy of the Hildegarde Lewis Building is preserved while evolving into a modern, revitalized structure.

For Joseph Morrissey, Interlochen’s Director of Dance, the new facility clearly brings new opportunities.

“We hope to train and develop dancers, allowing their artistic expression to unfold in our new state-of-the-art facility with its unparalleled lakeside views and studio space. Students will be able to train, rehearse, and learn in studios that are beautiful, safe, and adaptable to meet programmatic needs—bringing Interlochen to the forefront of today’s top dance training institutions,” Morrissey said.

For Interlochen, the celebration marks the final step in improving all campus artistic facilities to a world-class status, while nestled within our scenic, natural setting. With one capital project remaining—a convertible residence hall with visiting artist suites—Interlochen is poised to complete the goals outlined in the original Sasaki plan. As both projects progress, Interlochen will shift resources to strengthening financial aid, enhancing curriculum, and attracting the best faculty and artists.

With facilities that match the possibilities, every student with passion and potential will have the opportunity to succeed. Through organic inspiration and renewed focus, Interlochen’s standing as a 21st century destination for multi-disciplinary arts training and natural, serene beauty will remain unrivaled.

Leadership Donors

Interlochen Center for the Arts would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their generous support of the new Dance Center:

  • Caplin Foundation
  • Chormann Family Foundation
  • Marvin and Betty Danto Family Foundation
  • Foster Family Foundation
  • Greg Galvin
  • Nancy Hoagland
  • Susan Kettering
  • Kettering Family Philanthropies
  • Mallory Foundation
  • Elaine and Nick Mischler
  • Bill and Linda Nelson
  • Glynn Williams and Charlene Moore
  • Matilda R. Wilson Fund

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