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Making the leap: NCDT moves into new home

By Steven Brown
The Charlotte Observer

Only a few years ago, N.C. Dance Theatre was based in a dingy one-story building backed up to I-277. During rain showers, buckets collected the water dripping through the ceiling. After years of fundraising and planning, the company went to work this week in its new home on North Tryon Street, which it shows off with an open house Saturday. The dancers and NCDT’s school have six studios at their disposal – and a sturdy roof over their heads.

When NCDT hired two former standouts from the New York City Ballet to move south and direct the company, its leaders promised to build the company a home of its own. Fourteen years later, they’re making good on their word. As a tribute to the duo’s artistry – and patience – the building is named for them: the Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance.

For NCDT's school

Four smaller studios on the second floor will mainly serve students, though NCDT’s grownup dancers will also use them. Floor-to-ceiling windows along Tryon Street and 10th Street flood the studios with light.

Dual purpose

The two main studios are separated by a movable partition. When it retracts, the combined spaces become a black box theater that can hold an audience of 200. The seating pulls out from one wall, sort of like the bleachers in a high school gym. But these are much more comfortable – individual seats with backs and armrests.

Main studios: NCDT's dancers will mainly use a pair of two-story-high studios whose double life is described at the bottom of the page.

Locker rooms: Students can stash their belongings during class. The professional dancers have men’s and women’s locker rooms of the own – and for the first time, they’ll be able to take showers before going home.

Break room: Another amenity for the dancers is a lounge where they can eat lunch or put up their feet between rehearsals.

Sculpture: By Charlotte’s Paul Sires and Eden Sires.

Chandelier: “Daedalus” by the Audi Design Center in California, not unique to here.