Scotiabank Dance Centre: A Home for Dance
Scotiabank Dance Centre opened in September 2001 in the heart of downtown Vancouver, a stunning $11 million state-of-the-art project designed by Architectura in collaboration with the renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, and a major development in the history of dance in Canada. It is believed to have been unique in North America at the time: a purpose-built, shared use facility, which provides a diverse dance community with a home of its own. Initiated and operated by the not-for-profit resource organization The Dance Centre, this major addition to the Canadian arts infrastructure welcomes thousands of people who take classes, rehearse, and attend performances and events. It is also a catalyst for new dance developments, spearheaded by new research, outreach and performance programs developed by The Dance Centre.
In 1986, The Dance Centre originated a project to provide a creation centre for Vancouver's dance community, and secured Federal and Provincial government funds. The Dance Centre created The Dance Foundation in 1995, an independent not-for-profit society to fundraise for, construct and own the building now named after Scotiabank, which donated the site. Construction began in April 2000; on August 17, 2001, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson unveiled a plaque dedicating Scotiabank Dance Centre to the dance artists of Canada. On September 6, 2001 the building was officially opened by Bruce Birmingham, President of Scotiabank, at a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by hundreds of sponsors and donors. This was followed by Let's Dance!, a week-long festival in which thousands of spectators enjoyed performances, demonstrations, workshops, and spectacular aerial dances on the exterior.
The building has become a hub for dance activity, generating an estimated 60,000+ visits annually. The facility is also a popular venue with other art forms, however booking policies ensure that dance receives priority access and preferential rates. Each September, the building's anniversary is marked with public events at an Open House.
The 32,000 sq ft, seven storey, glass-enclosed building houses seven spacious studios, all with specially designed sprung floors and air conditioning, and all (except for the black-box Faris Family Studio) equipped with mirrors and barres, and flooded with natural light.
• The Mirna Zagar Studio (previously Studio 7), the facility's newest studio located on the seventh floor, opened in 2011 and measures 21 x 30 ft, with a sprung wooden floor and mirrors. The studio was dedicated to The Dance Centre's long-serving Executive Director by a generous donor in spring 2015.
• The Judith R Marcuse Studio, named after one of Vancouver's most eminent dance creators, is 25 x 32 ft and has a wooden floor suitable for tap and flamenco. Situated on the top floor, it opens out onto a rooftop patio.
• The Stephen A Jarislowsky Studio (named after the financier, journalist and philanthropist) and the Sharon Jandali Studio (dedicated to the memory of the late wife of Tarek Jandali, President of Seaside Paper Products), 35 x 40 ft each.
• The Bruce R Birmingham Studio (dedicated to Scotiabank's President) and the Earl Kraul & Grant Strate Studio (named in memory of the late Earl Kraul and Grant Strate, founding members of the National Ballet of Canada, and renowned teachers and advocates): 39 x 47 ft each.
• The Faris Family Studio is a 46 x 64 ft fully equipped studio theatre with retractable seating for 154, which also doubles a film/video production facility. The Faris family has been a strong supporter of the arts, and in particular of the facility, for many years.
• The building also has changing rooms with showers, a laundry, a dancers' lounge with kitchen facilities, and a physiotheraply clinic. Its administrative offices house The Dance Centre including its video library and editing suite;Vancouver Ballet Society, with its library and archives, and Dance International magazine; and several other dance companies and organizations.
Scotiabank Dance Centre provides more than a safe, well-equipped working environment for artists to create, perform and record their work on film. Now British Columbia's multifaceted dance community can focus its energies around a home of its own, building relationships with neighbouring communities and bringing a new visibility and profile to the artform in the city. Mirna Zagar, Executive Director of The Dance Centre states that: "The facility is bringing the dance community closer together, enhancing collaboration between dance artists and contributing to building bridges between cultures and art forms. This synergy helps to open windows of opportunity to an art form whose infrastructure has been neglected for far too long. With the opening of Scotiabank Dance Centre, Vancouver joined the cities of the world where dance has positioned itself as an equal partner in the cultural and economic environments."
- 30 -
Media contact: Heather Bray, Marketing Manager T: 604 606 6412 F: 604 606 6401 firstname.lastname@example.org .
The operations of The Dance Centre are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver through the Office of Cultural Affairs. Programs are also supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Official hotel sponsor: the Holiday Inn Vancouver Downtown Hotel & Suites.
Media sponsors: OMNI Diversity Television, Vancouver Courier (Discover Dance!), The Georgia Straight (Global Dance Connections)
The Dance Centre
Scotiabank Dance Centre, Level 6, 677 Davie Street, Vancouver BC V6B 2G6 Tel 604 606 6400 www.thedancecentre.ca