Central West Ballet opens its second studio, expands classes

mrowland@modbee.comNovember 22, 2013 

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    WHAT: The Nutcracker

    WHEN: Dec. 13-22, 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

    WHERE: Rogers Theater, Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto

    TICKETS: $19-$54

    CALL: (209)338-2100

    ONLINE: www.galloarts.org

With a new studio, new opportunities are on the horizon for Central West Ballet.

The professional dance company opened the Liz & Royal Robbins Studio last week in the same north Modesto complex as its existing offices and studio on Pentecost Drive. The new, larger space will allow for more classes as well as an expanded rehearsal schedule, said artistic director René Daveluy.

“This new studio is part of a greater vision for Central West Ballet and for the community,” Daveluy said. “Companies across the country are looking for ways to be more self-sufficient. Teaching is a way to help make a company function.”

New classes in dance will be added in the coming month, with tap starting in December and adult ballet classes planned for January.

The company moved out of its old home at the Juline School of Dance in 2010 to its current location off Kiernan Avenue. The expansion has been in the works for the past year and work on the space began in the summer. The addition of the second studio, a $65,000 project, gives dancers considerably more elbow – and leg – room. The new space is 3,404 square feet, nearly double their other studio’s 1,820 square feet.

The project got under way thanks to a $50,000 donation from Liz and Royal Robbins, who have been on the company’s board for the past decade. An additional $15,000 was invested to convert the space with flooring, mirrors, rails and more.

“They were the ones who really supported this new venture and acquiring the studio,” Daveluy said. “They backed us to be able to get in there, they spurred the initial thrust into making this happen.”

The other studio also has been renamed in honor of a benefactor, the late Dr. Charles Rolle, who was a longtime supporter of the company.

The company, which has about 20 dancers, also will be able to conduct more rehearsals with the new space. It’s something they’re already putting to good use in preparation for their production of the annual holiday classic “The Nutcracker,” which will run Dec. 13-22 at the Gallo Center for the Arts.

More than 100 children from dance schools across the region are taking part in the show. Some of the dancers previewed the piece at an open house for the new space last week.

“This is the one time of the year we get to dance along with all these children on the stage,” Daveluy said. “It’s a very popular tradition. And it’s really fun and it’s really nice to discover how much talent there is in the community and in all the dance schools. There’s talent everywhere. It really, truly is a special time of the year in that regard.”

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209)578-2284. Follow her on Twitter @marijkerowland.

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