Houston Ballet Dances into Downtown Studios

The Houston Ballet officially opens its new dance center and expanded studios tomorrow. The Center for Dance is the largest professional dance company facility in the nation. Laurie Johnson reports.

The Center for Dance is a $47 million, six-story building with soaring studios. The Center for Dance new location mapIt sits at the corner of Smith and Preston, with views overlooking downtown on one side and Buffalo Bayou on the other. Houston Ballet Managing Director C.C. Conner says in the company’s 40 year history, this is the first time they’ve had a facility built specifically for their needs.

“One of the things that we have done is we have floor to ceiling windows in the studios that are on the upper floors. So when you’re driving into town, you can see art happening — you can watch the dancers dancing.”

Conner says the company was bursting at the seams in its old facility on West Gray with six small studios. The new center has nine studios that are twice the size of the old ones. There’s also a dance lab that seats 200 people for performances.

“The building is ending up costing about just under $47 million. So we have raised $42 million of that money, so we are very close to our goal on the building. And we started this project before the recession hit, but at the same time we’ve come in under budget and ahead of schedule.”

The Center for Dance will be open to the public tomorrow with a ribbon cutting, tours and a free ballet performance.

All images are from the Houston Ballet Website.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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