Ballet BC moves into new home on Granville Island

Apr 20 2023, 4:52 am

One of the largest arts and cultural institutions in British Columbia is making a big leap in improving its learning and training facilities for dancers.

In late May 2023, Ballet BC will officially open its new home at Granville Island’s 1286 Cartwright Street — the former home of Arts Umbrella.

Renovations have been performed to the 18,400 sq ft building, now reconfigured into four light-filled dance studios, a health and wellness centre, and dedicated spaces for wardrobe, production, green room, and administration.

“Space is one of the most valuable assets for an arts organization,”said Medhi Walerski, artistic director of Ballet BC, in a statement. “Ballet BC’s new home opens up endless artistic possibilities for the company, and for dance in Vancouver.”

Kim Spencer-Nairn, the managing director of the contemporary ballet company, added: “We are deeply grateful for the support of everyone whose generosity allowed this dream to become reality. The vibrant community of Granville Island has given us a very warm welcome, and we are looking forward to many years of continued growth and success as part of one of Canada’s premier cultural hubs.”

A spokesperson for Ballet BC told Daily Hive Urbanized its lease with the Scotiabank Dance Centre at 677 Davie Street in downtown Vancouver — the organization’s previous home for over a decade — ended in December 2022. All of their administrative and artistic staff as well as dancers will be based at their Granville Island facility.

Arts Umbrella’s 2021 relocation into the south building of the former Granville Island campus of Emily Carr University of Art & Design provided Ballet BC with the opportunity to establish its own space for its own uses.

Prior to Ballet BC’s renovation of the building, the previous space used by Arts Umbrella was already outfitted with studios for dance, theatre, and art.

This building, located in the southeast quadrant of Granville Island, was originally constructed in the 1930s as a nail factory. Arts Umbrella moved into the building in 1983 during Granville Island’s post-industrial renaissance, and completed major renovations shortly after

The grand opening weekend of Ballet BC is scheduled for Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, 2023.  The public is invited to get a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s artists — including the rehearsal process and short performances — and participate in a variety of classes and workshops. The opening weekend events and programs are free to attend, but registration is required for select events.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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