STEVIE ELLER DANCE THEATER
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA 2000-2003
Built for the College of Fine Arts . School of Music
and Dance at the University of Arizona , the Stevie
Eller Dance Theater includes a 300 seat theater,
dance studio and facilities for an outdoor stage,
scene shop and costume shop.
Proud of the collaborative process that allowed workers to contribute to the project in the construction phase, Gould Evans calls this (a built work of art that works) the building was initially conceived out of a father and daughter’s quest to find a distinguished college dance program. During their search, they found the University of Arizona had the BEST dance program with the WORST facility. The father went to the University President, Peter Likins, and Dean of Fine Arts, Maurice Sevigny, with an offer of a large monetary gift, but stipulating that the University and the College of Fine Arts each match his gift. Three years later, this building was born and the man’s daughter will dance Balanchine’s (Serenade) with her graduating class in the spring. The design process clearly included reference to (Serenade). As the architects say, (for the design of the Stevie Elle Dance Theater, we learned about movement, about graphically representing dance through notation formally called labanotation. We immersed ourselves in the IDEA of movement. The faculty taught us about dance, and we taught them about structure and together we created dancing columns. We asked the client to tell us about Serenade, Balanchine’s first ballet written for the students of the American Ballet . We contacted the Dance Notation Bureau and the Balanchine Foundation in New York and we acquired the labanotation and score for (Serenade). We overlaid the plans of the starting positions for each movement of Serenade and created a matrix from which emerged the grid of tilted columns that support the glass encased dance studio on the second floor of the building.