When you pass PBT Studios in the Strip District this fall, look up. You might spot a ballet dancer or two. You might even get a peek at PBT’s next production. Better yet, you might decide to venture inside to try a ballet class of your own.
Beyond letting in natural light, and offering a sweeping view of PBT’s Strip District neighborhood, PBT wants the dance to be more visible from the street. And the company wants community members to know about the resources available to them inside.
For the past several years, PBT has been bursting at the seams with ballet dancers – approximately 30 pros and over 1,000 PBT School students to be exact. Between our dancers, costume shop and administrative team, space has been at a premium.
But space is the medium for our form of expression. So, thanks to the team effort of a group of incredibly generous advocates, the Byham Center for Dance will become a reality this September.
Featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Liberty Avenue, the 14,000-square-foot annex adjoins our original five-studio facility at 2900 Liberty Avenue, adding two spacious dance studios, an expanded Pilates and Gyrotonic studio, new community dressing rooms and cross-training space.
From pre-ballet for children to new Pilates, dance cardio and conditioning classes for community members, PBT will be widening its class offerings starting this fall. Classes will be built around core strength, coordination and alignment – essential building blocks for dance and other athletics.
As part of that goal, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will celebrate the Grand Opening of the Byham Center for Dance with a free community day from 12-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25. The open house event invites Pittsburghers to step behind the scenes of their ballet company and take advantage of the growing class offerings inside.
Full of ways to get moving, the free Grand Opening Celebration will feature sample ballet and conditioning classes for all ages, performance demos, photo opportunities, food vendors, music and children’s activities as well as opportunities to sit in on company rehearsals, tour the costume shop, meet the artists, learn conditioning tips and get a closer look at tutus, pointe shoes and other tools of the trade.
Before we officially inaugurate the new space, read on for a virtual “hard hat tour”:
Welcome to the construction zone, where the talented Jendoco Construction team has made incredible headway since October 2015.
Now, let’s head inside and upstairs. The annex connects to our original studio headquarters to the left of the staircase, which will feature glass panels when complete.
Here, our new Pilates and Gryotonic studio is getting a fresh coat of paint.
And, the new community dressing rooms are getting similar treatment.
Now, let’s head into a studio with a view…the space where we expect our company dancers will be spending much of their time starting in September! Downstairs, the second studio boasts similar spaciousness with dimensions ideal for rehearsing ballets.
Stick with us as we bask in the view of our neighborhood a bit longer…
We need to appreciate all angles…
We’ll part with a front view of the annex, so you can see where it will connect with our orginial studio headquarters.
Finally, here’s a preview of our new and improved streetscape!
Save the date for your first visit: Sunday, Sept. 25, from 12-4 p.m. Enjoy free fun, sample classes and more at our Grand Opening Celebration. See you there!
If you believe ballet makes our community a more vibrant place, please consider supporting this turning point for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre!
Photos by: Kelly Perkovich