The Union College campus will be home to its own “arts town square” next spring, with the groundbreaking of a $3 million new dance pavilion on Saturday.
The Henle Dance Pavilion will provide space for classes, rehearsals, workshops, performances and other events, offering students in Union’s dance program a high-ceiling facility to master techniques in everything from ballet to Broadway.
The pavilion was announced during the college’s ReUnion Weekend, with its name coming from the lead donors on the project, longtime college benefactors David and Joan Henle.
“The arts are a critical part of a liberal arts education,” said David Henle in a news release issued Saturday. “I am thrilled to be a part of the momentum of the school at this time.”
The facility is replacing the current 1,200-square foot studio in the Visual Arts Building. It will include a 2,200-square-foot dance studio and a 1,000-square-foot lobby that can double as rehearsal space. Both will have 20-foot ceilings to safely permit lifts and aerials.
Since it’s being built next to the Yulman Theater, which overlooks Jackson’s Garden, the new building will complete the “arts town square” effect that also includes the Visual Arts Building and the Taylor Music Center.
“The Dance Pavilion not only will provide an appropriate home for our thriving dance program, but also will complete our vision for the campus’s vibrant arts complex,” said Union President Stephen C. Ainlay.
“It is in these settings that students, faculty and visitors representing all artistic disciplines intermingle, imagine, create and collaborate,” he added. “The possibilities for artistic expression are limitless.”
Other benefactors to the project include the Yulman family, in honor of Morton Yulman ’36 and Helen Yulman, and biology professor Carl George, who made a gift in honor of his late wife Gail, naming one of the faculty offices that will overlook the garden.
There will be other naming opportunities within the facility, including the dance studio, an expanded costume shop, meeting room, faculty offices and Gallery of Dance.
About 150 students enroll in Union’s dance program each term, taking dance classes as well as classes in choreography, performance and dance history. A group of these students turned out to Saturday’s ground breaking ceremony, looking on as 1975 grad David Henle addressed the crowd.
The program’s director Miryam Moutillet called the new pavilion a dream come true.
“It will be a space where students can learn, explore and create. A place to develop discipline and pursue a passion,” he said.