Stevie Eller Dance Theatre
A variety of collaborations inspired
the design and construction of this Dance Theatre
© Tim Hursley
For more photos click on 'photos
& drawings' above.
To see the people and products
behind this project click on 'people & products.'
In an effort to express movement within
the architecture of the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, the architects
chose the three-dimensional mobius strip as the form-generating
device for the inside and outside of the building. The exteriors
woven wire mesh fabric rolls across the facade and becomes
the ceiling plane that moves to become the volumetric form
of the 300-seat house. The outside surface becomes the inside
volume and is read as one continuous form.
To learn about dance, the architects
immersed themselves in the idea of movement. They acquired
the "labanotation" (the notation for graphically
representing dance) and score for a piece called Serenade,
George Ballanchines first ballet written for the students
of the American Ballet. The architects then 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 buildings second floor. The columns are not completely
vertical, they are what the architects call "dancing
The dance studio is a glass box that
makes the students visible to the outside both day and night.
An exterior wall of the women's dressing room is punched with
two frosted glass garage doors that open when the dressing
rooms are utilized as a classroom.
During the project, builder and architect
collaborated on ideas. The form-generating concepts of the
building inspired the steel workers to study the architects
diagrams and create beautiful, wire-framed drawings. The steel-workers
became part of the creative process and the result is a "built
work of art that works."
Stevie Eller Dance Theatre at the University of Arizona
28,600 sq. ft.
University of Arizona College of Fine Arts,
School of Music and Dance
3136 North Third Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85013