Ballet Memphis had outgrown its space and wished to move from a suburban location to a performing-arts district undergoing revitalization in Memphis. The Company strives to perform an inclusive message about culture and arts and to uplift the community through transparency, connectivity, and education.
The new, civic-oriented facility is an extension of the Company’s mission. With large windows and public courtyards, the building contributes to the already thriving urban district. It houses rehearsal space for the professional company, a dance school for over 200 children, and community dance and pilates classes. The largest rehearsal studio also doubles as a performance venue.
The exterior form, composed of layers of glass, perforated copper, and volumes of contrasting metal evokes the character of a music box. Gauzy screens and courtyards that penetrate the building mass both mask and reveal the activity of dancers within. Warm and neutral materials alongside cool colors are also used to frame and display activity and the dancers.
Dance and architecture share a focus on movement, space, and time. Celebrating these disciplines through this civic project enhances the growing entertainment district and the adjacent residential neighborhoods.
"This is a wonderful, contemporary interpretation of the role arts can play in our communities. A simple gem of a civic-oriented facility that engages the public and invites them to dance."
AIA National Education Facility Design Awards Jury, Ballet Memphis