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Dance to step into new home



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David L. Henle helps break ground for the new Henle Dance Pavilion, with an assist from President Stephen C. Ainlay;  William Finlay, professor of Theater and Dance; Dance Director Miryam Moutillet; and Mark Walsh, chair of the Board of Trustees.
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Union’s active dance program takes a great leap forward with the construction of the Henle Dance Pavilion, a home for classes, rehearsals, workshops, performances and other events.

Groundbreaking for the $3 million, 7,000-square-foot facility, to be built adjacent to Yulman Theater overlooking Jackson’s Garden, took place Saturday during ReUnion Weekend.

The Pavilion will replace the current 1,200-square foot studio in Visual Arts with a 2,200-square-foot dance studio and 1,000-square-foot lobby that will double as rehearsal space. Both new spaces will  have 20-foot ceilings that will safely permit lifts and aerials.

The pavilion also will include a costume shop, faculty offices, meeting rooms, gallery and storage space.

The project is scheduled to be completed next spring.

“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 President Stephen C. Ainlay.

The new building will revitalize a currently underused courtyard and create an “arts town square” that also includes the Visual Arts  Building, the Taylor Music Center and  Yulman Theater.

“It is in these settings that students, faculty and visitors representing all artistic disciplines intermingle, imagine, create and collaborate. The possibilities for artistic expression are limitless,” Ainlay said.

The lead gift for the dance pavilion comes from longtime College benefactor David L. Henle ’75 and his wife, Joan. Henle, the head of DLH Capital, a family investment firm, has been a Union Trustee since 2004.

“The arts are a critical part of a liberal arts education,” said Henle. “I am thrilled to be a part of the momentum of the school at this time.”

The dance pavilion also is supported by the Yulman family in honor of Morton, Class of 1936, and Helen Yulman, for whom the Yulman Theater is named. 

In addition, Professor Carl George made a gift in honor of his late wife, Gail, naming one of the faculty offices overlooking the garden. A number of other naming opportunities are available.

Under the direction of Miryam Moutillet, Union’s dance program enrolls nearly 150 students each term, many of whom combine a dance minor with majors in all fields. There are multilevel technique classes in everything from ballet to Broadway dance, as well as classes in choreography, performance and dance history.

Throughout the year, the dance program also schedules workshops, master classes and dance residencies taught by major dance companies and artists.

“A dance pavilion at Union is a dream come true,” said Moutillet. “It will be a space where students can learn, explore and create; a place to develop discipline and pursue a passion.”