Cincinnati Ballet to Celebrate the Opening of the New Center for Dance in Walnut Hills

CB_Ground levelRibbon Cutting Ceremony, Formal Gala, Academy Open House, and Community Block Party among events September 13-19

Cincinnati, OH (September 7, 2021) – Cincinnati Ballet is pleased to announce Grand Opening festivities for the new Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance in Walnut Hills. A slate of both public and private events sponsored by PNC will commemorate this historic occasion for the organization and the region. “This is truly a moment in time that’s been decades in the making,” said Scott Altman, Cincinnati Ballet President and CEO. “We are honored by the tremendous support of our donors, patrons, and the community in helping this spectacular building become a reality.”

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley will join community leaders and distinguished guests for the Ribbon Cutting and Dedication Ceremony on Wednesday, September 15 from 10:30 am to noon at the Center’s main entrance. Guests will be treated to a one-of-a-kind celebration as ballerinas and dancers to officially open the building with a special, ‘cool spark’ fireworks display. On Friday, September 17 from 4 to 8 pm, the public is invited to a free Community Block Party to celebrate Cincinnati Ballet’s new neighborhood of Walnut Hills. The family-friendly, outdoor event will include free dance performances, tours, food trucks, crafts for the kids provided by Cincinnati Art Museum, and live music from Cincinnati Music Accelerator, all on the Center’s beautiful Community Terrace and Performance Plaza. On Sunday, September 19 from noon to 5 pm, the public can sample a class during the Academy Open House. The free, family-friendly event will offer dance lovers of all ages an opportunity to explore all the Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy has to offer. In addition to sample classes, guests will enjoy pop-up performances, food, live music, crafts, and more. “We have been dreaming of this moment for so long,” said Victoria Morgan, who is in her 25th and final season as Cincinnati Ballet Artistic Director. “We can’t wait to welcome the community to our new, amazing home and have everyone experience firsthand the beauty and power of dance.” (SEE BELOW FOR COMPLETE LIST OF EVENTS)

The Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance features nine studios in 57-thousand square-feet of space, as well as an outdoor Community Terrace and Performance Plaza adjacent to Johnston Park, a Rooftop Terrace, and stunning views of Downtown Cincinnati from the premier studio. The expansive space is also home to the Ballet’s expanded education and community engagement programming. For the first time in Cincinnati Ballet history, the organization owns its own building at 1801 Gilbert Avenue. Located at the foot of Eden Park, the new Center for Dance also anchors the Walnut Hills Arts Corridor. Cincinnati Ballet will continue to perform its mainstage productions at Cincinnati Music Hall and the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

The organization began construction on the facility in March of 2020 and successfully completed and exceeded its $30.8 million dollar capital campaign to fund the state-of-the-art facility in Walnut Hills. Longtime Cincinnati Ballet patrons and supporters Margaret and Michael Valentine were the first to support the project, committing $10 million dollars, the largest one-time gift in Cincinnati Ballet history, to name and memorialize the Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance. On Monday, September 13, a portrait of the Valentines by artist Carl J. Samson will be unveiled in the lobby, where it will permanently be installed. “We are honored to be a part of this historic project,” Margaret Valentine said. “Cincinnati is fortunate to have such a thriving arts sector, and I think it’s important for members of our community to give back. I understand the importance of demonstrating leadership for projects that benefit the city and the new Valentine Center for Dance will provide many cultural and educational opportunities to the region.” Cincinnati Ballet is also grateful for a $3 million gift from Rhonda Sheakley and her husband Larry A. Sheakley. As a permanent commemoration of the Sheakley family’s generosity, the largest Company studio was named the Rhonda and Larry A. Sheakley Premier Studio. That gift was followed by significant gifts from Otto M. Budig, Sue and Bill Friedlander, Lynn and Brian Good, and Marty and Nick Ragland. Move With Us. A Campaign for Cincinnati Ballet’s New Home was co-chaired by Rhonda Sheakley and fellow Emeritus Trustee Larry Kellar.

“The new building is already a stunning and iconic landmark,” said Morgan. “With large windows in every studio, light pours into every space.” Morgan said dancers are already rehearsing in the Center’s studios for the first production of the 2021-2022 Season, Kaplan New Works in the Park. “This incredible space is truly inspirational for our dancers.” The highly visible, iconic building was designed by GBBN Architects and built by Messer Construction. The new facility will also support expanded dance classes in the Otto M. Budig Academy, and a deeper commitment to community offerings such as CB Moves, created in partnership with Cincinnati Children’s. New CB Moves offerings will also provide the opportunity for students who traditionally use mobility devices to participate in a supportive environment employing an innovative, double track harness system or utilizing their devices. Cincinnati Ballet is the first ballet company in the country to install this specialized track system that will allow students with unique abilities to partner, stand at the barre, and move across the floor.

Grand Opening Events
Valentine Portrait Unveiling (INVITATION ONLY, CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC)

  • Monday, September 13
  • 5 – 6 pm
  • Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance
  • 1801 Gilbert Avenue – Center for Dance Main Entrance

Ribbon Cutting and Dedication Ceremony (MEDIA WELCOME, CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC)

  • Wednesday, September 15
  • 10 am to noon
  • Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance
  • 1801 Gilbert Avenue – Center for Dance Main Entrance
  • Follow signs for media parking and staging

Walnut Hills Community Block Party (MEDIA AND COMMUNITY WELCOME)

  • Friday, September 17
  • 4 to 8 pm
  • Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance
  • 1801 Gilbert Avenue – Community Terrace and Performance Plaza
  • Follow signs for parking

Formal Gala, Seated Dinner, and Promenade (INVITATION ONLY, CLOSED TO THE MEDIA)

  • Saturday, September 18
  • 5 to 11 pm
  • Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance
  • 1801 Gilbert Avenue

Otto M. Budig Academy Open House (MEDIA AND COMMUNITY WELCOME)

  • Sunday, September 19
  • Noon to 5 pm
  • Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance
  • 1801 Gilbert Avenue
  • Follow signs for parking

*Masks will be required for all indoor events, regardless of Covid-19 vaccination status. Please check for the most up-to-date health and safety protocols.

About Cincinnati Ballet
Since 1963, Cincinnati Ballet has been the cornerstone professional ballet company of the region, presenting a bold and adventurous array of classical, full-length ballets and contemporary works, regularly with live orchestral accompaniment. Under the artistic direction of Victoria Morgan, Cincinnati Ballet has become a creative force within the larger dance community, commissioning world premiere works and exploring unique collaborations. With a mission to enrich, expand, and excel in the art of dance through performance, a high-caliber academy, and impactful education and community engagement in local to global communities, Cincinnati Ballet reaches beyond the stage in programs that allow every person in the region to be part of the continued evolution of dance. To that end, Cincinnati Ballet presents exhilarating performances, provides extensive education and community engagement programs, and offers top-level professional ballet training at Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy.

Cincinnati Ballet 2021-2022 Season Sponsors:

Victoria Morgan’s 25th Anniversary Season presented by PNC

Rhonda & Larry A. Sheakley, Margaret and Michael Valentine, ArtsWave, Mercy Health, Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, Ohio Arts Council, The Austin E. Knowlton Foundation


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