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Finally, Shubert to break ground

At long last, the seemingly impossible has been achieved. The Minnesota Shubert Center will break ground Thursday after a decade of making the case for a place dedicated to Minnesota’s thriving, diverse dance scene. The dedication will take  place at 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot between Hennepin Center for the Arts and the old Shubert theater, which will be renovated into the new dance center.

Just this week I was speaking with a dance-company artistic director, who couldn’t wait for the Shubert to be open (which is scheduled for 2011). The current stages on which her company performs, she said, are really just too small for full-company performances of big, bold modern dance.

The Shubert’s stage will be “specifically designed for dance,” according to the press materials, while the 500-seat theater will challenge dance companies to build their audiences. (Current Minneapolis theaters in which dance companies perform range from about 200 to 250 seats.)

The new theater will be linked with the Hennepin Center, which currently houses dance studios, two schools (Zenon Dance School and Minnesota Dance Theater’s Dance Institute), offices and the Shubert’s exemplary, award-winning Internet-based dance education program.

Miller Dunwiddie is the architecture firm working on the restoration, renovation and adaptive reuse of the building. For more info on the design, go here.

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