Largest ever gift lifts Ballet into its future home

A rendering of the exterior of the Cincinnati Ballet’s Margaret and Michael Valentine
Center for Dance, set to open in summer 2021 in Walnut Hills

Cincinnati Ballet unveiled design plans for the Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance, scheduled to open in summer 2021. The new center will be built on vacant land purchased by Cincinnati Ballet at 1801 Gilbert Ave., just south of the Baldwin Apartments, near the entrance to Eden Park.

Cincinnati Ballet is engaged in a building capital campaign to fund the $30 million project. In naming the center, longtime patrons and supporters Margaret and Michael Valentine have made the largest one-time gift in Cincinnati Ballet history.

The new complex “will dramatically expand Cincinnati Ballet’s mission to enrich, expand, and excel in the art of dance through performance, a high-caliber academy, and impactful education and community engagement programs,” said Scott Altman, president and CEO.

“Quite simply, the organization has outgrown its current space. The new ballet center will be an integral arts destination for the community and the region.”

An aerial view of Cincinnati Ballet’s new building at 1801 Gilbert Ave.

The new center will provide ample space for the company, as well as the academy and specialized programming. The 57,000-square-foot building will house eight studios. Cincinnati Ballet’s current 36,000-square-foot building, which houses four studios, was built in 1994 and expanded in 2005.  

Designed by world-renowned architecture firm GBBN, the Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance features a sleek, innovative exterior boasting panoramic views of downtown Cincinnati from its two largest studios. Messer Construction Co. will serve as construction manager. The new ballet center will be developed in partnership with Neyer Properties.

“This is a huge step forward for Cincinnati Ballet,” said Victoria Morgan, longtime artistic director. “The Valentines’ generous gift is so significant and meaningful to the organization. They have a deep commitment to elevating the artistry of dance and its impact on Cincinnati and the region. This generous gift will take our world-class company to even greater heights.” 

The interior of the planned Rhonda and Larry A. Sheakley Premier Studio,
with its view of Downtown Cincinnati

Cincinnati Ballet also received a significant gift to the project from Rhonda Sheakley and her husband Larry A. Sheakley. The largest Company studio will be named the Rhonda and Larry A. Sheakley Premier Studio. With iconic views of downtown Cincinnati, the impressive, 3,650-square-foot studio will offer ample space for main Company rehearsals and seating for up to 125 guests to view presentations.

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