Ucross will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Lauren Anderson Dance Studio and Koehler Performing Arts Center on Saturday, December 17, at 11 a.m. with the Sheridan County Chamber Ambassadors. Free and open to the public, the festivities will include a dedication, a brief performance, remarks, and refreshments.
Ucross is known for its outstanding studios for writers, visual and interdisciplinary artists, and composers. The addition of a state-of-the-art dance studio and multi-purpose performance space will further set the residency program apart and attract more world-class dancers, choreographers, and multi-disciplinary groups to Ucross, Wyoming, as well as provide an additional space for public events.
The new building, which connects to the Ucross Art Gallery through a glass vestibule, is designed to reflect the iconic profile of the Big Red Barn, but it offers several unique features. In addition to the vestibule, a set of large accordion-style glass doors open onto a concrete patio, allowing artists to cross between the studio and the open air. The patio, which provides a stunning view of the Bighorn Mountains to the west, also doubles as an outdoor viewing area for public performances.
In attendance will be honored guest Lauren Anderson of Houston, Texas, for whom the studio is named. Anderson danced with Houston Ballet from 1983 to 2006, performing leading roles in all of the great classical ballets, appearing across the world to large audiences and widespread critical acclaim, and in the process, becoming one of Houston Ballet’s most beloved stars. She was one of the first African-American ballerinas to become a principal dancer at a major ballet company anywhere in the world. Since 2007, Anderson has been the associate director of the Houston Ballet’s Education and Community Engagement program, for which she conducts master classes at area schools and lectures to students on dance and her historic career as one of America’s most distinguished African-American ballerinas.
Deborah and Ed Koehler, for whom the performing arts center is named, will also join the festivities. Deborah Koehler, as Executive Director of the Raymond Plank Philanthropy Fund, provided a generous $1.175 million leadership gift to the organization as part of the ongoing Ucross 40th Anniversary Campaign to support the construction of the new building. Koehler is a former trustee of the Ucross Foundation.
Aubrey A. Mailloux of Casper, Wyoming, will give the first performance in the new dance studio. Aubrey grew up dancing in her hometown of Casper before moving to New York to attend SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. She has received training from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Austin, Butler Ballet, and Snowy Range Summer Dance Festival.
Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public. The dance studio is located at 30 Big Red Lane, a half-mile east of Highways 14 and 16 East, with entry through the Ucross Art Gallery.
The Ucross Community Christmas Celebration will be held in the Raymond Plank Center later that day, at 4 p.m. Details are here.