Mayor Jacobs, Orlando ballet leaders and ballerinas at a groundbreaking ceremony holding shovels

Orange County Welcomes New Era in Arts and Culture with the Groundbreaking of Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre

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Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs joined community leaders and the Orlando Ballet on Oct. 18, 2018 for the groundbreaking ceremony of Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre. The new building adds another world-class venue to the region’s growing list of theaters and performing arts centers.

The new, state-of-the-art facility, named after the late Central Florida philanthropist Harriett Lake, will be located in Loch Haven Park, which covers 45 acres and serves as the region’s premier cultural park. Nestled between three lakes, Lake Estelle on the north, Lake Rowena on the east and Lake Formosa on the south, Loch Haven Park is located on North Mills Avenue and Princeton Street. Loch Haven Park is home to Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando Science Center, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Fire Museum and the Mennello Museum of American Art.

Mayor Jacobs’ remarks emphasized the importance of the arts in Orange County.

“For generations to come, this new place of learning, exploration and creativity will launch all kinds of ballet and dance enthusiasts,” Mayor Jacobs said. “As we break ground, we celebrate Orange County, Orlando and Central Florida as the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

As one of the region’s most generous philanthropists, Lake contributed a total of $7.5 million to the development and construction of the new $12 million ballet center that will soon carry her namesake. This facility will not replace Orlando Ballet’s use of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (DPC).

In May 2018, the Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs Cultural Facilities Funding Program provided a $500,000 grant to the ballet. In September, Orange County’s Tourist Development Tax Grant Application Review Committee voted to recommend a $4 million capital appeal by the Orlando Ballet for consideration by the Orange County Tourist Development Council (TDC). After receiving TDC approval, the topic is scheduled for the Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting on Oct. 30, 2018.

“Harriett spent her life working hard to make big dreams a reality. Today, we are here to memorialize and commemorate Harriett Lake’s labor and legacy of love,” Mayor Jacobs added.

The Orlando Ballet currently rehearses in the Loch Haven Neighborhood Center through a generous $1 per year, 99-year lease agreement with the City of Orlando.

The 38,000-square-foot “built-for-purpose” facility will house a Great Hall multipurpose auditorium, rehearsal space, administrative offices, as well as dance studios for the Orlando Ballet School. The anticipated opening of Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre is set for fall 2019.

The Orlando Ballet began in 1974 as The Performing Arts Company of Florida and was started with twelve young, non-paid dancers and only $4,000. In 1978, the Company changed its name to Southern Ballet Theatre and began performing at the Bob Carr Theater.

The company now performs at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Since 2009, the Company has been under the creative expertise of Artistic Director, Robert Hill. Hill is a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theater, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden and the New York City Ballet. Today, Orlando Ballet is Central Florida’s only fully residential professional ballet company. More than 100,000 captivated theatergoers, residents and visitors, are spellbound by the originality, vitality and spirit that have earned the organization its critically acclaimed reputation.

Photo Caption: Mayor Teresa Jacobs joined community leaders and the Orlando Ballet on Oct. 18, 2018 for the groundbreaking ceremony for Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre in Loch Haven Park.

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