Early in the morning before the swelter begins, a new “show” has people on Campus Drive stopping in their tracks: The American Dance Festival is offering dance classes in the Rubenstein Arts Center’s multipurpose rooms, which can be seen through the Ruby’s outer glass walls.
“The Ruby” has been a hit with ADF instructors and dancers. It features studio floors specifically designed for dance, and its use has taken some pressure off of The Ark, the long-standing East Campus dance studio that hosted many ADF classes in the past.
“I am so enjoying teaching in the new "Ruby" studios!” said Gerri Houlihan, a dance professor emerita from Florida State University. “After 34 summers of teaching at ADF, many of those in the Ark, I am thrilled to be on a sprung floor with so much space and light and air-conditioning.
“I have loved teaching in the Ark,” Houlihan added. “It holds a history and legacy of amazing teachers and dancers that one senses immediately. My own teacher from Juilliard, Betty Jones of the Jose Limon Dance Company, was teaching in the Ark when I first came to ADF in 1981. But the studio where I'm teaching now in the new arts center has quickly become my favorite place to share my work as an artist and educator.”
Charles Anderson, who teaches African dance in The Ruby, said he’s still learning how to use the lighting system to brighten the studio on cloudy days. But he’s so impressed with the space that he’s taken photos to show his colleagues back at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a dance professor.
“It is a blessing to dance in such a lovely space,” Anderson said.
ADF classes continue on campus until July 21.
Video by Julie Schoonmaker and photos by Megan Mendenhall of University Communications