GREENSBORO − The new Van Dyke Performance Space in Greensboro Cultural Center was unveiled during a ceremony Monday.

A collaborative partnership of ArtsGreensboro and the City of Greensboro, the new space was made possible by a $1 million gift from renowned choreographer and Dance Project artistic director Jan Van Dyke.

Though she has been battling incurable peritoneal cancer and the debilitating effects of chemotherapy for the past 2 1/2 years, Van Dyke was able to attend the ceremony and her excitement at seeing her dream come to fruition was evident.

“I feel lucky to have the desire, the vision and the means to help make this happen,” Van Dyke said.

Van Dyke’s donation was from money she inherited when her father died a few years ago.

“We are so thrilled by Jan’s generosity and so lucky that she landed in Greensboro,” Mayor Nancy Vaughan said.

Expected to open in spring 2016, the new performance space will include movable seating for 200 to 400 patrons and will include an adaptable stage to accommodate dance, music, theater and other events. An existing rehearsal room at the cultural center room will be expanded, creating a 7,500-square-foot space. The Van Dyke Performance Space will provide a venue to present dance and other performances to smaller audiences.

“It will have great site lines for dance,” said Florence Gatten, chairwoman of Arts Greensboro’s board of directors.

Van Dyke came to Greensboro from New York in 1986 as a UNCG doctoral student. She taught dance at UNC-Greensboro for 23 years, five as department chair. She leads the nonprofit Dance Project, which runs the N.C. Dance Festival, Van Dyke Dance Group and the Dance Project at City Arts.

Denny Kelly, a member of the board of Arts Greensboro, is excited about the new performance center and what it will mean to Greensboro.

“There are so many performing artists in our community that don’t have the chance to perform for the rest of us,” Kelly said. “For an arts lover, this is a game-changer.”

Chris Wilson, assistant city manager, spoke directly to Van Dyke at the ceremony, thanking for her gift and service to the community.

“When I first met you face to face, it became so evident how much you care,” he said. “You care about us, the arts and this community.

Wilson, too, is excited about what the new space will mean to Greensboro.

“The arts is part of the fabric of Greensboro,” Wilson said. “This building (Greensboro Cultural Center) has a long history of supporting the arts, so now let’s let this new building begin another level of support.”

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