A multi-year effort to convert part of a previously dormant powerhouse into a campus dance facility reached fruition on April 22 with the dedication of CCSU’s Catherine J. Fellows Dance Education Center. A reception and ribbon-cutting followed the dance department’s spring concert at Welte Auditorium.
The nearly 3,000-square-foot space has been undergoing phased upgrades for about a year with dance students using the space for much of that time. Fellows saw the potential of the building directly across from Welte Audtorium and initiated the quest to reinvent it. In addition to new studio space, it has a production office, costume storage, changing areas, and an outdoor courtyard equipped with limited seating for outdoor performances.
That the center is situated at the heart of campus is auspicious, Fellows noted.
“Dance is power, dance is love, dance is healing,” she said. “CCSU dance majors, dance classes, and other students now have a beautiful home in which to study their craft and rehearse. We are right where we need to be to enrich our thriving campus and community. I am very grateful to all who made this happen and filled with joy for the future of dance in education.”
To convert the space, old pipe fittings had to be removed, walls cleaned, and a new concrete floor poured. Other upgrades included a new dance floor, lighting, heating, cooling, and an ADA-compliant bathroom.
At the dance performance, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Christopher Galligan praised Fellows for her unending dedication, commitment, and vision. Galligan also presented three dance scholarships for the 2018-19 academic year, including the newly created Catherine J. Fellows Scholarship, which went to Olivia Carlson. Other recipients were Kristen Cullen and Mackenzie Barnes, who won the Estelle Jones Triarhos Scholarship and Demetra D. Perrelli Scholarship, respectively.
This year’s spring concert, titled “Soul Shine,” was in part a tribute to members of The Allman Brothers Band and their music. Jaimoe Johnson, one of two surviving members of the band and Fellows’ husband, performed at the dedication and reception with his own band.
View a photo gallery from the event here.