The need for a dance facility was under discussion starting in 1966. With the introduction at CSULB of the first dance major in the (then) 18 campus California State University system, space concerns became critical. Serious planning began in 1980 when BFA and MFA degrees in dance were projected. The rapidly increasing size of the dance program, the high quality of the program, and the need for highly specialized facilities in order to offer an appropriate curriculum all were instrumental in promoting the new dance facility. The department took possession of the completed center in January, 1994.The architects were father and son Don and Kurt Gibbs of Hugh Gibbs and Donald Gibbs Architects, Long Beach.
Planning started with a lengthy (many hours) meeting where Department of Dance faculty compiled a list of everything we would ever want in a dance facility. We "blue skyed," knowing that we would be asked to prioritize at a later time. But we never did prioritize as everything we asked for was included in the Dance Center. The architects met with department faculty, frequently talked with the department chair, and also met a few times with a group of dance majors to discuss their ideas for the building. Among other requests, the students asked for a sundeck and for a courtyard area where dancers could gather. Both were provided.
The exceptionally functional design is the result of the close working relationship between architects and department. The architects take credit for the unusually shaped building which is a "festival of colors" with green, orange, red, and eggplant outer walls.
The Dance Center includes the Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater, seven studios, and an assortment of other spaces.
The theater and studios (and some of the other laboratories) are available for rental to off-campus groups at affordable rates. Residencies for New York based companies that wish a West Coast "second home" are in the planning stage. In the coming years the dance clinic will serve as a center for research on causes of dance injuries and the rehabilitation of injured dancers.
Dance Center Amenities
- Seven spacious smart dance studios: five with marley flooring, two with hard wood.
- One traditional smart classroom, one half smart classroom/half smart dance studio.
- Video production iMac computer lab
- Audio Recording Studio
- A robust Pilates Lab and classroom space
- Dance Clinic
- Student Only Lounge
- the Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater
- Green Room for performers