Joyce Theater expands to the East Village

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Joyce Theater expands to the East Village
The Joyce will use the building, formerly home to the Boys’ Club of New York, for its own rehearsals and to rent space to other companies. The longtime dance presenter has signed a yearlong lease on rehearsal and studio space that it hopes to purchase. (Quinn B Wharton via The New York Times)

by Robin Pogrebin

NEW YORK, NY.- The Joyce Theater Foundation is planning to expand into the East Village with rehearsal and studio space that can also be used for small performances, the organization announced Wednesday.

The Joyce, which since 1982 has presented dance companies from all over the world at its home in Chelsea, has signed a yearlong lease on a multilevel building on East 10th Street that it hopes to purchase and operate permanently.

The sale is contingent upon the Joyce being able to raise the $21 million needed to secure funding for the first phase of the renovation. A renovation is projected to cost from $50 million to $55 million and to take about three years to complete. The architecture firm H3 has drawn preliminary designs.

“Choreographers need to be supported at this level,” said Linda Shelton, the Joyce’s executive director, adding that it would be the first time the Joyce had rehearsal space in a building of its own in almost six years.

Laurie Cumbo, the city’s commissioner of cultural affairs, expressed her support for the plan. “Ambitious projects like these will ensure that our creative community has the affordable space it needs to thrive for years to come,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to reviewing details of the Joyce’s plans as part of the city’s capital funding review process.”

Previously occupied by the Boys’ Club of New York since it opened in 1901, the 58,000-square-foot building at Avenue A offers column-free space that the Joyce would use for rehearsals — or smaller performances — and also rent out to other companies.

Some of the studios would be available at subsidized rates, including one for tap and percussive dance artists.

The Joyce — which presents companies and artists like Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ayodele Casel and Batsheva — was originally supposed to be the anchor tenant of a new performing arts center under construction at the World Trade Center site, but those plans failed to come to fruition because the project moved in a different direction.

In 2012, the Joyce bought its longtime Chelsea home for $20 million and sold a second location, in SoHo, for about $27 million.

“The Joyce sees this as a way to solidify its commitment to artists beyond the work taking place on its own stage,” the organization said in a news release, “with this new space for ideation and the creation of movement.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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