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Tori's Dance World

Take a tour of the real ballet school and theater in
Orlando, Florida, where Tori studies and performs!

The Dr. Phillips Center

The Dr. Phillips Center

The studios shared by Orlando Ballet and Orlando Opera.
The Ballet's main entrance--and Tori's bus stop!

Orlando Ballet, formerly Southern Ballet Theatre, has a unique home! For years the dancers had to work in rented quarters that were often cramped, sometimes dirty, and never air conditioned. Then, in 1992, their dreams came true when they moved into the beautiful quarters the Company now shares with Orlando Opera. The roomy, air-conditioned building they now enjoy was not always beautiful, however. It began life as a power plant for the Orlando Utilities Commission!

When the power company needed more space, the original building stood abandoned for years, falling into ruin. It took vision to see its possibilities! A series of photos hangs along the hallway outside the huge rehearsal room the two companies share. They show the progress of the old power plant's renovation from filthy, roofless wreck to stately performing arts center.

Fanlight logo on sign and side entrance

Notice how the building's fanlight windows are reflected in Orlando Ballet's logo, which you can see on
the top of the blue sign and next to the Center's name on the side of the building. (There's the school
entrance where Tori's mom picks her up!)

To keep the building's history alive, the architects left plenty of reminders of its past. The original red brick and rough concrete walls were kept, some of which have strange hollows in them where machines were once built in. One of these, known as "The Niche," is a favorite spot for picture-taking. It's even on the cover of the school brochure!

Another souvenir of power plant days is "The Pump," a huge water pump prettied up with blue paint. It holds a place of honor in the lobby between the ballet and opera companies.

Caitlin Mooney in the nicheCaitlin Mooney with the Pump

Eleven-year-old Caitlin Mooney, a talented Orlando Ballet student,
poses with "The Niche" (left) and "The Pump" (right).

Caitlin at the barre in Studio 2

Caitlin at the barre in Studio 2. Amtrak
trains rush right past the high windows!

One other feature few ballet studios can offer is the entertainment of trains rumbling past just inches from the studios' rear windows! During any class the floor may quake beneath the dancers as an Amtrak train speeds by.

The Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts was named to honor the million-dollar gift from the Dr. Phillips Foundation that started the project on its way to reality. Dr. Phillips was a successful early citrus grower in the Central Florida area. He believed in the importance of education and the arts, and the many places around Orlando named for him pay tribute to his generosity.




More photos from the Dr. Phillips Center:

The lobby of the Dr. Phillips Center

Spiral staircase in the lobby.
The banner announces the Company's change
from Southern Ballet Theatre to Orlando Ballet.

Caitlin waiting for a class to begin

Waiting outside Studio 2 for class to begin.

Students rehearsing in Studio 3

Company dancers rehearse in Studio 3 at the top of the spiral staircase.

The Bob Carr Performing Arts Center

Outside the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center

Outside the Performing Arts Center. The glass-enclosed lobby was added on to the original theater.

Inside the lobby

Inside the lobby is the brick wall that was once the front of the building.
A balcony runs around the outer glass wall of the lobby.

Behind the Scenes!

Bob Carr back entrances for performers and equipment

Backstage entrances for performers and equipment.

Bob Carr private dressing room door

"Star" dressing rooms are private; other performers share space in larger ones.

Head Flyman!

Donald Teer, head flyman, operates the numbered ropes and
pulleys that raise and lower the "flies," or panels of scenery.

Check out Kirov Academy of Ballet, Tori's Hometown and Kat's Author Album
for more great photos!

Copyright © Kat Corbett