Burnsville Performing Arts Center
Opened in January 2009, The Ames Center, formerly the Burnsville Performing Arts Center is located at 12600 Nicollet Ave in the Heart of the City in Burnsville, Minnesota. The venue is adjacent to Nicollet Commons Park, which features green space, water fountains, and a 250-seat outdoor performance amphitheater. The Burnsville PAC features an eclectic range of performances on the main stage and the black box theatres including: dance, theatre, concerts, comedians, and written word. Past performances include the Girl Singers of the Hit Parade, Larry Carlton, Louie Anderson, Lori Lane, Richard Marx, Church Basement Ladies, Melissa Manchester, Bill Engvall, Nick Colionne, Celtic Crossroads, Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Lake, Tommy Emmanuel, Sinbad, Ralphie May, Dakota Valley Symphony, Chameleon Theater Circle, Miss Minnesota USA/Teen USA, and Cirque D’Or. Additionally, productions of Mame, A Christmas Carol and Peter Pan were presented utilizing sets created for the Kennedy Center, the Kodak Theatre and the original Cathy Rigby Broadway production respectively.
- 1 History
- 2 Facilities
- 3 Community Connections
- 4 References
Plans to build the arts center in Burnsville originated with Partners for Tomorrow, a citizen-based community forum convened in 1993 and 1994. Talks continued for more than ten years. A building contract was finally drawn in September 2007 between the city and Lund Martin Construction Inc. The space was designed by Ankeny Kell Architechts of St. Paul. Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and Burnsville City Council members led the ribbon cutting ceremony on January 21, 2009, which was followed by performances from Burnsville artists, musicians, dancers, and actors. Grammy award-winning artist Melissa Manchester headlined the inaugural gala on January 31, 2009.
The Main Stage is the largest of the theatres in the complex with a capacity of 1014 seats. (759 Orchestra and 255 Balcony). The theatre is outfitted with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. The theatre is accessible on the ground and second level atrium lobbies and via elevator. The stage is 45 ft (14 m) deep by 100 ft (30 m) wide, with a 48 ft (15 m) proscenium opening. There is room for a total of 30 wheelchairs and 31 companion seats.
Fly House is 65' clear from floor to the loading gallery with 62 line sets capable of lifting 2000 lbs each. A concealed orchestra pit is located at the front of stage.
Black Box Theatre
The Black Box Theatre is a completely open space, making it flexible to a variety of performance setups. The room can be hung with sound and lighting instruments and is curtained. Risers are available to set the room to a capacity of 150 seated patrons. The handicap accessible seats are located in the first row of seating and will be accommodated as needs dictate.
The Burnsville PAC currently holds eight gallery exhibits every calendar year in its 2,000-square-foot (190 m2) art gallery, which is free and open to the public. The mission is to celebrate the visual arts by displaying a diverse collection of artwork from local emerging and professional artists.
The Rehearsal Room
The Rehearsal Room is an 1,800 sq ft (170 m2) space complete with mirrors and ballet barres on the walls and a sprung maple floor for dance rehearsal purposes. The room can accommodate up to 100 people.
Meeting rooms can be split in half with an air wall to separate groups or completely opened to accommodate 100 guests in a theatre style setup. Classroom setups as well as any combination of hollow square table design can be accommodated in this space.
A green room is located next to the Star Dressing room in the backstage area and can be utilized for smaller get-togethers of 30-50 persons in a secluded environment. This room features an adjacent entrance area and is carpeted and well lighted. All dressing rooms are accessible therefore there are no specifically designed handicapped dressing room facilities.
The VIP Suite is located on the north end of the second floor atrium next to the open air balcony and provides for a private VIP setting for board meetings, intimate formal dining, meet n’ greets, etc.
The upper lobby, approximately 4,000 sq ft (370 m2), can seat up to 280 patrons for banquets, wedding receptions, trade shows booths and other special events. Windows are floor to ceiling offering views of Nicollet Commons Park and the Minnesota River and the Minneapolis skyline to the north. 
Art and All That Jazz
Started in 2004 and operating for several years before ending, the Art and All That Jazz Festival was an annual event held the third weekend in August in Burnsville, Minnesota. Featuring an assortment of local musicians and over 50 art and food vendors, the festival drew over 15,000 people and was hosted at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center and the Nicollet Commons Park Plaza.
Burnsville Civic Light Opera
The Burnsville Civic Light Opera, a newly formed organization, has as its mission the goal of presenting large productions of musicals and an annual production of A Christmas Carol. Between November, 2010 and January 2011, the BCLO presented MAME using a set built for the Kennedy Center, a production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL created for the 2008 Kodak Theatre run starring Christopher Lloyd and John Goodman and a January, 2011 engagement of PETER PAN using the original set, costumes, props and flying technicians from Cathy Rigby's Broadway production. The unusual combination of a large well-equipped stage with the small capacity of 1,000 allows BCLO to blend community theatre actors with Broadway production values.
Burnsville Visual Arts Society
The Burnsville Visual Arts Society, a 29-year-old nonprofit visual arts organization, hosts their annual juried show Art Fete at the Burnsville PAC Art Gallery. The mission of Art Fete is to support local emerging and professional artists and provide them with the opportunity to exhibit and sell their artwork in a public venue. Awards for this competition are sponsored by area businesses and the Burnsville Visual Arts Society in support of the visual arts in the community.
Chameleon Theatre Circle
The Chameleon Theatre Circle is the resident theatre company of the Burnsville PAC’s Black Box Theatre. As of February 2011, the company is in their 13th season and has performed over 70 productions.
Dakota Valley Symphony (DVS)
The Burnsville PAC’s main stage is home to the Dakota Valley Symphony, a non-profit, volunteer community arts organization. The symphony is composed of a 60-member symphony orchestra, a 40-member mixed chorus and a 90-member Summer Pops orchestra and chorus, all under the direction of founder and music director Stephen J. Ramsey.
International Festival of Burnsville
The International Festival of Burnsville is a summer day-long event designed to promote and celebrate Burnsville’s cultural diversity through the sharing of art, food, dance, and music of various cultures. Some of the art work for the festival is showcased in the Burnsville PAC’s Art Gallery.
Pan Asian Dance Festival
Minnesota’s first Pan Asian Dance Festival was hosted in May 2010 on the Burnsville PAC Main Stage, which will continue to serve as its home. The festival is a mix of arts and crafts, street art, family activities, and dance performances. Twin Cities’ dance groups involved with the festival include:
- Asian Indian – Ragamala Dance
- Bhutanese – Bhutanese Dance Group/Renuka
- Chinese – CAAM Chinese Dance Theater
- Filipino – Cultural Society of Filipino-Americans
- Hmong – MN Sunshine Dance & Moonlight Dancers
- Indonesian – Indonesian Performing Arts Association of Minnesota
- KaRen – KaRen Dance Group
- Korean – Korean Dance Group
- Japanese – Sansei Yonsei Kai Japanese Children and Adult Dance Group
- Laotian – Lao Woman Association Dance Group
- Pacific Islander – Hula Halau `O Maile Keli`i Po1okalani
- Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka Dance Group
- Tibetan – TAFM Traditional Performing Arts
- Vietnamese – Hoang Anh Vietnamese Dance Group
The Pan Asian Dance Festival is organized by Asian Media Access, MN Sunshine Dance & Ocean Dance Group, and the Pan Asian Artist Alliance.
Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota (TCB)
Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit semi-professional dance company that draws its dancers from area professional dance companies, dance schools, and community residents. TCB's rehearsal and administrative home is at the premier new facility of Ballet Royale Minnesota, the first and only dedicated classical ballet academy south of the Minnesota River, located on the border of Lakeville and Burnsville, in the heart of the Minneapolis/St. Paul south metro area. Performances are held at the state-of-the-art professional theater at Burnsville Performing Arts Center.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-14. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2011-02-17.