Founders: Gregory Cary • Kevin McKenzie • Bentley Roton • Martine van Hamel
In the tranquility of the open countryside, Kaatsbaan provides professional dancers, choreographers, and the dance community with extraordinary studios, a theater and a resident Dancers' Inn dedicated to experimenting, creating, rehearsing, training and presenting dance. Built on the visionary thinking of its founders, Kaatsbaan supports an inclusive and diverse range of dance artists and their most ambitious projects.
Kaatsbaan is a bucolic 153-acre dance facility located on New York’s Hudson River in the charming village of Tivoli. Three state-of-the-art dance studios, the Dancers’ Inn accommodating 32 guests, the Gatehouse offering kitchen facilities and additional accommodations, and a 160-seat black box theater with a performance floor the size of the Metropolitan Opera stage provide for a breathtaking and paradisiacal artistic country home for creative action and achievement.
Since Kaatsbaan's inception in 1990, year-round programming, performances, residencies, and seasonal events have offered unique discoveries with every visit. The organization's dedication to collaboration between dance, historic preservation, and environmental conservation has protected its vast open spaces, undeveloped hay fields, woodlands, and magnificent scenic views of the famed Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains.
With a passion to nurture the next generation of dance artists Kaatsbaan provides and advocates for outstanding educational programs: Extreme Ballet® Summer Intensive, directed by Martine van Hamel and taught by principal dancers from American Ballet Theatre; Pro-Studio/Stella Abrera®, comprehensive summer training for professional ballet dancers; year-round dance classes and workshops; and ongoing outreach programs to public schools and local and surrounding communities.
Plans for Kaatsbaan’s future parallel the vibrant growth of the Hudson Valley. Additional studios, a 500-seat theater, additional accommodations at the Dancers’ Inn, a lodge and dining hall complex, and the restoration and adaptive reuse of the historic 1895 Stanford White designed "Music Barn" are slated. The "Music Barn" will house a visitor reception area, shops, and 10,000 square feet of art and exhibition galleries devoted to dance photography and related visual arts.
Kaatsbaan continues to strengthen its artistic programming, residencies, and performances by forging partnerships with distinguished and celebrated dance artists and companies. Through superior training programs, workshops and conferences for professionals, students and the public Kaatsbaan looks to engage and advance community participation and leadership.
Kaatsbaan hired its first Executive Director in December 2018 to oversee the organization’s management, operations, and long-term strategy that includes an overarching planning process to realize Kaatsbaan’s redevelopment to drive the organization to its next level of growth and service to the community.
Kaatsbaan is the Hudson Valley’s cultural park for dance providing a vital environment for residency & retreat. As an incubator for the growth, advancement and preservation of professional dance, dance education and related arts, Kaatsbaan is unparalleled in its ability to invigorate and inspire dance artists and innovators.
Kaatsbaan, Dutch for “a playing field,” was founded in 1990 and received not-for-profit 501(c) 3 status the following year. After a 3-year search, the historic Tivoli Farms was chosen as the ideal setting to build the dream facility. Tivoli Farms, once the equestrian playground for Eleanor Roosevelt, was purchased in 1997 with the financial assistance of two supporting individuals. After developing a comprehensive multi-phase Business Plan and Master Plan and receiving all permits and approvals from the Village of Tivoli, Phase 1 construction began in 1999. Funding for Phase 1 was provided via the issuance of $3.9 million in Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Bonds with additional funding from the NYS Environmental Protection Agency, the NYS Community Block Grant program, and multiple individual donors. The studios, black box theater, roads, parking, and all underground utilities were completed in 2000 as part of Phase 1. In 2002, an additional $1.25 million was awarded by NYS Governor George Pataki for the construction of The Dancers’ Inn. The Dancers’ Inn was completed in 2003. Since then, Kaatsbaan’s remarkable and influential dance facilities have paved the way for other dance organizations in the Hudson Valley.
TRUSTEES & ADVISORS
Board of Trustees
Kevin McKenzie, Chair
Martine van Hamel
Vincent Clephas, Chair Emeritus
Patricia Arellano, Co-head
Eleena Melamed, Co-head
Board of Advisors
Carmen de Lavallade