Generous gift will improve Bancroft Dance Studio

Three dancers practice on the wooden floors of Bancroft Dance Studio.

Dancers practice their form at the studio. (UC Berkeley photo by Jen Siska)

February 26, 2024

UC Berkeley will refurbish the Bancroft Dance Studio thanks to a generous gift by Daniel Hitchcock ’69, a mathematics and physics alum. Hitchcock provided the crucial funding to make the studio space safer and more accessible. The enhancements will include re-sanded floors, repaired windows, and a new water filtration system.

“Upkeep of the Bancroft Dance Studio is one of the department's greatest needs and a top priority for the Arts & Humanities Division as a whole,” said SanSan Kwan, a professor and chair of the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. “Daniel’s gift could not have come at a better time.”

“Without exception, our dance students, our alums, and our faculty all deeply love this beautiful, historic space,” continued Kwan. “It carries such wonderful memories for many of us. Just this semester, I had a former student gift me a painting she made of the paned windows. She told me that the studio served as a healing space for her during a difficult time.”

The Bancroft Dance Studio is a wood-shingled building next to Zellerbach Hall at the corner of Bancroft Way and Dana Street. The unusual structure was first erected in 1898 as the First Unitarian Church, making it one of the oldest buildings on campus. It sports a large, central room with a gable roof and beautiful, rounded windows.

“In 1968, I was the only math and physics student in David Wood's beginning modern class,” recalled Hitchcock. “This led to a lifelong love of dance and dancing that has immeasurably enriched my life. I fondly remember class in the Bancroft studio with light coming through the windows.”