Inside the Architecture: Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre at the Old Cambridge Baptist Church

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Wisdom and dance come together in Cambridge.  At 400 Harvard Street, the Old Cambridge Baptist Church and Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre share one space.

Old Cambridge Baptist Church was built in 1968 by Alexander Rice Esty.  He was a local architect and famously known for his American Gothic Revival churches in New England.  This church displays strong grey fieldstone and granite with large stain glass windows that are typical of Gothic Revival architecture.  Its cut-stone spire is the tallest in Middlesex County.  

For many years before the Sanctuary Theatre was built, the Old Cambridge Baptist Church has supported many organizations around the city.  During the 1970’s the church was a meeting place for Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and Anti-Vietnam protests.  The church has also offered a safe environment for refugees from Latin America and Africa.  In 1983, the church announced its acceptance of LGBT members and has been supporters for those rights as well. 

In 2000, the Old Cambridge Baptist Church signed a 40 year contract with Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre.  The two organizations joined to put their resources together to support wisdom and the arts.  

Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre is a distinguished dance company in New England for its professional ballet training.  It is the only ballet company in New England to produce a complete performance by its own resident choreographer. 

There are two parts to the Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre.  One is the company, which consists of 20 members who reform original and traditional, classical productions.  The other is the school, which offers lesson to children ages 3-18 and classes for adults.  The classes range for all different experience levels.  The school believes that all people have the right to a proper dance education.  

Jose Mateo is a member of the Dance for World Community.  The DWC offers free dance lessons (in this area the classes are in Cambridge and Dorchester) as a way to expose dance throughout different communities.  There are many performances held by the DWC that use the art form to promote different civic, environmental, and social issues.  

The dance company performed at the Emerson Majestic Theatre for ten years before finding its stage at the Sanctuary Theatre.  The church is currently in its third phase of its project to expand the building even more.  

For more information about the Old Cambridge Baptist Church, call (617) 864-9275, or visit http://www.oldcambridgebaptist.org.  For more information about Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre or to learn about upcoming performances or classes, call 617-354-7467, or visit http://www.ballettheatre.org.