Gloria Schmidt, a resident of Sun City, Arizona, bequeathed the money to the school. Schmidt never attended a Ballet Arizona or student performance, but the child of a friend of hers attended the school and had appeared in Ballet Arizona's Nutcracker.
"We were all thrilled and shocked to receive this bequest," said Jacqueline Davidson, the school's principal.
The money must be used for a new permanent home for the school. If the process of constructing a new building has not begun within three years, the gift will be withdrawn.
The school has outgrown its current home, according to Davidson. "A new facility will go a long way toward expanding arts education in the Valley," she said, "and will bring a higher level of professional education."
"The gift will certainly have a huge impact," she added, "but more is needed to construct a new building and run it well. Ms. Schmidt's generosity and foresight is appreciated beyond words."