Ballet Floridalink to letter from Executive Director
Posted 25 March 2008 - 03:50 AM
Apparently they are on the verge on folding; a friend of mine who is affiliated with the company has asked me to post this here; I hope this is the right forum - feel free to move if not. Hopefully they can accumulate sufficient funds to keep dancing!
Posted 25 March 2008 - 02:06 PM
The company has been making a number of appeals to the public, to subscribers, to donors. The future is still unclear. On Ballet Talk, we are restricted to posting only published information. The idea of the company's actually "folding" seems to have come from a question that a reporter asked for the first in a series of Palm Beach Post articles and not from a company representative. Subsequent reports have been less dire.
From what I hear -- and unless something new has developed in the past week or so -- the question for next season is not "Will it fold?" so much as "What kind of company will survive?"
Ballet Florida has a number of very important assets, all of which work against the idea of folding. They own their own downtown studio, which is located quite close to the Kravis Center. They have a school which benefits from its association with a professional company. Their very successful Nutcracker is a community institution which plays 8 or 9 peformances at our large local opera house; it should do even better next year, since Miami City Ballet has decided to stop bringing in their own competing Nutcracker. Very important, it seems to me, is the fact that the dancers constitute am established and well-balanced team that is quite suited to their reperetory. the company also has close associations with a number of serious contemporary choreographers (Wainrot, McIntyre, Caniparoli).
I hope that no one makes a quick decision to cash in assets like this, not even for a $500,000 deficit.
On the negative side: the finances have always been rather feast-or-famine, and they are heavily dependent on a handful of large donors who have been around for a long time. Other supporters and potential donors -- those in the mid-range -- will possibly observe from the sidelines until there is evidence that a serious restructuring is going to happen.
In the meantime, Ballet Florida will be performing their Program IV at the Eissey Theater the weekend of May 2-4. The program consists of:
-- John Cranko, Aus Holbergs Zeiten, a company premiere
-- Balanchine, Allegro Brillante and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux
-- a world premiere of a new ballet by Jerry Opdenaker, a former company dancer
-- a revival of a smash hit for the company, Lar Lubovitch's Elemental Brubeck
This is an example of Ballet Florida programming at it's best and most interesting. Let's hope everyone supports it -- that there's a sell-out for every performance -- and that the dancers are given the rehearsals, coaching, and emotional support that will allow them to dance at their highest level. When they do that, they can be thrilling.
Posted 25 March 2008 - 03:30 PM
Bart, Why did Miami City Ballet decide to stop performing the Nutcracker at Kravis? Kravis is such a lovely facility. I always thought it was very well received there. I am no longer in South Florida and truly have missed watching Miami City Ballet perform. Fortunately I have the opportunity to continue my patronage with two other well known ballet companies from time to time, Texas Ballet Theatre and Carolina Ballet.
Posted 25 March 2008 - 05:07 PM
It does seem like a good idea. Miami Beach -- even though MCB now performs at the Arsht Center across the Bay in Miami itself -- has been generous and farsighted. The Mayor of West Palm Beach, Lois Frankel, has expressed sympathy but made it clear she has no money to help in this way. Incidentally, Mayor Frankel makes an annual appearance as one of the guests at the Ballet Florida Nutcracker.
The city of Miami Beach purchased the building from the ballet company to assist them in relieving their debt. This was a life saver for the company. I believe Miami City Ballet now leases the building from the city for a nominal fee.
Ballet Florida, as a constituent member of the Kravis Center, got the prize dates right around Christmas. Miami, this year, was reduced to 2 performance at the end of November and did very poor business. The Balanchine version danced by MCB is of course full of wonderful, quite thrilling dancing. But Ballet Florida version, pieced together by Marie Hale from a variety of productions, is also a splendid show and is quite theatrically savvy. It incorporates lots and lots of local children and fills the hall with young students for the dress rehearsal, free of charge. They also have the brilliant idea of ending Act I with a real snow fall -- produced by a machine located at the very top of the hall.
Why did Miami City Ballet decide to stop performing the Nutcracker at Kravis? Kravis is such a lovely facility. I always thought it was very well received there.
Here's a LINK to a video appeal for funds (posted on YouTube): "Ballet Florida Needs Your Help" Executive Director Ken Okel talks about the importance of the company -- economically, socially, artistically -- in the community.
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