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2 Left Feet

Diablo Ballet, Walnut Creek CA

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For any of you in the bay area, the Diablo Ballet issued a press release yesterday. They face a severe budget short fall that could cause them to cease operation by September 15th. They need to raise $150,000 immediately to cover expenses. This is a company that was quickly establishing an international reputation. For more information or to find out how to make doantions, go to: Http:/Criticaldance.com/diabloballet/

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Thanks for posting this, Ed. I hope some of our Bay Area visitors will see it. San Francisco has such a rich and diverse dance scene, and one of the reasons is because there are so many small companies like this one. $150,000 is not insurmountable -- I hope they make it.

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Just for the record, I saw Diablo Ballet when they toured through San Diego. What a wonderful troupe! Interesting & varied choreography, beautifully trained dancers, a great evening. I wish more people had come to this regional performance. Good luck to them!

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I used to work for a company HQ'd in Walnut Creek, nice town. Sad to see a company go under. Hopefully they will return under a new name.

Small Companies have to be very careful with expenses, I recall the Hartford Ballet had a lot of difficulties with expenses and big plans. Every Company wants to tour, but it often will bankrupt the organizer.

Besides Nut******r (still too early to say the N word) Few ballets draw enough to pay for themselves. Even the classics can cost a fortune to stage.

Was the Walnut creek community behind the company? Walnut creek is a BART ride away from SF and the cultural institutions there.

MJ

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Often very small companies have a very small, but loudly devoted, following. I don't know whether that's so in this case -- but I'm sure that there is a lot of competition for funding in the Bay area.

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Yes, there certainly is, but I don't want to blame the diversity of the Bay Area dance scene, or the other arts. I think competition for funds is especially fierce right now because there is not as much money being pumped into the arts as there should be. A major contributing factor to all of this is the demise of the dot-com noveau riche, whose giant incomes helped to fund the arts. Another, of course, is the terror attacks, when everyone was giving all of their extra money to the Red Cross and other charities, and therefore had very little to give to other causes, including the arts.

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Latest word I got on fundraising attempts was they had succeeded in raising $10,000. They also had a committment from a local company to match it with a $15,000 donation if they were able to reach $15,000 on their own. Lets hope. I also undersand they're trying to get a grant from the City of Walnut Creek to cover their debts.

Now I'm hearing of other places going under. It's not ballet, but in a sign of the times a long established Santa Barbara musical theater group called it quits this week. I'm sure there's more to come.

I tell you. Not that this is the problem here, but I think people got complacent in the 90's. Cash was so easy to find for arts organizations, people were practically throwing it at them. Now when times are tough, I don't think development directors know how to go looking for it when they need money. Used to be it took a lot of time and effort to network, grow interest in a company or art form, then begin to reap the financial benefits. I think some companies are about to learn hard lessons simply because they don't know how to work hard to get the money they need.

Just my thoughts.

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Another update: As of Friday, the company has been able to raise $60,000 toward keeping the doors open. Things are looking up.

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I learned this afternoon, from a reliable source,

that Diablo Ballet's fundraising had reached the $73,000 level, just under half that is needed to continued, with approximately a week left to the September 15 deadline the Board had set to raise the funds. Lauren Jonas, the artistic director, remarked in the initial appeal that if Contra Costa residents gave a dollar for every year they had lived in the area that there would be no problem. Ten or twenty dollars a person could make all the difference, and I am certain five dollars would be cheerfully accepted as well.

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Thanks, Renee and Ed, for keeping us up to date on this. There is hope. Ballet Arizona faced a similar crisis two years ago -- the board gave them only one week to raise the money, and they did it. There was a good side benefit, too, because they got a lot of publicity, and the community pulled together to help.

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73K? Wouldn't that be nice? With all due respect it's more in the $62,000 range. We've got quite a ways to go!

The support has been tremendous and we've received donations from arts lovers all over the globe.

For a very special story please go to News/September 9, and read about Ron Huxley, an angel if there ever was one.

Best,

David Hicks

Marketing Manager

Diablo Ballet

PS: I'm looking forward to the publication of Alexandra's book. What a terrific subject she was able to research and write about!

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We're at $67,210.00

David Hicks

Marketing Manager

Diablo Ballet

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Well, I'm happy to say that at the end of the day - with phoned in pledges and an anonymous donation of $30,000 we ended at $98,210.00

Perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shimmer through?

David Hicks

Marketing Manager

Diablo Ballet

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I am happy to say the media is picking our story up in a big way in our final week of fundraising to Save Diablo Ballet.

Our current total: $107,135.00

We've received a large number of donations due to the article that ran in the Contra Costa Times on Monday, Sept. 9(see Links in the News board.)

And contrary to the rumor that is circulating, no one has been hired as our new Artistic Director.

Best,

David Hicks

Marketing Manager

Diablo Ballet

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When you're flush, David, I'm sure you'll have dozens of candidates for that post :)

This is good news -- congratulations. The goal is definitely in reach. There's nothing like a Drop Dead Date to focus the attention of donors!

I'm sure this has been a difficult time for the company -- if you'd care to share any details, please feel free. I think people will be interested.

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Someone did mention to me that Lauren Jonas has had two job offers, but I wasn't aware that she planned to leave Diablo Ballet.

What's the story?

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I love the Bay Area Dance rumor mill, it's just so dang inaccurate!! LOL

There is no truth to what you've heard. Where do people get this stuff?

Today's tally has us at close to: $117,000.

David

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Thanks, David. 117 -- that's in spittin' distance :) Congratulations!!!

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I'm so glad. It looks like the light is starting to become visible at the end of the tunnel.

Every dance lover should be looking at their local company to make sure they don't get in this situation themselves. What has happened to Diablo could easily happen anywhere. Give your time and money to keep them all afloat.

David:

What ever became of the NY Times and NPR? And perhaps you should make a call to Lewis Segal at the LA Times to get him to Victorville tomorrow night. He carries a lot of weight in dance in Los Angeles.

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I'd like to second 2LeftFeet's point, that This Could Happen to You!!!

It's hard, because ticket prices are generally already high, and it should be enough to attend performances and not worry about the fate of the company, but I think it's fair to say that most companies struggle. Of course, they need the support of those who are in a position to give larger amounts of money, but they also need the support of the community.

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It's true, unfortunately. Ballet is a deficit operation in general. Ask most companies what sort of debt they are carrying - you'd be surprised - or ask how much ticket prices would be if they were supposed to cover all revenue.

Congrats to Diablo for getting this far and I hope you pull through!

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Leigh, Alexandra, 2 Left-

Thank you for your kind words! This has been an amazing week and as I've said before a bit overwhelming(in a good way.) I haven't been to the office yet, but will post a new total later in the day.

2 Left - I (and a number of others) have contacted the NY Times and NPR, but to no avail.....yet!! We will persist and if anyone out there has a connection at either of them please pass on our story. We are grateful that the media in the SanFran/Bay Area has picked up the story and run with it.

More later,

David Hicks

Marketing Manager

Diablo Ballet

PS: Off to fight inaccurate reporting AND the rumor mill! :-)

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Today's tally(drumroll please): $118,155.00

Only $31,845. to go. :-)

Additionally, we have received many offers for "in kind" donations. People who don't have cash but have talents in many areas (i.e. computer programing, e-commerce fundraising events, donations of goods to sell at our concession table, volunteer to stuff envelopes, etc.) In it's way it's as exciting as getting cash and one area we need to re-develop is our volunteer base.

David Hicks

Marketing Manager

Diablo Ballet

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