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Ballet Florida announces plans for 2009-2010 season.


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After cancelling the remainder of this season and letting its dancers go, Ballet Florida has just announced -- in a letter to ticket-holders -- something about its future plans.

2009-2010 Season

The traditional Nutcracker performances, Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, 12/23-28.

Other programs, including "world premieres by Ben Stevenson, Ma Cong, Ron de Jesus, and Jerry Opdenaker. As announced earlier, the permanent company is expected to be reduced to 10 (from 19).:

Jan. 22-24: Eissey Campus Theater, Palm Beach Gardens

Feb. 12-14, Amaturo Theatre at the Broward Center, Fort Lauderdale

March 25-27, Duncan Theater, Palm Beach Community College, Lake Worth

April 29-May 1, Eissey Campus Theater, Palm Beach Gardens

Options for ticket purchasers for cancelled performances

-- Miami City Ballet is offering a 1-for-1 ticket exchange for their Friday and Saturday Evening performances at the Kravis Center, March 27-28.

-- Or, you may use the ticket purchase as a tax-deductible donation to Ballet Florida

-- Or, you may receive a credit towards your subscription to the 2009-2010 season;

-- Or, you may mail your tickets to the company, which will then "process your refund."

Previous stories (copied from thread, How's the Ballet Box-Office Doing Nowaday?):

Some of you may have been following the long, slow decline of Ballet Florida this season, as posted in the BT Links column.

According to the latest story, Ballet Florida will now:

-- cancel the remainder of its performances (at three area theaters) for the season;

-- end the contracts of its 19 dancers (saving about $300,000).

According to the latest announcement, management plans to cut down to 10 dancers next year, performing smaller works in several smaller theaters only. They do intend to return to the Kravis Center (2000+ seats) for their week-long run of Nutcrcker, though where they will find the dancers to perform it has not yet been explained.

My heart goes out to the talented dancers, whose work I've enjoyed and respected over the past years.

According to today's article in the Palm Beach Post:


BalletFlorida has been hurt by [the] drop in [residentss'] discretionary income, with ticket sales off 18 percent this year and donations down 12 percent.

I do not know the source if the above information, but my own impression was that the paid audience decline was much larger than 18%. This was notable from the first performance last fall. Subscribers simply didn't sign up, following last spring's announcement of near collapse. Similarly, donations -- especially at the levels high enough to be printed in the program -- were down by a lot more than 12%.

A rather striking feature of this sad story has to do with the Company's studio, located on prime real estate near the CityPlace shopping and restaurant neighborhood.


Ballet Florida had hoped for a last-minute reprieve from West Palm Beach, which was planing to by its building on Fern Street near CityPlace for $2.5 million.

But when discussing the closing, city officials saw that they would be on the hook to pay Ballet Florida's Realtor a $185,000 commission. City commissionrs said they wanted to help the company survive but balked at the commission. They pulled out of the deal [earlier] this month.

Here's the Post story:


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