by Gia Kourlas
April 12, 2009
The New York Times
Dance Theater of Harlem, the organization formed in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, has announced a new artistic director, Virginia Johnson. A founding company member and the former editor of Pointe, a ballet magazine, she will succeed Mr. Mitchell this year.
“Virginia has everything in her bones, in her blood, that is Dance Theater of Harlem,” said Laveen Naidu, the organization’s executive director.
The New York City-based John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2009 Guggenheim Fellowships.
Ranging in age from 29 to 70, the hundred and eighty U.S. and Canadian artists, scientists, and scholars were selected from a group of almost three thousand applicants on the basis of outstanding achievement and exceptional promise for continued accomplishment.
Atlanta Ballet has named Virginia Hepner as the organization’s Interim Executive Director as Barry Hughson heads north to take the lead position at Boston Ballet.
Hepner, who retired from Wachovia Bank in February 2005 after a 25-year career with the firm, has been one of Atlanta’s most visible advocates for the arts. She was instrumental in the creation of the Metro Atlanta Arts and Culture Coalition and served a six-year term, as well as, Chaired the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund Advisory Board. Additionally, she was a member on Mayor Shirley Franklin’s 2007 Task Force on public funding for the arts, and Chair of the 2004 Atlanta Firms Committee of the Woodruff Arts. In 2006 she served as the Interim Executive Director of Brand Atlanta, Inc. In recognition of her community leadership Hepner was honored with the 2008 Phoenix Award from Atlanta Mayor Franklin.
Phil Lumpkin, Board President of River North Chicago Dance Company (RNCDC), announced the appointment of Gail Kalver to the position of Interim Executive Director of the acclaimed company. Recent recipient of the 2007 Ruth Page Award for Lifetime Service, Kalver has been an inspiring pioneer and groundbreaking advocate for dance and the arts in Chicago for more than three decades.
Lumpkin stated, “We couldn't ask for a better transition to take us into our 20th anniversary season. Gail’s experience and expertise in the field is unrivaled, and we are overwhelmingly fortunate to have her at the helm.”
“I’m thrilled to be working with Gail again after 10 years together at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, where I was a dancer and she served as Executive Director. It feels like a natural fit,” added Frank Chaves, Artistic Director of RNCDC.back to top
by James Watts
April 13, 2009
Scott Black, who has served as executive director of the OK Mozart International Festival for three years, will become managing director of Tulsa Ballet.
Black, a Sand Springs native who started with OK Mozart four years ago, will take over his new position in mid-July, after the conclusion of OK Mozart’s 25th anniversary season, which will run June 12-20 in Bartlesville.
Black will take over the managing director’s job from Richard Lane. Lane, the company’s managing director since 2006, will leave at the end of April, according to artistic director Marcello Angelini.
On March 30, 2009 Wynton Marsalis delivered the 22nd Annual Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy to a capacity crowd in the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Mr. Marsalis's lecture, entitled The Ballad of American Arts, focused on the importance of arts and culture to the American identity and featured special performances throughout by members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. A performance not soon to be forgotten, the night included two standing ovations and a blistering encore performance from Mr. Marsalis and members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
by Jennifer Dunning
April 6, 2009
The New York Times
Eva Evdokimova-Gregori, an internationally known ballerina who stood out for the delicacy and eloquent purity of her dancing and stage presence, died on Friday in Manhattan. She was 60 and lived in Manhattan.
The cause was complications of cancer, said her husband, Michael S. Gregori.
The American Dance Festival (ADF) will award distinguished dancer and choreographer Ohad Naharin with the 2009 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement. Established in 1981 by Samuel H. Scripps, the annual award honors choreographers who have dedicated their lives and talent to the creation of modern dance. The $50,000 award will be presented to Mr. Naharin in a special ceremony on Thursday, June 25 at 8:00pm at the Durham Performing Arts Center, prior to the performance of Mr. Naharin’s Decadance (2007) by Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.
April 14, 2009
Facing "a deficit situation" for the first time in years, the National Ballet of Canada has indefinitely postponed its fall tour of Western Canada.
"The National Ballet of Canada recently enjoyed a very strong season at the Four Seasons Centre, is travelling to Ottawa this week to perform to sold-out houses and anticipates a robust June season," Lucille Joseph, chair of the company's board, said in a statement released Monday afternoon.
"However, despite continued support of our audiences and the generosity of our donors, the company faces a deficit situation for the first time in a number of years."
Executive director Kevin Garland called the postponement "a decision we make with the deepest regret but one that is necessary in the current difficult economic environment."
by Robin Pogrebin
April 10, 2009
The New York Times
More than 2,000 applications have poured in to the National Endowment for the Arts from cultural organizations all over the country seeking a piece of the stimulus pie allotted to the arts by President Obama.
Now the Endowment faces the tough task of sorting through these applications to determine which groups are the most deserving. The criteria are clear: each arts group seeking funds must demonstrate how it would use the money to preserve jobs or pay contractual workers.
Of the $50 million that the Endowment received as part of the stimulus bill, 40 percent of the money, or about $20 million, is being awarded to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations, which will then distribute the funds to cultural groups in their areas. On Friday the Endowment announced which state and regional groups would receive money.
by Kathleen McLaughlin
April 7, 2009
Indianapolis Business Journal
Leading local arts backers Jane Fortune and Robert Hesse are the driving forces behind Indianapolis City Ballet, a new professional dance company, IBJ learned this morning.
Indianapolis has been without a high-profile professional ballet company since Ballet Internationale folded in November 2005 with $1 million in debt.
Hesse has been working on the concept and raising money since November 2007, but the exact amount was not disclosed. The company also would not say how many productions it plans.
City Ballet spokeswoman Tess Green said Fortune and Hesse would not talk about their plans until an April 15 press conference, where they’ll introduce an “artistic chairman.”
Green said the new group would not follow the traditional business model for ballet companies.
by Kyle MacMillan
April 5, 2009
Scrambling for solvency, aiming to boost its stature.
When Jack Lemmon applied last spring to be executive director of the Colorado Ballet, the veteran administrator saw a company ready to boost its national stature, and he was excited by the chance to help.
"Colorado Ballet has been a little on the sidelines in the national dance world, and, clearly, the board wants to be much more integrated in and be a player," said Lemmon, a board member of Dance/USA. "So, I thought it was a really interesting moment in time."
by Grant Butler
April 5, 2009
In yet another round of bad news for Portland's arts scene, Oregon Ballet Theatre is cutting its budget 28 percent.
The ballet will go on. Just don't expect a live orchestra at any OBT performances or quite as many dancers on stage next season.
Approved by OBT's board of directors last week, the almost $2 million budget cuts kick in with the new fiscal year in July, reducing the annual budget from $6.7 million to slightly more than $4.8 million. Cuts will come from across-the-board salary reductions, consolidation of jobs, and layoffs. The number of full-time dancers will dip from 28 to 25.
by Patrick Healy
April 4, 2009
The New York Times
Fancy gift bags and elaborate centerpieces were out of the question for Signature Theater Company’s spring gala on Monday night at Espace, a reception room on West 42nd Street in Manhattan.
This nonprofit theater, which has one of the most consistent track records of critically acclaimed productions in New York, had already reduced its fund-raising target by 10 percent. With salary freezes a possibility and other belt-tightening under way, Signature and its nonprofit theater brethren in New York have entered an especially difficult economic period in their history, with the 2009-10 season looming as the toughest financial challenge they have faced, executives say.
“Our gala is the simplest of affairs, but this economy is proving to be anything but,” said Erika Mallin, Signature’s executive director. “This has been a season of ups and downs financially, and things only appear likely to be harder next season.”
by Claudia La Rocco
April 3, 2009
The New York Times
Dance Theater Workshop celebrated its 40th birthday with a boisterous party in its gleaming, four-story Chelsea home on 19th Street. Performances erupted in the stairwell, the terrace, even the revolving door. The place pulsed with a beyond-capacity crowd. The year was 2005, and the message was clear: Full steam ahead.
Fast-forward to the present, and the steam has run out. The deficit mushroomed after the workshop opened its new space, in an 11-story mixed-use building that it helped finance through a successful capital campaign, in 2002. That deficit largely accounts for the organization’s $4.2 million debt. It must raise more than $400,000 by June 30, the end of its fiscal year, simply to pay its expenses.
In the past “we were able to borrow money in order to continue the mission of the organization,” said Michael Connelly, a board member since 1995 and president from 1998 to 2005. “We’ve always just had a shortfall relative to the expectations.”back to top
by Gerald M. Gay
April 3, 2009
Arizona Daily Star
Ballet Tucson artistic director Mary Beth Cabana acted more strategically than nostalgically when she pulled one of her old works, "A Modo Nostro (In Our Own Manner)," out of mothballs for the company's annual "Dance and Dessert" production last month.
We projected a really conservative budget this year," Cabana said. "I am reviving some old ballets that have not been seen by current audiences. Thank God we've been around for 24 years and we've got a lot of sets and costumes and things that can be presented in new ways."
Ticket sales for performances haven't been an issue for Ballet Tucson. In fact, thus far this season, the company has seen a 13 percent increase in individual ticket sales over last season.
ADF cuts one week and a quarter of its main stage performances from its 2009 season
by Byron Woods
April 1, 2009
The American Dance Festival announced the lineup for its 2009 season at the end of last week. Dance cognoscenti had braced for the worst, given warnings earlier in the year about financial reversals in support due to the economic maelstrom.
Rumor confirmed: the 2009 season will be one week shorter than usual, covering five and a half weeks from June 18-July 25. The festival has also cut the number of marquee main-stage presentations this year from 13 to 10, a reduction of almost 25 percent.
On the bright side, the venue upgrade is still on, as ADF swaps the dysfunctional sightlines of Page Auditorium for the new Durham Performing Arts Center for its top-tier acts. But an equally anticipated upgrade in the acts performing there—world-class companies which the festival claimed, for years, they simply could not present on Page's smaller stage—isn't present in this summer's programming.
A casino night is planned to help close a $130,000 budget gap
by Bob Keefer
March 27, 2009
Faced with their company’s $130,000 budget shortfall, the professional dancers at Eugene Ballet have decided to take up fundraising in an effort to save their own jobs.
Among their ideas so far: They’ve created a Web site — www.dancersactnow.com — to raise public awareness of the ballet and its financial problems. More concretely, they’ll be donating their time to staff a posh casino night in April at the Downtown Athletic Club to raise money for the ballet.
“We want to act before it’s too late,” said ballerina Heather Wallace, who’s been with the company for four years.
The 30-year-old ballet company has laid off the equivalent of 4.5 full-time workers from its office staff in the past couple of years, Managing Director Riley Grannan said, but has managed to keep its 21 full-time dancers employed.