Ballet West Facing Cutbacks

Ballet West Facing Cutbacks

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Carole Mikita ReportingBig changes ahead for Ballet West, the company is reorganizing the 2005-2006 season to recover from a deficit and try to attract new audience members.

Once again this year, Ballet West's 'Nutcracker' was an artistic and financial success. But that's not the case with every production. For three years, the company has been operating hundreds of thousands of dollars in the red. So before it reaches the 'Save the Ballet' campaign, managers are taking steps.

To eliminate a $320,000 deficit, Ballet West will cut one production next fall, will cut the number of dancers, offer 35 contracts instead of 40, some staff will also be cut. This company is not alone.

Johann Jacobs, Ballet West Executive Director: "Dance Theatre of Harlem has just gone through an enormous reorganization and may only survive with their school intact. Oakland Ballet has closed. Several ballet companies are looking at reduction of staff and artists."

‘Swan Lake’ will follow 'Nutcracker' and will join a new "Romeo and Juliet" and masterworks program next season. Jonas Kage says the artistic vision remains, he's confident the ballet will bounce back.

Jonas Kage, Ballet West Artistic Director: "There are some radical changes, some negative maybe for the artists. As a whole organization but as long as we stick together and see what we can do; sometimes necessities bring forward new ideas."

The challenge will be keeping the dancers in the public eye between May and November. Ballet West hopes for collaborations with other arts groups and that these cutbacks will affect just one season. The changes do not affect the current season, which runs through April. Next season will begin December 2nd with 'Nutcracker'.

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