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- To hear the story that aired on KERA radio:
Just to open its new season in Dallas at the Majestic Theater on Sept. 12, the Texas Ballet Theater needs to raise $500,000 in cash to pay expenses upfront. Otherwise, there will be no show and no new season, says Margo McCann, the ballet’s interim managing director.
McCANN: “Our goal is to have at least 2 million pledged by mid-September. I say pledged because we don’t have to have that in cash, the whole two million, but we do need 500,000 of that in cash.”
In early August, the dance troupe was forced to cancel a planned trip to China. But the current problems of the 47-year-old company have actually been building for several seasons. Ticket income for the ballet has increased by 54 percent the past three years. But donated support hasn’t kept up. Part of the problem, says McCann, was the lack of a full-time fundraiser on staff – for the last four years.
McCANN: “It was a decision made by the board years ago that they would be able to handle the fundraising. We’ve had some wonderful volunteers that have helped us. But it’s a professional job. And that’s something we’ve been lacking. And we have someone in place that we’ve identified. And we think that will be a huge improvement.”
The ballet’s board of directors held an emergency meeting Tuesday to forge a plan to find the needed money. The Texas Ballet Theater is unusual in having two homes, both Fort Worth and Dallas. But most of their donated support has come from Fort Worth. Part of the ballet’s campaign is to increase support from Dallas.
McCANN: “We’ve haven’t had the same kind of visibility in Dallas that we’ve had in Fort Worth. I don’t know that Dallas has embraced us as theirs – and we are. We do many performances in Dallas and have since 1989.”
Ballet management had hoped that this funding situation would change when the company moved into the new Winspear Opera House in Dallas Arts District . It would give the troupe a new Dallas profile, new Dallas donors.
But the Winspear won’t open for another 14 months.
More on the ballet’s financial crisis, from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.