Saratoga Performing Arts Center to Negotiate Long-Term Contract With New York City Ballet

Classic Arts News   Saratoga Performing Arts Center to Negotiate Long-Term Contract With New York City Ballet
 
The Saratoga Performing Arts Center will open talks by the end of the month with the New York City Ballet, in hopes of negotiating a long-term contract for the company's annual summer residency, the Troy Record reports.

The announcement was made by Marcia White, who succeeded Herbert Chesbrough as president of SPAC on March 4. White is a former press secretary to Joseph Bruno, New York state senate majority leader.

In addition, the Record reports that White has already begun developing financial sponsorships to offset the cost of the NYCB residency. According to SPAC chair Stephen Serlin, a long-term agreement with the company can't be reached until there is sufficient financial backing.

NYCB puts about $800,000 of its own money toward its summer residency at SPAC.

Christopher Ramsey, NYCB director of external affairs, said "There are some details that have to be worked out. I don't think there's any question that there will be a long-term agreement."

White plans to meet with Ramsey and Peter Martins, NYCB's ballet master in chief, in two weeks. Ramsey acknowledged that the long-term contract might not materialize until next year.

Evidently, the company plans to perform at SPAC this year; for the center's 40th anniversary, NYCB is planning to put up A Midsummer Night's Dream, which it performed at SPAC's inaugural season.

Last year, SPAC announced that financial problems would keep the center from continuing the NYCB residencies. The announcement raised the suspicion of financial mismanagement—since the ballet company's tenure at the center was one of the anchors of its programming—and eventually prompted an audit, which sharply criticized the center's decisions. In January, New York State attorney general ordered an investigation into the center's finances.

The investigation also looked into the high salary paid to then-president Chesbrough, and the severance pay he was granted when he resigned under fire after the audit.


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