Another California Dance Company, Diablo Ballet, in Danger of Closing

Classic Arts News   Another California Dance Company, Diablo Ballet, in Danger of Closing
In the second piece of sad news from a California dance company this week, the Bay Area's Diablo Ballet announced that it will shut down at the end of this season unless $500,000 can be raised by July 1. Company artistic director Lauren Jonas told the Contra Costa Times of the developments on Tuesday (March 27).

The money is reportedly needed to underwrite Diablo's 2007-08 season at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek and to hire an executive director.

This is the second financial crisis faced by the Diablo Ballet recently: in 2002, it raised $150,000 to pay off debts and remain open. Budget woes forced another East Bay dance company, the Oakland Ballet, to close last year; it was reported this week that Ballet Pacifica, Orange County's professional ballet company, will close tomorrow.

The Diablo Ballet has launched fundraising campaigns; a major event is scheduled for April 21. The company's financial problems grew after its co-founder and leading benefactor, Ashraf Habibullah, stepped down as president of the board of directors. Habibullah raised about $200,000 a year for the company, whose annual budget is $950,000 with 10 dancers normally hired each season; his departure will leave "a significant shortfall" in the budget, according to the Times.

There is some good news, however, as the company is finishing the season with no debt. Ticket sales cover only a portion of the company's expenses, but have reportedly increased by 20% this season to a total of about 150,000.

Diablo Ballet was founded in 1994 and focuses on ballet and contemporary dance, with experienced dancers often led by emerging choreographers.

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