Cash Crisis Forces Ohio Ballet to Cancel Spring Performances

Classic Arts News   Cash Crisis Forces Ohio Ballet to Cancel Spring Performances
Months after the Ohio Ballet canceled its Winterfest program, budget woes have forced the company, which performs in Akron and Cleveland, to cancel its spring season this month, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Artistic director Jeffrey Graham Hughes wrote to subscribers this week informing them of the cancellations, adding that tickets would not be refunded, according to the Plain Dealer. The dancers' contracts have also been canceled.

"The community at large has not felt, nor responded to, the urgency of Ohio Ballet's dire situation," Hughes wrote. "There have been malicious and destructive misrepresentations of what Ohio Ballet has been and is in the press. I feel extremely sad for you, the dancers/staff as well as the funders/individuals who have stood by us."

Hughes, who has been artistic director since 1999, is currently the company's only employee. He and his wife, ballet mistress Pamela Reyman, have pumped their own money into keeping the company afloat.

Free outdoor performances remain scheduled this summer; Hughes is also trying to secure funds from the city of Akron to support the company's annual summer festival.

According to the Plain Dealer, there is debate within Akron over whether a resident ballet company is viable and wanted.

Ohio Ballet was founded in 1968 and operates on a $1.2 million budget. It uses free studio and office space provided by the University of Akron, where the 12-member company is in residence. This month's performances were to take place at the Ohio Theatre in Cleveland and E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall in Akron.

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