Struggling Ballet Florida Cancels Tampa Bay Performances

Classic Arts News   Struggling Ballet Florida Cancels Tampa Bay Performances
Ballet Florida's upcoming performances of Dracula at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center have been canceled, the Tampa Tribune reports.

The performances were to take place April 16 and 17.

Dennis Stefanacci, a consultant who has been serving as interim director of the West Palm Beach-based company, said, "As a result of the time, finances, and energy that has been required to take this organization to the next level, we decided to focus our marketing efforts on local performances at the present time. We have been unable to either focus on or promote the performance of Dracula at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. For this we apologize."

The cancellation is surprising, given that the troupe announced a partnership with the center last October. According to the terms of the partnership, Ballet Florida would be TBPAC's resident ballet company.

Judith Lisi, president of TBPAC, now says the future of the partnership is uncertain. Stefanacci, however, remains hopeful, and says Ballet Florida will schedule a full-length work at the center in 2006.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the company is only just emerging from financial and administrative problems, including sharply dropping ticket sales and six executive directors since 1992.

In 2003-04, Ballet Florida sold 9,000 subscriptions, down from 14,000 in 2002-03. Miami City Ballet, by contrast, drew 27,000 to its West Palm Beach performances. Ballet Florida's budget has dropped from $4 million five years ago to $3.4 million in 2003-04.

During his tenure as interim director, Stefanacci made plans for more marketing, outreach, and administrative organization. He hired staff for fundraising, an operations director, and new executive director Leah Miles, who came on board in early March.

The company's finances were recently bolstered with a $1 million donation.

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