|Ballet Kelowna dancers Kurt Werner and Desiree Bortolussi dance last Friday at what could be the studio's last open rehearsal. Ballet Kelowna announced moments afterwards plans to close its doors. |
"We would need about $150,000 to get us safely into next season," said Jamie Maw, president of Ballet Kelowna.
Ironically, if the company could ensure some money was coming in, then they'd be able to earn more by holding its annual Pirouette fundraiser, which could bring in as much as $85,000 to $100,000. But as it stands now, the annual gala will be canceled as well. "We didn't feel it was right to hold Pirouette if we were going to be forced to close the doors," said Maw.
Since its inception five years ago, Pirouette has traditionally been held over the same weekend in February every year. Had it been able to take place as planned, things could have been very different right now.
But Gold Medal Plate Canadian Culinary Championships decided to takeover that weekend and Ballet Kelowna was forced to move Pirouette back to April.
With sponsorships and attendance down due to poor marketing this fall, things are looking bleak.
However, artistic director David LaHay said, "The staff and dancers will be doing everything they can and continue to work tirelessly to fight for the survival of Ballet Kelowna."
Contrary to popular belief LaHay had no intention of retiring until the end of the 2014 season.
While many are treating it as a done deal, there is still hope of keeping the flame alive.
What can you do to help? Write the dancers and staff a letter or email, make a donation, become a member or renew your membership early, buy a ticket to the upcoming show at the Kelowna Community Theatre and watch in hopes that a major fundraising drive will surface and a miracle can happen to save this gem of a dance company.
There is a window of about six weeks to turn the ship around. I believe it can be done.
* * *
The nominees were announced for this year's Okanagan Arts Awards. All together, there were 43 nominations received for the 10 awards up for grabs. In case you missed the list, here are the people who had friends or fans that cared enough to nominate them: Central Okanagan Foundation's Community Arts Association Award nominees: Cool Arts, Creators Arts Centre and Zine One11; music nominees: Ben Klick, Melina Moore, Cory Myraas, Craig Thomson and Barbara Samuel; theatre nominees: Bill Bennett, Eugine Levesque and Jackson Mace; dance nominees: Lucy Hazelwood, Ruth Hoyte and Vicki View; literary arts nominees: Sterling Haynes and Harold Rhenisch; visual arts nominees: Jeanne Bates, Paul Brooks, Laila Campbell, Kendra Chappell, Denny Cound, Patricia Doyle, Frances Hatfield, Julie Oakes, Crystal Kay Przybille and Jaime Seward; design nominee: Trevor Butler; media arts nominees: Dave Mai, David Mcilvride, Mountain Lake Films and Gary Symons; arts educators nominees: Wendy Briggs, Pipp Dean-Veerman, Michelle Loughery, Deb Sherwin, Craig Thomson and Wentworth Music; supporter of the arts nominees: Matt Brown, Kevin Jesuino, Robert MacDonald, Grant Russell and Mary Scales.
The awards will be presented on March 2 at the Kelowna Community Theatre. Tickets are on sale now at okanaganartsawards.eventbrite.ca.
Ballet Jorgen was in the valley over the weekend, dancing Swan Lake in Vernon. For a travelling show, I thought they handled it quite well.
There was a local slant to the performance as dancers from Kelowna Dance and Performing Arts school were asked to join the cast as the children. Doing a fine job were Payton Moldenhauer, Carley Laturnus, Alisha Wozny, Mackenzie Pesl, Kaylie Stathopulos and Rie Stadnichuk.
* * *
Chamber Music Kelowna's next concert will be held Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Mary Irwin Theatre. Pavel Kolesnikov was the winner of the 2012 Honens Prize Laureate so if you're a fan at all of classical piano music, chances are you will thoroughly enjoy the performance by this 23-year-old grand prize winning Russian pianist. Tickets are at the Rotary Centre for the Arts box office or call
* * *
Kelowna's own Anna Jacyszyn of Jazz Cafe fame is singing at the Train Station's Sunday brunch this week. I haven't tried their brunch yet, but the idea of having brunch while being serenaded by Anna does sound appealing. Joining her on stage is Bernie Addington on bass and Neville Bowman on keys. If you can't make it this weekend, they'll be back again Feb. 24, March. 10 and March. 24.
* * *
Coming up on Feb. 22 is what's being called The Sweetheart Ball, featuring the big band sounds of the Dreamland Band, with special guests Anna Jacyszyn and Robert Fine. It's a chance to roll out your rhumba, throw down a fox trot, wiggle through a waltz or cha cha. Tickets are $28 and they are hopeful response will be good enough to promote more of these dances. You can get your tickets through the dreamlandband.ca website or by calling 250-763-6141.
* * *
Saturday evening, starting at 7:30 p.m., there's a free concert at Summerhill Pyramid Winery called Composer's Cuvee. The concept behind it is to showcase Canadian contemporary music. Despite being free, reservations are still required
This concert showcases the music of five resident Okanagan composers: Imant Raminsh, Anita Perry, Ernst Schneider, Jean Ethridge and Keith Tedman. It features flautist Kathryn Cernauskas, pianist Jane Hayes, soprano Heather Pawsey, violinist Janna Sailor and cellist Rebecca Wenham. To reserve your seat go online to summerhill.bc.ca/wines/music.
* * *
Kelowna Actors Studio will have opened the comedy Noises Off last night, too far past my deadline to review. What I can tell you is that the play has been described as the funniest play ever written and they do have a pretty amazing cast lined up, so I'm hoping for good things.
Tickets at the KAS box office or online at kelownaactorsstudio.com. The show runs Wed. through Sunday from now until Feb. 23
* * *
Also for those looking for a good laugh, the Two Funny Guys Comedy Tour featuring Herb Dixon and Darryl Lenox makes a stop at the Kelowna Community Theatre Saturday night at 8 p.m. Tickets are at Select Your Tickets.
- Glenna Turnbull is a freelance writer who has covered the Okanagan arts and entertainment scene for many years. Her column appears each Thursday in eVent. Email her at