It ain't over until the fat lady pirouettes.
Ballet Kelowna has been thrown a short lifeline by "community heroes" - enough cash to finish the company's 10th anniversary tour "with a flourish," said Jamie Maw, president of the non-profit society board, late Thursday.
During a board meeting Wednesday night, directors decided to go ahead with the previously suspended tour dates in Coquitlam and Mission, B.C. as well as outreach performances in several Kelowna schools, he said.
"I want to be very clear: this is an extension to our season. Our 'cri de coeur' - a cry from the heart - in the community brought results which are quite encouraging," said Maw.
"It brought in $5,000 in donations and new memberships. And some other community-minded individuals stepped up to the plate, including Chris Sorensen of National Bank Financial with a very generous sponsorship of our garden tour called Flower Power in early June. He will be the title sponsor, which will greatly assist in covering the balance of the tour and allowing the dancers to dance out their
In addition to financial assistance from Chris and Michelle Sorensen, the "little ballet company that could" had help from the Canadian School of Ballet and the Thomas Alan Budd Foundation.
The company will now officially close its doors with the end of the anniversary tour at the end of April, instead of March 16.
Ballet Kelowna will also have a free public performance at Orchard Park mall, noon-4 p.m. on Feb. 23. The company's spring tour includes a performance at 7:30 p.m. on March 15 at Kelowna Community Theatre. Tickets and more information are available at BalletKelowna.ca.
"Staff will donate time, and board members, sponsors and donors have dug even more deeply," said Maw. However, "it would take a very big white knight to make this a sustainable business model."
Ballet Kelowna has organized a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 13 at Kelowna Art Gallery on Water Street "so that members, dancers, staff, the city, patrons, donors and the public can objectively express their thoughts about the future of rebuilding a dance company," said Maw.
"And possibly starting with a little bit different type of model. I'm not going to conjecture what that might look like. I want to really hear what the community wants to see. We'll be all ears. Maybe some like-minded individuals really want to get re-engaged. Right now, it is very difficult to run a company like this, given the economic times."
"I'm very proud of the entire Ballet Kelowna family and our successful efforts to complete our season as planned," added artistic director David LaHay. "I now ask all of you, our partners in the dance, to help us ensure the legacy continues. Please attend a performance, make a donation or become a member of the Kelowna Ballet Society."
Davin Luce, who has danced with Ballet Kelowna for four years commented: "This company gives Canadian dancers a one-in-a-million opportunity at a career. The loss of Ballet Kelowna would be tragic, not only for the dance community, but also for Kelowna and all the small communities we serve on tour."