Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ballet Volunteer Meet and Greet

I went to the Doctor Phillips Performing Arts Center at 1111 North Orange Avenue to a Ballet volunteer meet and greet. I arrived a little early and was asked to wait in a lounge area. I peaked back into the dressing rooms and the rehearsal halls and tried to imagine the place bustling with activity. Areas of the concrete floor had pools of water and stepping stones to get across the small lakes. The building used to be a pumping station and the ground floor is below the high water table of the lake across the street so anytime there is a heavy rain the place floods.
Jeff Garcia seen seated on the stool in my sketch, explained to the 30 or so people assembled that the ballet has 200 or so volunteers on its roster. Beside Jim was Kim who is in charge of development and publications.
The Ballet has a new Executive Director coming in starting September first. It is still to early to announce who that is. Robert Hill is the Ballets new artistic director. He is helping make the Ballet more relavant for the world we live in today. He is focusing on much more modern Ballet with a few of the classics. Jeff explained that the Ballet is not going away, meaning they will not go bankrupt like the Opera which used to have board meeting in the room we were meeting in. The Ballet now uses the whole Dr. Phillips building. They plan to survive in these difficult times by cutting costs wherever possible and relying on volunteer help whenever possible. If the Ballet makes $10 it will only spend $8. They no longer plan to operate along old established ABC operating norms. They will no longer send mail because of the cost. Instead they plan to rely on phone calls and e-mail.
There are many exciting fund raising events coming which will rely on volunteer help. There will be a casino night fundraiser, a Christmas gift exchange with the dancers, help is needed in the Ballet Boutique found in the Dr, Phillips Center. There is a luncheon coming up with 2 dancers as guest speakers. On February 19th of next years there will be a Latin night at the convention Center and on November 12th there will be the grand opening of the Waldorf Astoria with a Ballet Performance.
From what Jeff said, it sounds like the Ballet is as vibrant and active as ever and it is making changes that will keep it vibrant in today's economy.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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