A new face for Ballet Kelowna

Ballet Kelowna
Ballet Kelowna's 2013-14 season is shaping up to be a good one, despite nearly collapsing last spring.
— image credit: Contributed

One year after Ballet Kelowna was nearly forced to close its doors, the company is ready for a new season and a new director.

“It’s fantastic to witness what has happened,” said Kelowna-based non-profit consultant John Grimes, who worked on the revival. “Sometimes a great challenge can make an organization much stronger. There’s a deep passion in this community for ballet and dance and the arts, and for the richer quality of life they bring. When you tap into that level of passion, as Ballet Kelowna has done, the future is not about challenges anymore, it’s about opportunities.”

Among those opportunities will be the replacement of founding artistic director David LaHay, who will step away from the company he created this spring.

“I’m proud of the outstanding performances that our dancers have brought to the province over the years. I love being with our dancers who are working in the studio now, preparing for the upcoming tour and our season finalé in Kelowna,” said LaHay. “But I’m also extremely excited about where the next generation of dancers, and a new artistic director, will take the company. The possibilities are exhilarating.”

The company credits the outpouring of support from audiences, members, and donors for the revival.

“Together, we’ve certainly done what many people thought was impossible,” said new board president Deborah Ward.“…And it’s more than simple optimism. The proof is in the numbers. Our 2013-14 season got off to a terrific start, with sold out holiday performances of The Nutcracker with the Canadian School of Ballet. Our finances are stable, and we’re operating in the black again. Membership has also virtually tripled over the past year.”

Former executive director, Alison Moore, who has returned to the helm of the company on an interim basis during the transition, said there is strong interest among a number of well-qualified professionals to take the position.

The previous board named a dire financial situation, lack of attendance and LeHay's impending retirement among its reasons for trying to shut the company down last February.

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