Donors have come forward to save Ballet Kelowna’s 10th anniversary season, if not the company itself.
“This temporary financial reprieve allows us to finish our season at the end of April, as originally planned, and importantly, it protects our out-of-town presenters while allowing our dancers to take their message across the province,” said Ballet Kelowna president Jamie Maw and artistic director David LaHay in a joint statement released Thursday.
From local philanthropists like Chris and Michelle Sorensen to The Canadian School of Ballet, and the Thomas Alan Budd Foundation it appears offers of assistance have come out of the woodwork to help the company since the surprise announcement late last week that the ballet would pull the conclusion of its 10th anniversary season and close its doors due to financial distress.
“Staff will donate time, and board members, sponsors and donors have dug even more deeply,” Maw said, noting the funding will still only buy a six-week extension to their work.
“I’m very proud of the entire Ballet Kelowna family and our successful efforts to complete our season as planned. 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,” artistic director LaHay added.
The company is scheduled to suspend operations at the end of April, but will convene a town hall meeting next week on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the Kelowna Art Gallery where anyone who wants to speak will be invited to “objectively express their thoughts about the future of dance in the Okanagan.”
“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,” said Davin Luce, who has danced with Ballet Kelowna for four years.
On Saturday, Feb. 23 the company will offer a free public performance at Orchard Park Shopping Centre and residents of Kelowna can still see the final performance in this community mid-March. The extension is largely to allow the company to finish touring other B.C. communities.
Flower Power, Ballet Kelowna’s annual garden tour, will be still be held June 15. Information can be found at balletkelowna.ca