The 40 dancers of the Texas Ballet Theater have started their own fundraising drive for the financially troubled company, which needs $2 million in pledges and at least $500,000 of that in cash by mid-September. Get Behind Your Ballet will hold a day-long fundraising sale this Saturday, Sept. 6, beginning at 8 p.m. at the TBT’s studios on Greek Oaks Road near Ridgmar Mall.
If holding raffles and a silent auction may seem small potatoes considering the size of the TBT’s needs, the dancers cite the 1974 example of the San Francisco Ballet. Taking to the streets with its S.O.B. campaign (“Save Our Ballet”), the ensemble there staved off bankruptcy by raising $2 million — with most of the donations under $100.
In a column for the Star-Telegram, interim managing director Margo McCann asked for donations, no matter how small, but also said that the TBT had put its own financial house in order:
For the first time to my knowledge, we have a business plan that identifies many strengths within the organization and addresses weaknesses. We have open communication between staff, board, dancers, venues and creditors.
A balanced budget has been passed that includes cuts, such as live musical accompaniment for this season, fewer performances in Dallas and a shorter contract for the dancers. Such cuts are not popular or easy to make but are required and responsible decisions for the health and security of the company.
Conservative budget projections are in place for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. The ballet staff, though not large, shares many years of expertise in our respective fields. I have personally consulted with two experienced crisis management and turnaround specialists. Both believe that we have taken the proper first steps toward recovery.
For whatever combination of reasons, North Texas is an area where dance companies have found it extremely hard to survive over the years. People interested in donating to the Texas Ballet Theater — the last professional ballet company we have — can go here.