BW REPORTS BANNER YEAR
Record ticket sales, robust giving, and extensive touring highlight Ballet West’s 2015 Fiscal Year
SALT LAKE CITY – July 7, 2015 – Record-breaking ticket sales, robust institutional and private giving, expansion and phenomenal growth of the Ballet West Academy, along with a successful matching campaign that resulted in the complete elimination of operational debt, made Ballet West’s 2015 Fiscal Year (ended June 30) one of the most successful in the organization’s history.
“The artistry sells itself,” said Scott Altman, Executive Director, “But our marketing and development teams also instituted a cadre of new initiatives that led to an extraordinary year. Ballet West’s 2014-15 Season proved that the people of Utah have a one-of-a-kind passion for dance and a hunger for internationally-renowned artistry, as they came out in huge numbers to support what we do.”
The season’s ticket sales shattered long-held records, including The Nutcracker which was the highest-grossing production of this holiday institution in the Company’s 51-year history. Season opener, Giselle was the second-highest grossing fall production ever, and Swan Lake was the highest grossing non-Nutcracker production in the history of the organization. Innovations, which introduces audiences to cutting-edge choreographers, also had its highest-grossing run since its inception eight years ago. Overall, ticket sales were up 16 percent over the previous year.
In addition to robust sales at home, the Company also had one of the most extensive and successful touring seasons in its history. Dancers performed The Nutcracker to sold-out houses in December for a week at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. In March, the Company took New York City by storm, doing robust business at the historic Joyce Theater. Tours to Aspen, CO, Victoria B.C., and Dallas, TX were also well-received and well-attended.
“I am so pleased that audiences are coming out in record numbers to experience the great artistry of Ballet West,” said Artistic Director Adam Sklute. “Our dancers are performing brilliantly at every level of the roster, and we are producing a wide and artistically diverse repertoire. It is thrilling to see an infrastructure being built to move the vision of our Founder Willam Christensen into the 21st Century and beyond.”
Dramatic gains were also achieved by the Ballet West Academy, one of the premier dance-education institutions in the country. The addition of the spectacular new Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation Ballet West Academy at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, as well as the addition of three dedicated studios at the new Jessie Eccles Quinney Ballet Centre, and two studios at Trolley Square, led to a 70 percent growth in revenue from the Academy, which currently has a roster of almost 550 students. “The Academy is a compelling story, as the greater dance community is recognizing the incredible talent the facility is producing. Additionally, parents and students are noticing and enrolling in record numbers,” said Altman.
Perhaps most notable during the 2014-15 Season was the elimination of the Company’s $2.2 million operational debt after a 12-month campaign. Many prominent and passionate donors stepped-up to contribute to – and complete – a “Million-Dollar Match,” marking the first time in 33 years the company will be operationally debt-free. With the fiscal priorities no longer focused on retiring operational debt and debt servicing, the Company may place even more emphasis on artistic programming, along with Education and Outreach initiatives and the Academy.
Last month, reflecting on the improved outlook for the Company, Ballet West’s Board of Trustees approved an overall budget increase of 11 percent for fiscal year 2016, putting its annual budget over $11 million for the first time in its history. Victor Rickman, outgoing Chairman of the Board, said, “I couldn’t be more proud of having served as Board Chair during one of the most successful and exciting periods in Ballet West’s history. Scott Altman and his team have worked hard to place the company in excellent financial health — the best in years — and Adam Sklute and our artists are receiving well-deserved accolades, both nationally and internationally.”
“Ballet West’s cultural significance within Utah is unmistakable,” said Altman. “Continued touring nationally and internationally will leverage our brand to help the economic development of the entire region. And, with our overall momentum, the potential growth of Ballet West is boundless. This watershed moment is made possible by the many who have come before and helped align the building blocks for the future. For a Company that’s already 51 years old, the future is bright with new possibilities.”
Joshua Jones, Associate Director of Press and Social Media
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