Day 46 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet Companies
New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theatre are all large ballet companies. Most of us are not able to attend their performances unless we’re on vacation or they are touring near us. What we have are over one hundred-twenty small companies in and around our medium and large cities. (See the complete list in wikipedia under list_of_ballet_companies_in_United_States) I’d say we’re fortunate to have so many chances to see ballet performed!
The smaller companies maintain between 30 and 50 dancers. They often bring in well-known soloists to dance (and draw in larger audiences). Their seasons consist of four to six programs in addition to the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Each year their dancers are involved in up to 65 performances within their contracted year of approximately 36 weeks running from August to June. Larger companies may have longer seasons, more performances and touring seasons. May well-known companies have ballet academies and school where dancers as young a ten are invited to take lessons with the end goal of being asked to join the parent ballet company when they are old enough.
Like the larger companies the small ones have outreach programs and summer academies to involve young dancers and other community members. They also hold auditions and recruit from many countries around the world. Often the artistic directors are former dancers. All dance companies seek sponsors to offset the cost of performances (costumes, pointe shoes, sets, musicians, advertising, etc). Many also receive funding from the NEA: National Endowment for the Arts. Approximately one in eight Americans attend dance-related performances every year. I’m hoping you are one of those who find dance of interest.
In 84 Ribbons I used the strictures of a small ballet company: size of company, number of performances a season, length of contract and holding open auditions to add new members. The artistic director of the Intermountain Ballet Company, Madame Cosper, is a former dancer. Unfortunately for Marta,but fortunately for the story, she’s an embittered former dancer who’s set her sights on Marta. Stay tuned: book two, When the Music Stops, will reveal why that happened.