After cancelling the last 2 programs of its Season, The Sarasota Ballet will continue to pay its dancers through to the end of their contracts.
Sarasota, FL (March 26, 2020) – With six weeks until the end of The Sarasota Ballet’s Season, and the March performances of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Romeo & Juliet cancelled the week prior, on Tuesday March 17th, the dancers of The Sarasota Ballet were informed that the entirety of the Company’s remaining Season had been cancelled due to the Covid-19 Crisis. However, on the heels of that difficult announcement, Director Iain Webb, Executive Director Joseph Volpe, and Assistant Director Margaret Barbieri informed the 34 Company Members, 8 Apprentices, and 13 Studio Company dancers that while their Season had been cancelled, The Sarasota Ballet would continue to pay their salaries and medical insurance through to the end of their contracts.
“Iain, Margaret, and I felt strongly that even with the financial losses that The Sarasota Ballet is incurring by cancelling two of our most important programs of the Season, we could not just lay off our dancers and effectively abandon them at this critical moment,” explains Volpe.
Webb adds, “We also recognized that while many of our dancers have made their homes here in Sarasota, and others would be able to easily return to their home states/countries, many of the Company were not going to be so lucky. With our dancers from countries like Italy, who are unable to return to their families, we have assured them that we will help in whatever ways we can.”
The Sarasota Ballet estimates a loss of over $800,000, not including potential losses in fundraising revenue and the potential impact to the 30th Anniversary season. The Company is asking audience members to donate their tickets, and to consider making a gift to The Sarasota Ballet Emergency Fund. Lauren Ostrander, a dancer with the Company says, “The decision that The Sarasota Ballet has made, regarding the dancers, has set the standard for ballet companies across the country.”
Len Egert, National Executive Director for the American Guild of Musical Artists, likewise adds “As I said during interviews with The New York Times and The New Yorker, Iain, Joe, and Margaret’s level of commitment to their dancers is to be greatly commended. Across the country, so many artists are being laid off, but The Sarasota Ballet is changing that narrative.”
Contacting The Sarasota Ballet
To donate tickets or for additional performance information, patrons can contact The Sarasota Ballet Box Office at 941.359.0099.
To make a gift to The Sarasota Ballet Emergency Fund, patrons can contact either Sara Robinson, Director of Development, at 941.225.6504 | [email protected] or Lauren Stroman, Development Officer, at 941.225.6510 | [email protected].
About The Sarasota Ballet
Since 1990, the mission of The Sarasota Ballet has been enriching lives, captivating emotions, and strengthening the community through the art of dance. Under the leadership of Director Iain Webb, Executive Director Joseph Volpe, and Assistant Director Margaret Barbieri, The Sarasota Ballet has received national and international recognition for its diverse repertoire of rarely performed ballets, as well as the integrity and artistry of its performances. The Company’s expanded repertoire includes works by world-renowned choreographers such as Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Sir Matthew Bourne, Dame Ninette de Valois, Michel Fokine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Rudolf Nureyev, Jerome Robbins, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Antony Tudor, and Christopher Wheeldon. During Webb’s tenure, The Sarasota Ballet has been invited to perform twice at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and twice at the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center, as well as week-long residencies at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Joyce Theater in New York. In May 2017 The Sarasota Ballet performed at the inaugural National Choreographic Festival in Salt Lake City and in August of 2018 returned to the Joyce Theater for another sold out week-long residency.