Curtain may fall on Ballet Oklahoma

Sunday, July 20th 2008, 11:02 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - Ballet Oklahoma needs money and support or the curtain may fall for good on the local dancing company.

James Williams, a ballet performer, has joined other performers, parents and supporters to express fears and frustrations with the future of the Ballet Oklahoma group.

"I know there's people in this community that want to fund the arts. I don't understand why we're having this problem," Williams said.

The problem, according to sources, is a $400,000 debt that was recently paid off, but there's still a lack of money needed for the upcoming season. The group is finding few supporters in the community.

"If we can have an NBA team, we can have a ballet company," said ballet performer Emily Fine. "That's huge. We don't have a lot of arts in Oklahoma City."

Nobody, including a member of the board of directors, have said why or how the group went into deep debt, but the troubles increased following the resignation of the group's former director.

The new focus is finding the money necessary to keep the upcoming ballet shows scheduled. If not, the board of directors may either fold all together, or merge the group with the Tulsa Ballet company.

The Tulsa dance group operates on a $4.5 million budget while Ballet Oklahoma has a $1.5 million budget.

Supporters said combining the two would only benefit Tulsa's art community and leave little left for OKC.

The Ballet Oklahoma board of directors will meet Monday night to make a decision.