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Ballet Arizona's death-threat survival
Results for the fiscal year ended June 30 indicate Ballet Arizona may have pulled itself out of near-disaster.

The company's debt, which threatened to close its doors last fall, has been reduced over the past season by more than $300,000. "We are definitely on the upswing," said Managing Director, Shari New.

On September 15 last year, Ballet Arizona was walking a precarious tightrope, with literally days to go before it would be forced to close its doors.

"Barring any miracles, Ballet Arizona will cease operations at 4pm September 20,” Gwen Hillis, chairman of the company's board of directors, reported to the press at the time. "We are simply out of money."

Rescue donations arrived from patrons just in time, and the company was able to stage The Nutcracker, which every year provides the company with nearly 50 percent of its income.

A small company, with just 18 dancers, Ballet Arizona has emerged from its trauma with a clear artistic vision – credited to Artistic Director Ib Andersen, a former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer who stepped into the role last year.

His recently announced 2001/2 season features the company’s first ever full-length Swan Lake.

"My intention is to make this company better and better, while at the same time expanding the audience," said Andersen in an interview with The Arizona Republic. "Dancing something like the full-length Swan Lake is the only way we can evolve as a company."

Despite the positive year-end results, Ballet Arizona is not yet out of the woods. "Our total debt in July 2000 was $1.134 million. It's now $826,000," said Ms New. However, a three-year grant awarded by the Flinn Foundation, totalling $398,040, will help to balance the books.

Mon Jul 16 2001 (8:01:14 PM)