Texas Ballet Theater Cuts Performances, Pay

Despite the ballet finding the popular spotlight with the success of the movie Black Swan, the art form is still struggling to find audiences in Dallas-Fort Worth. The Texas Ballet Theater, which is celebrating its 50th year, announced it would cut dancers’ pay by 5.7 percent and will cancel four June performances of Don Quixote at the Winspear Opera House as “’pre-emptive’ financial move.” From the Star-Telegram:

McCann said the downsizing was at least partially connected to the scrapping of the March 5 Ballet Gala benefit in Dallas, which faced competition from two large charity events the same day and sold just 200 tickets, which began at $500. Some patrons requested refunds and others attended a performance at the company’s Fort Worth studio, she said.

Still, she said the regional dance company was in relatively good shape — considering what arts groups across the recession-hit nation have been experiencing — ending the 2010-11 fiscal year on June 30 with no red ink. The company is considering a reduction of dates at expensive venues like the Winspear and Bass Hall, and performing at less expensive facilities next season, she said.

It is that last bit that I find curious and potentially troubling: that the new facilities that have been built to house the North Texas arts are too expensive for struggling, if laudable performance arts companies to use. That is not a good sign.