Ballet San Jose Will Keep Dancing
, Ballet San Jose, which former American Ballet Theatre star José Manuel Carreño took over in 2013 after a shakeup with then artistic director Dennis Nahat, announced that it would have to close if it didn’t raise $550,000 through a do-or-die “Bridge to the Future” campaign. It was looking a little grim as time passed. With just days left, the company had only raised half of the funds. Thankfully, by the deadline on this past Saturday, BSJ said that it exceeded its fundraising goal by nearly $100,000. A major portion of those final dollars was thanks to the City of San Jose, which gave the company emergency grant money.
As happy as I am that Ballet San Jose won’t be shutting its doors, it’s hard not to be skeptical about the company’s future. In a press release, BSJ said that it must raise $3.5 million by October to remodel the organization into a sustainable one. It has privately already raised $500,000. But that leaves a lot to go. The company is going to have to comb through not only its finances, but the kind of rep it will take on in the future. A good indication that big changes are coming: The company plans to change its name to Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley in September, in a move that I assume is to better identify itself with the thriving tech community there.
Can BSJ push through? There are success stories from the past. The Joffrey Ballet did years ago by moving to Chicago from New York City in 1995. Oregon Ballet Theatre did a last-resort fundraising campaign during the financial crisis in 2009. Hopefully, we’ll be referencing BSJ’s comeback story—like this uplifting feature we did in 2011 about companies surviving economic downturn—some years down the line.