Silicon Valley Ballet dancers in company class last year. Photo by Quinn Wharton.
According to an article posted today on the San Jose Mercury News' website, Silicon Valley Ballet has shut down. While it's deeply sad to see a ballet company close up shop, the announcement doesn't come as surprise. The troupe has faced several major funding setbacks recently, including the loss of significant donor John Fry (of Fry's Electronics) and looming tax issues. Just last March, the company was in the midst of a desperate 10-day midseason campaign to stay open. It gathered enough money to complete its season, and in September, Ballet San Jose officially donned the new name Silicon Valley Ballet, signaling a positive new chapter in the country's tech capital.
But the company remained unsteady. Even the leadership and star power of former American Ballet Theatre dancer José Manuel Carreño—along with positive performance reviews and a recent tour to Spain (which was funded by a foreign donor)—wasn't enough to overcome its longtime financial troubles.
The Mercury News reports that the closure affects about 32 dancers and another 32 staff members. Millicent Powers, co-chair of the company's board, is quoted saying, "We need to do the right thing for our artists, which is to let them go and audition for other things." With most major auditions already wrapped up by this time of the year, our heart goes out to the dancers who are now without a contract for next season.
If there is any silver lining to this story, it's that the Silicon Valley Ballet School will likely stay open but under different leadership.