Atlanta Ballet 86th Annual Meeting Prepares For Success
Good news, excitement and high energy were in abundance at Atlanta Ballet's 86th annual meeting, recently held at the Northern Trust Wealth Management offices, which officially brought the 2016 fiscal year and 2015-16 performance season to a close. Under the leadership of President and CEO Arturo Jacobus, the organization completed the season debt free and with a balanced operating budget.
Financial highlights included:
· $3.35 million in box office sales - the highest ticket revenue for the Company in the last 21 seasons
· School revenue exceeding $2.2 million
· $4.32 million in annual support
The leadership also recognized other organizational announcements and season successes, such as:
· Welcoming celebrated San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Gennadi Nedvigin as Atlanta Ballet's fourth artistic director in its 87-year history
· Celebrating the 20th anniversary of John McFall's "Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker" at The Fox Theatre
· Former Atlanta Ballet dancer Christine Welker's appointment as principal of Centre for Dance Education's Powers Ferry location
· General Manager Bradley Renner's selection to participate in the DeVos Institute of Arts Management's highly esteemed fellowship program
Annual meeting business also included the approval of its 2016-17 officers and the appointment of three new trustees. Allen Nelson (Crawford & Company) was reelected to his eighth term as chair and will be joined on the executive committee by vice chairs Elizabeth Adams (community volunteer), Kristin Manion Taylor (Delta Air Lines) andDavid Crosland (Crosland Capital, LLC); secretary Kathleen Knous (community volunteer); and treasurer Sue Gibbs (Comcast Corp.).
The Board of Trustees also officially appointed new members (biographies attached):
· Asif Ramji, President & CEO, Paymetric
· J. Allen Maines, Executive Partner, Holland & Knight
· Jon Wright, President & CEO, Access Point Financial
While this year's annual meeting certainly celebrated the 2015-16 season's many outstanding achievements, much of the conversation focused on what lies ahead for the organization. The meeting opened with a detailed presentation from Atlanta Ballet's extended marketing and public relations team (which, in addition to the organization's internal representatives, includes public relations firm Porter Novelli and marketing agency Advertising For Good), outlining an all-inclusive campaign focused on introducing Nedvigin to the public as the Company's new artistic director, generating excitement surrounding his first performance season with the Company, and providing new and old audiences alike with a fresh, new vision for Atlanta Ballet based on artistic excellence.
In addition to leadership remarks from Jacobus, Nedvigin briefed the board on the primary framework of a strategic plan for his artistic vision. The plan will span three years, and will not only create a blueprint for success, but define the overall approach to achieving the goals and objectives set for the organization as a whole.
"Atlanta Ballet is now perfectly poised for a giant leap forward to reach its full potential - both artistically and organizationally. At no other time in this organization's history have the stars been so perfectly aligned," said Jacobus. "With a high-performing, highly collaborative and collegial team of artistic and executive leadership, a strong and supportive board and an ever more burnished brand, there is no limit to what this organization can achieve."
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Celebrations on Stage Drive Success at the Box Office
For its 2015-16 season, Atlanta Ballet celebrated the leadership and artistic vision of John McFall, who announced his retirement as artistic director last August after 21 seasons. The performance season highlighted some of the creative visionary's most successful works and inventive collaborations from the past two decades. December marked the 20th anniversary of McFall's "Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker" at The Fox Theatre - the first piece he created for the Company after his appointment in 1994. The perennial favorite not only exceeded its revenue goal, but broke its box office record for the third straight year, bringing in a total of $2.4 million in sales.
Other season highlights included Atlanta Ballet's restaging of box office hit "Moulin Rouge ® - The Ballet," the debut of three new works, including a world premiere by choreographer and artistic director of New York's Gallim Dance Andrea Miller, a world premiere by British choreographer Douglas Lee, and an Atlanta premiere of Spanish chorographer Gustavo Ramirez Sansano's "El Beso."
Company Reputation Excels with Artistic and Administrative Leadership Opportunities
Atlanta Ballet welcomed Gennadi Nedvigin, former principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet, as the company's fourth artistic director in the Company's 87-year history. Gennadi has a reputation as one of the most celebrated dancers of our current era, and Atlanta Ballet is pleased and proud to have attracted someone of his stature in the ballet world to take the Company to new heights.
In July, some of the greatest ballet dancers from around the world gathered in Guadalajara, Mexico, for Despertares, an annual celebration of the art of dance. This was Nedvigin's third invitation from creator Isaac Hernandez to perform at the international ballet gala, which marked his last dance as a professional dancer. Upon his appointment as Atlanta Ballet's new artistic director, Gennadi announced that he would attend the festival under the Company's affiliation, and that Atlanta Ballet veteran dancer Nadia Mara would accompany him to Mexico.
Adding distinction to the organization's administrative staff, Atlanta Ballet General Manager Bradley Renner was selected to be a participant in the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland's highly competitive fellowship prograM. Renner is one of 13 arts managers from six countries selected from a field of more than 450 applicants world-wide, accrediting the fellowship as a preeminent arts management program on an international scale. He returned in July from the first four-week intensive of a three-year consecutive program.
Unprecedented Foundation Support Leads to Successful Year for Fundraising Team
It was an outstanding year for Atlanta Ballet on the fundraising front, as well. Under the direction of Chief Advancement Officer Steven Libman, the development team exceeded its goals in annual giving. The big news this year was an unprecedented gift of $1.25 million from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. On the annual fundraising front, Atlanta Ballet is projecting annual fund support of $4.32 million - an increase of nearly $300,000 over last year.
Centre for Dance Education Builds on Reputation and Expands Community Connection
School tuition brought in an impressive $2.24 million this year. Building on its already stellar reputation, Atlanta Ballet's Centre for Dance Education announced that former Company dancer, Christine Welker (formerly known on-stage by her maiden name Winkler), was named Powers Ferry Centre principal. A beloved veteran of the organization, Welker will share her training and firsthand knowledge of a professional career with the next generation of young dancers. Her presence at the Powers Ferry location promises significant increases in tuition in the coming year and beyond.
Additionally, the Centre continued to broaden its footprint in the community this year with the expansion of Atlanta Ballet's AileyCamp, a program developed through a partnership with the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. Atlanta Ballet's AileyCamp is a summer program which uses dance as a vehicle for developing self-esteem, creative expression and critical thinking skills. Thanks to the generosity of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, City of Atlanta's Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Georgia Council for the Arts, Atlanta Ballet was able to expand the camp from two-weeks to six-weeks, providing a free intensive camp for nearly 100 middle-school aged children from underserved communities. Further deepening its community connection, the Centre's community programming also includes Healthy Living Day and Kids In Step, as well as presence at Camp Twin Lakes.
The 2017 fiscal year officially kicked off on August 1. The Atlanta-based, 23-member Company returned to the studio on August 9 after summer hiatus to prepare for the 2016-17 season, which will include the beloved "Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker," "David Bintley's Carmina Burana" in February, "Gennadi's Choice" in March (which will includePaquita, a captivating piece by choreographer Liam Scarlett, and a world premiere from emerging choreographer Gemma Bond), "Firebird" in April, and a ballet based on "Camino Real" by Tennessee Williams in May. For more information about Atlanta Ballet and its Centre for Dance Education, please visit www.atlantaballet.com.