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Long Beach Ballet To Court Donors

January 16, 1987|LEWIS SEGAL | Times Dance Writer

The 5-year-old Long Beach Ballet has announced plans for a campaign to lure institutional donors to help pay off $100,000 in debts and fund its current season.

The company board of directors has promised up to $75,000 in a two-for-one matching grant that expires March 31, artistic director David Wilcox confirmed Wednesday.

The campaign is designed to expand the company's support from donations rather than ticket sales. Donations now constitute only 15%--and ticket sales 85%--of the company's income, Wilcox said.

He called the 15% figure "very lean" compared with what he called "a national average of 50%" in donated income for comparable arts organizations.

"We haven't spent enough time on seeking corporate and other institutional donations," he said. Campaign plans call for a fund-raising performance in March in addition to solicitations from potential institutional donors and company subscribers.

Although Long Beach Ballet still plans to premiere a new version of "Rite of Spring" on Feb. 20 in the Center Theater, Wilcox acknowledged that the company's disappointing December "Nutcracker" mini-tour of Southern California caused "a bit of a cash-flow problem."

In Palm Springs, four Long Beach Ballet "Nutcracker" performances were canceled due to poor advance sales, and the turnout for four performances in Riverside averaged only 40% of the auditorium's capacity.

Wilcox denied that a financial crisis exists.

"The company currently owes $50,000 less than it did six months ago," he said. Wilcox does not expect to seek more money from the city of Long Beach, which provided the company with 13% of the city's arts allocations last year.

Long Beach Ballet productions for 1986 included a mixed bill at the Center Theater in February, a full-length "Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Terrace Theater in September as well as the annual "Nutcracker" performance at the Terrace Theater.

Beyond the December tour, the Long Beach "Nutcracker" was also seen in excerpts in the annual daylong community Christmas program telecast on KCET-TV from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

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