James Jones, artistic director of South Coast Ballet since 1984, has resigned from the fledgling Costa Mesa-based company to pursue free-lance opportunities in Boston.
"Orange County has yet to come alive in terms of (local) dance," Jones said recently. "I need to do something now. I can't wait to see New York City Ballet (on tour to Orange County) every two years. I need to be stimulated."
Jones, 34, added, "I would like to come back to Orange County sometime. But this is just not the right time (for local dance)."
Jones' resignation became effective on July 16. He said he hopes to become associated with the Boston Ballet but that nothing is definite. "I'm just going (to the area)."
Jones departure leaves the future of the South Coast Ballet uncertain. According to Martha Morgan, secretary of the ballet company's 12-member board of directors, "Our plans right now are to regroup."
Morgan said, however, the board has not met and has no plans to meet.
"Jim is irreplaceable," Morgan said. "He has been the driving force behind the ballet. It will be difficult to continue without him. . . . However, we're hopeful that the company will remain viable and that we will be able to continue.
"We're struggling so hard to raise funds. Our budget for 1985 was $50,000. This year, we've done no fund raising or (theater) performing because we don't want to go into debt. But it's so hard to come up with money. The City of Costa Mesa has been generous and has offered us small grants. But a professional company needs large seed money."
South Coast Ballet was formed in 1981. Jones became artistic director in 1984 and also began teaching dance at UC Irvine.
Under his direction, the company gave concert programs at UCI and at various Southland locations, including the annual Southern California Home and Garden Show in Anaheim, in 1985 and 1986.
The company is scheduled to perform at the 33rd Home and Garden show at the Anaheim Convention Center, Aug. 15-23.
The troupe also appeared with Olympic double gold medal winner Greg Louganis in a touring diving show called "Spectacular Splash" in 1985. Louganis had studied ballet with Jones when he was a student at UCI and also took private lessons with him.
Jones moved the company into its present studios at the Jimmie De Fore Dance Center in Costa Mesa in June, 1986.
In January, 1986, South Coast Ballet was affiliated with Orange County businessman Bud Corbin when Corbin launched the Marguerite Amilita Hoffman Ballet Competition, named in honor of his mother, at UCI.
The competition was expanded to a national competition and was held at UCLA earlier this month.