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Dance Troupe Leaves Pasadena for San Gabriel

November 03, 1994|CYNTHIA WALKER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Pasadena Dance Theatre has found a new home in the city of San Gabriel, which has gladly signed a three-year contract with the group, establishing its official residency at the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium.

Although the dance company has performed "The Nutcracker" ballet annually at the 1,500-seat auditorium for the past 14 years, the city's decision to formally recognize the group as an in-house resident was based on the successful long-term relationship between San Gabriel and the dance group, as well as the projected economic and cultural benefits to San Gabriel, said Bill Shaw, general manager of the auditorium.

"We are very happy to have them here," Shaw said. "This is a tremendous step forward for the cultural growth of the community."

The dance company, founded in 1963 and based in Pasadena, has rarely performed in that city because of the lack of affordable venues, said Charles Fuller, artistic director of the company.

"The Pasadena Civic Auditorium sits there vacant half the time because it's too expensive to rent," Fuller said. "The city gives us no concessions, and the San Gabriel (theater) is very affordable."

The Pasadena Civic Auditorium, which seats 2,500, has nightly rental fees of at least $1,000 plus labor expenses, according to dance company officials, making it hard for lesser-known groups to rent and fill it. The auditorium declined to confirm those prices, but Denise Nelson Nash, executive director of the city of Pasadena arts division, conceded there is a lack of medium-size, affordable performance spaces in Pasadena.

The Music Theatre of Southern California, which has been performing at the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium for 11 years, officially accepted residency there this month.

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