The Orlando Ballet seeks to entertain, educate and enrich the cultural growth of our community through the highest quality of dance.
On August 22, 2013, the start of the 40th anniversary season, Orlando Ballet was directed to vacate its headquarters since 1992, due to high levels of mold. School classes relocated to its satellite studios and Company to Disney complex August 29-September 28. On September 30 the Company rented studio in downtown Orlando. Despite the challenges, the season opened at Bob Carr on October 18-20 with Tribute featuring selections from Swan Lake, La Corsaire, Carmen, and others. A one-hour production of Snow White was performed at the Bob Carr for 16,000 Orange County Public School students October 15-18, as well as the public October 19 and November 9-10 at the Garden Theater. The season continued December 19-22 with The Nutcracker, accompanied by Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.
The New Year opened with Romeo & Juliet February 14-16, followed by Some Assembly Required March 14-16, and closed with Carmen April 11-13. Two performances of Beauty and the Beast on April 12 and Uncorked! at The Abbey September 24, January 21 and March 4.
In December administrative and box office moved into space donated by Florida Hospital. After an extensive search a 3-year lease was signed on a privately owned warehouse adjacent to the new administration building. The Central School moved on December 19 and final construction was completed in May 2014.
The 2014/15 season opens at Bob Carr with Vampire’s Ball October 17-19, Peter & the Wolf October 14-18 at Bob Carr and October 25-26 at the Garden Theater. Following, the season moves to Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts with The Nutcracker December 19-21, Swan Lake January 23-25; The Swan Princess January 24, Battle of the Sexes March 6-8; and concludes with Coppelia May 1-3 and The Magical Princess Doll May 2 and April 11-12 at the Garden Theatre. Special performances include Uncorked! at the Abbey September 30, January 13 and March 24 and A Choreographers’ Showcase in partnership with Cirque du Soleil February 23.
Our attention will turn to planning for our 2014-15 season debut in the new Dr. Phillips Performing Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of Orlando. As the resident dance company for the Center, we are excited about this opportunity and anticipate a positive impact on ticket sales and philanthropic giving.
The Orlando Ballet serves several counties including Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Volusia and Hillsborough and is part of the larger geographic area referred to as Central Florida. The Central Florida area supports a diverse population of more than 3 million.
· To continue the tradition begun in 1974; the creation of classically trained company that has technical and theatrical ability to excite and inspire its audiences.
· To develop a diverse repertoire, preserving the classical masterworks and embracing the future with innovative works that will enrich the art of ballet.
· To maintain a school committed to superior dance instruction and training for individuals of all ages, with an international reputation.
· To reach out to the community through lecture demonstrations, school workshops, performances, and other educational projects, expanding audiences’ understand of the art form and promoting a sense of inclusion in the Orlando Ballet family.
· Expand all aspects of Orlando Ballet’s community outreach programs to meet the needs of Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties.
· Continue live music accompaniment at The Nutcracker performances and expand throughout the season’s repertoire by hiring the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.
· Aggressively pursue new funding sources including foundation grants, corporate sponsorships and major individual gifts to increase contributed income throughout the organization.
· Strategically work to broaden the organization's audience base.
Despite these unexpected challenges, recent loss of its home of 22-years and moving transition, the Ballet has been proactive to assure the organization becomes fiscally stable.
Under new leadership Orlando Ballet is implementing sound business plan and developing a new long term plan. The new plan will address projected artistic and school programming, financial challenges, expanded fundraising and marketing efforts through 2017.
In addition, the organization will focus on plans for a permanent home and future capital campaign.
The building transition in FY14 had an impact on the organization financially with one-time cash expenses associated with relocating and capital improvements totaling $246,922. Thanks to Baker Barrios Architect, Jack Jennings & Sons and dozens of local contractors, more than $250,000 in pro bono labor was received, combined with more than $80,000 in cash contributions, the hardship was lessened. The 2014/15 budget reflects predictable revenues, cost cutting measures, transition into a new performing venue, and aggressive fundraising.
Since 2011 Orlando Ballet has functioned without the leadership of a consistent Executive Director. Following an extensive search, the Ballet is pleased to announce James E. Mitchell has accepted the position as Executive Director effective June 2. Mitchell has over 30 years of arts management experience and combined with the Ballet’s senior leadership, the board feels confident he will move organizations forward and ensure stability.
In FY14 board governance and fundraising efforts strengthened which has resulted in 100% board giving and improved attendance. In FY15 the board plans to recruit 4-6 new members from diverse backgrounds and geographic areas. The Ballet is proud of the efforts it has made during a challenging year. Efforts have resulted in decreased spending while maintaining a professional Company and School. Creative budgeting has allowed the organization to relocate, maintain live music, and transition to DPC, paving the way for a strong future with increased ticket revenue, School enrollment and tuition income, and contributed income.
Success of the Orlando Ballet School programs is evaluated by student success in national and international dance competitions and students ability to obtain professional dance employment after graduation. Students receive bi-annual written evaluations by master teachers and a six member Parent/Student Committee meet annually to provide feedback to the staff.
STEPS Program participants are evaluated on both academic and behavioral scales by academic teachers in the school system. The program has been shown to limit the incidence of at-risk related behavior with academic school teachers reporting an 80% marked memory and behavioral improvement, 82% in motor skills, and 92% in self-esteem. Approximately 80% of students currently enrolled in the STEPS program show improvement on the comprehensive scale of academics and behavior. Students also receive semi-annual evaluations on their progress in dance class from the Orlando Ballet School faculty.
Students and teachers who participate in the annual Orange County Public School performances (more than 16,000 annually) are regularly surveyed and their comments collected and reviewed by staff. These evaluations are used to continually revamp and improve the program.
The Finance Committee of the Board of Directors meet monthly to review budgets to ensure the organization is operating in a fiscally prudent manner.
The Ballet is proud of the efforts it has made to cut costs and run operations on a lean budget without sacrificing artistic quality. Its efforts have resulted in decreased spending while maintaining the 22 member dance company completely intact. The Ballet’s ability to withstand difficult economic times, organizational transition, and maintain the artistic integrity of the Company is an indication of its ability to plan and react appropriately. FY13 allowed the organization to add live orchestration to its annual production of The Nutcracker and the Bach Festival Society’s orchestra and choir in the presentation of Carmina Burana. In addition, the organization launched its Adaptive Dance pilot program for children with Downs Syndrome in partnership with a local social service/health agency, and has expanded to five mainstage productions in FY14. With the excitement surrounding the completion of the Dr. P. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Center, the Ballet anticipates a steady increase in ticket sales and contributed income in FY15
Since its inception in 1974, the Orlando Ballet has been bringing the best in professional ballet to Central Florida and has become an integral part of its cultural heritage. Today, under the artistic direction of Robert Hill, the Ballet is recognized for its innovative programming, development of new work, and extensive education and outreach programs.
Each season, more than 100,000 captivated theatre-goers, residents and visitors, are spellbound by the originality, vitality and spirit that have earned the organization its critically acclaimed reputation. The Company produces year-round entertainment featuring main stage productions including meticulous staging of timeless masterpieces such asLe Corsaire, Swan LakeandGiselle,innovative contemporary world premieres, ballets for young audiences as part of itsFamily Series,The Nutcrackerfeaturing a live orchestra, performance lecture series, and extensive education and community outreach programs.
The Orlando Ballet employs a full-time professional company of national and international dancers, as well as pre-professional dancer that comprise the Orlando Ballet II Ensemble. This, combined with the Ballet’s award-winning costumes, set, and lighting design teams, results in the highest level of professionalism and artistic excellence.
Moving forward the Company is focused on expanding ballet audiences by expanding programming to more diverse target audiences and attracting new audiences. This includes several run out performances that have been scheduled for Western Orange County and Palm Beach County during the 2011-12 season.
The Orlando Ballet is a FIVE time winner of prestigious competitive awards from the National Endowment for the Arts for Artistic Excellence in dance. Its 2009 NEA award was one of only five awarded in the state of Florida in dance. The other four awards went to Miami based dance companies.
According to the Cultural Tourism Audience Research conducted by the Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau when asked “Has this event increased your awareness of the Orlando area as an Arts and Cultural Destination?” more than 76% of the audience responded in the affirmative.
Bobby Ball, Executive Director of the Colorado Ballet noted in his 2010 evaluation of Orlando Ballet’s FDCA grant “Terrific organization. Have witnessed its steady growth over the years. Amazed at its continuous development in a market that is very competitive for the entertainment dollar."
The Orlando Ballet School, the official school of the Orlando Ballet, was created to enrich the lives of children, train the next generation of artists, and build future audiences. The School is recognized internationally as one of the best professional training academies and attracts more than 1,000 students from around the world.
The School and its two satellite programs, provide year-round professional classic ballet training for students, ages 2-adult, as well as provides performance and touring opportunities, summer intensive training, workshops and master classes, and teacher training programs.
The Orlando Ballet II and the School Trainee Program enable pre-professional students to perform new and classic works for more than 50,000 young and underserved audiences each year, as well as to perform with the Orlando Ballet Company. Graduates of the Orlando Ballet School have gone onto pursing a professional career in dance with many major dance institutions including American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Houston Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and the Orlando Ballet to name a few.
ADAPTIVE DANCE - a program for children with Down Syndrome. This project will be modeled after a program by the same name at Boston Ballet and we will be working closely with the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. This project is still in the development phase with a 6-8 week pilot program to be launched in the Fall of 2012 with the hope of continuing it in the Spring.
STEPS EXPANSION: In the fall of 2011 Orlando Ballet will add a 4th at risk school to the program, Rock Lake Elementary, increasing the number of at risk students served to 85.
EXPANSION OF OBS ACADMEY PROGRAM: OBS had a successful first year with this all-day program for our most advanced students. Next year OBS will add an additional level for younger students interested in a full day training option. OBS will continue to work with K12 International to provide an academic option to our students.
Orlando Ballet School is training more than 1,500 students annually. Orlando Ballet School is the only dance school in the Southeast to receive accreditation from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. The School was recognized as "Best School" by the International Youth America Grand Prix in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009. This year OBS students won the "Gold Medal" at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition and the Princess Grace Award. The recent graduating class received the following offers: full scholarships to The Royal Ballet School of England, Stuttgart Ballet School, Butler and Vassar Universities and more. They received employment with Columbia City Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet among others.
In keeping with the Orlando Ballet’s philosophy that no child who wants to dance or experience dance is denied the opportunity, arts education and community outreach programming remains an annual priority. Programs include STEPS, which provides transportation, dance attire and instruction to more than 60 underserved, low-income second and third graders in Central Florida; Adaptive Dance offers children with Down syndrome a structured creative movement and music experience; complimentary ticket distribution program. Intro to Ballet Program which allows more than 14,000 public school second graders the opportunity to attend Family Series performances throughout the year, and the Ballet’s Scholarship Program offers more than $200,000 in assistance annually to deserving students.
ORLANDO BALLET II (paid professional ensemble of pre-professional dancers who train at OBS): Presented 8 Lecture/Demonstrations and performances to more than 16,000 Orange County Public School 2nd graders in 2010, as well as participating in the Orlando Philharmonic lecture/demonstration program reaching more than 48,000 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students in Orange County.
In addition to providing professional ballet performances throughout the region, the Ballet provides performances and programming that make ballet an inclusive part of the region's arts and cultural offerings.
Orlando Ballet provides curriculum based programming directly to Public School Students in classrooms throughout Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties (literacy programs, lecture demonstrations and master dance classes), through field trips, family inclusive performance opportunities, and through its STEPS and Scholarship Programs. The Ballet's Community Outreach Programs have ensured students are exposed to the arts despite curriculum programming cuts necessitated by State of Florida budget cuts.
The ever-stretched public school system in Florida continues to struggle and funding for arts programs continues to decline. Students who benefit from the free classes that Orlando Ballet provides through scholarships, and the STEPS program are given a unique opportunity that they would not otherwise have. Many of the most committed young dancers come from adverse backgrounds. These exceptional students need and deserve scholarships.
Consistent, exceptional artistic leadership has enabled the Company to achieve significant artistic growth and increasing audience satisfaction levels. Orlando Ballet School has grown from a single location with 230 students to four locations with a combined enrollment of more than 1,500 students. As the level and intensity of the program increases, the school is attracting better and better student candidates. Each star pupil attracts other students, which grows the organizational overall capacity. In 2014 the Orlando Ballet School was awarded "Best School" at the Youth American Grand Prix in NYC.
Jim Mitchell, who has more than 30 years of arts-management experience, will become the new executive director of the Orlando Ballet on June 2. The resident of Fayetteville, Ark., will be the ballet's fourth executive director in four years.
"This is another important and positive step fortifying the trajectory of the Orlando Ballet organization," said Ava Doppelt, chairwoman of the ballet's board, who announced the appointment Wednesday. "In spite of some tremendous difficulties last year, we had one of our most powerful performance seasons ever, the ballet school earned the highest possible international acclaim and we acquired a magnificent new location for our new home. Having an experienced executive director at the helm will enable the organization to excel even further."
The ballet recently struck a deal with the city to take over the old Loch Haven Community Center and transform it into the headquarters for the ballet and its school. As part of the deal, the ballet will have to raise $1.5 million. The ballet was left homeless last fall after mold forced the group out of the old Orlando Utilities Commission building where it had been based for years.
"I am excited and honored to be selected as the next executive director of Orlando Ballet," Mitchell said in a statement. "The creation of a new home for the organization, productions in the new performing arts center, creative education and outreach priorities and the opportunity to work with Robert Hill's artistry and energy are a formula for success."
Former executive director Juan Escalante left the organization in 2011. He was briefly replaced by Mark Hough, who resigned after four months. Ron Legler, who recently moved to Baltimore, had been serving as interim executive director.
Mitchell has a bachelor of arts degree in economics and business administration from Rhodes College, as well as dual master's degrees in business administration and arts administration from Southern Methodist University.
Mitchell's experience includes management, marketing, development and consulting. He served five years as executive director of the Arkansas Arts Council, during which he spent three years on the board of directors of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, coordinated four statewide arts conferences and created three statewide arts initiatives in arts education, public art programming and emerging arts development.
Additionally, Mitchell has direct management experience in every major arts discipline including dance, opera, symphony and theater, as well as capital campaign and strategic planning experience. He has managed major events including a "Baryshnikov and Friends" ballet gala, "Zubin Metha and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra" gala benefit, regular annual "Nutcracker" performances and a variety of Broadway and orchestral programming.
"In spite of the challenge of the past year, the organization not only survived but exceeded all expectations," said Dierdre Miles Burger, director of Orlando Ballet School. "I look forward to working with Jim Mitchell to fortify the infrastructure of Orlando Ballet School, and to ensure the continued strengthening and growth of our programs."
The Orlando Ballet School is one of only four U.S. schools certified in the American Ballet Theater's nationally accredited schools program. The school recently placed first in the international Youth America Grand Prix competition in New York.
A former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Robert Hill became Artistic Director of Orlando Ballet in 2009, establishing a vision for the company to make ballet relevant to today’s audiences. His guidance prompted theFlorida Sunto state: “Hill has surprised and delighted audiences with his ability to showcase the company’s edgier side.” Shortly after accepting the post, he was voted one of the “100 Most Influential People in Florida” byFlorida International Magazine.
Mr. Hill founded Robert Hill Dance in 2000 with the mission to create and perform new works of dance theatre with a particular focus on the classical ballet tradition and vocabulary. His works have been created at American Ballet Theatre (ABT), the ABT Studio Company, Julio Bocca’s Ballet Argentino, Ballet de Monterrey, as well as other companies. Numerous companies have performed his works including Royal Ballet of Flanders, Minnesota Dance Theater, The Royal Ballet School, and, of course, Orlando Ballet.
Mr. Hill was the Artistic Director of Ballet de Monterrey for four years. During that time, he elevated the company from a local school-based entity to an internationally acclaimed company. His choreography for Ballet de Monterrey gave the company a unique artistic identity while serving to raise the artistic and technical level of the performers. The newspaper,El Norte, recognized the company “under the artistic direction of Robert Hill” as “one of the great accomplishments in Monterrey in 2006,” noting a record-breaking, sold out production ofSwanLakeas well as the international touring the company undertook for the first time in its 16 year history.
In addition to dancing with ABT, Mr. Hill was a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet and the New York City Ballet. As a guest artist, he appeared with numerous companies including the Scottish Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, and the Australian Ballet. Mr. Hill’s interpretation of the title role in John Cranko’sOnegin, opposite Julie Kent as Tatiana, presented at the Metropolitan Opera House in Lincoln Center by ABT, was selected by theNew York Timesas one of the “Ten Best Moments in Dance” in 2002.
A renowned teacher and coach, Mr. Hill has taught for ABT, Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance, the ABT Studio Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and Orlando Ballet School, among others. He has served as a panelist for the Dance Program of the New York State Council on the Arts.
Mr. Hill is especially grateful to the loving dedication he received in his initial training with Liz Bevilacqua and Al Packard of The Dussich Dance Studio and with Phyllis Papa of the Atlantic Company Ballet Theater.
Miles began her formative dance training with Margaret Prishwalko Fallon and
subsequently the Boston Ballet School where she was the recipient of a Ford
Foundation Scholarship. Ms. Miles became an apprentice with Boston Ballet at
age fourteen. Following her graduation from high school, she joined Boston
Ballet as a full time member, performing principal roles such as Ophelia in
Hamlet, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The
Nutcracker. Two years later upon invitation by Dennis Wayne she became a member
of his original company "Dancers" which debuted in New York City and
performed internationally. In
1978, Ms. Miles joined Houston Ballet as a soloist. While there, her roles
included Ben Stevenson's Britten Pas de Deux, Anitra and the Mad Lady in Peer
Gynt, and Swanhilda in Coppelia. Ms. Miles was appointed soloist upon her
return to Boston Ballet in 1983. In 1990, Ms. Miles began training at the Dance Notation Bureau in
Labanotation. Having completed this training, in September 1991 she expanded
her duties at Boston Ballet to include work as a Rehearsal Assistant. In June
of 1993 Ms. Miles retired from performing and joined Boston Ballet's Artistic
Staff as Ballet Mistress and Artistic Coordinator. In September 2002 Ms. Miles
returned to Boston Ballet as Principal of Boston Ballet School. During this
time she established Boston Ballet School Ensemble and Boston Ballet Trainee
Program. She also instituted a new school structure to reflect the mission of
Boston Ballet's Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen. In the summer of 2006 she
left Boston Ballet to relocate with her husband David Burger to Florida. In
February 2009, Ms. Miles Burger became an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has
successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through
Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She joined the Orlando Ballet as Director of the Orlando
Ballet School in 2010.
ORLANDO PHILHARMONIC: OB annually collaborates with Philharmonic in its major school presentations for the Orange County Public School System at Bob Carr PAC. This successful partnership brings OB before more than 45,000 Orange, Seminole and Osceola County 3rd, 4th and 5th graders each school year. OB engages the OPO to bring back live music to its annual holiday production of The Nutcracker.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL LA NOUBA: After successful collaborations during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 season,OB and Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba will partner again in 2013-14 to produce “A Choreographers’ Showcase” where artists and performers from the two organizations choreograph new pieces for each other’s performers. This is an exciting opportunity for two highly successful performing arts groups to inspire and learn from each other.
BACH FESTIVAL SOCIETY OF WINTER PARK:OB collaborated with the orchestra and choir of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park to produce Carmina Burana at the Bob Carr in April 2013 and will perform again in November 2014.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
The last fiscal year was a challenge for Orlando Ballet and its School with the lose of its home of 22 years. Thanks to hundreds of donors and community volunteers, the organization has relocated into short-term administrative and studio buildings, produced a 40th anniversary season and has a bright future ahead.
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