Save the Sacramento Ballet!

The executive director of the Sacramento Ballet has resigned. Kerri Warner quietly left the troubled organization about a week ago, according to sources within the organization who asked to remain anonymous.

The reason for Warner’s resignation remains unclear. An employee said that there was a "difference of opinion on how to handle the financial situation, and Kerri decided to respectfully step away." 

The Sacramento Press was unable to reach Warner, and Ron Cunningham, the organization’s artistic director and public face did not return calls. 

The Sacramento Ballet, which has gone through recent struggles with ticket sales, now needs major corporate funding in order to return to a fully-staffed, fully functional state.

Amidst slow December sales for the Nutcracker, the Sacramento Ballet has been appealing to the community for financial help. On December 19th, dancers took to the streets with signs such as "Save the Nutcracker" and sold tickets to raise awareness about the Ballet’s financial problems. In a three-week promotion set to start next Saturday, Jan. 17, $25 dollars will buy you a beer, provided by Brew It Up!, as well as a ticket to the ballet. 

Ticket sales, which make up nearly 80% of the Ballet’s earnings, increased near the end of December. "We did better than we thought, and had a number of sold out shows," said one employee.

However, that was not enough to keep Warner. 

A press release will be made public soon, but right now the resignation is a private matter, the Press was told; thus all sources declined to comment further. For now, Kerri Warner’s Sacramento Ballet voice mail redirects to Executive Assistant Shannon Peach. 


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January 16, 2009 | 5:30 PM

Good job, Jon. I haven’t seen this story anywhere else. I could do without the editorializing in the headline, but we DO want to save the ballet, no?

January 16, 2009 | 5:35 PM

Yeah, haha. Sorry about that, you’re right. It’s never good to see an arts organization, let alone a Sacramento institution like the Ballet, face death. I merely borrowed the title from the facebook group of the same name.

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January 17, 2009 | 3:32 AM

At second Saturday last week Sacramento ballet did a few awesome performances in the middle of galleries. It was rad, hope that raises awareness.

January 17, 2009 | 6:36 AM

I don’t think that it was rad will raise awareness.

January 17, 2009 | 7:57 PM

The headlines caught my attention. Is is unfortunate for us all that the ego, temperament and volatility of ballet and theatre artists often create their own crises and sometimes demise. (I was involved in both years ago and I see that part has not changed.) My question is how important is it to the entertainment seekers of Sacramento to see a ballet?? My guess would be a rating of one on a scale of one to 10.

April 28, 2009 | 7:18 PM

Hi Dale,
This is my first time responding to a forum on Sac Press, but I feel compelled to by your comment above. I am a dancer with the Sacramento Ballet, in fact this is my 4th season performing with this company and I feel incredibly privileged to be part of such a wonderful artsorganization of Sacramento. I would like to say that our financial crisis in Jan was a result of an economic recession that threatened countless of business and organizations across America – not the “ego, temperament and volatility of ballet.” Dancers have the ability to educate, engage and inspire individuals by illustrating with our bodies what it means to be human and part of this world Yes, I agree even as a ballet dancer, that some ballets can be boring, too old fashioned and not relevant or accessible to life to today, but if you have seen us perform one of our evenings of late – I think you might change your stereotypical opinion of what ballet is. Art is a way to connect, teach, learn, record and ultimately share our life experiences, and wouldn’t it be tragic if a form of art was taken away from Sacramento just because people assume it is boring? Check out the dancer’s website for an idea of what we are doing to help our company survive this economic recession and if you have any suggestions/comments about what we can do to make ballet more accessible to you, let us know.

January 19, 2009 | 11:31 AM

Dale, tell us more about your inside dealings with the Sacramento Ballet. We want to know!

January 19, 2009 | 11:37 AM

How sad that workers and artists are getting laid off or forgotten when corporate giants get bailouts and bonuses.

January 22, 2009 | 5:28 PM

**Correction: the $25 cost will not cover drinks – only the ticket.

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