I am a dancer – not a writer or a journalist. So, why am I stepping outside of my comfort zone to write an article that hundreds, if not thousands of people may read? I am writing because I feel compelled to let you know about what is going on right now at the Sacramento Ballet, where I am employed. As many of you are aware from recent media coverage, the Sacramento Ballet is facing challenging times in this economic environment. We have had to cancel our shows at the Community Center Theater for the remainder of our season, and we have had to make major cuts in all areas of the company, including employee lay-offs. We are, however, still rehearsing and performing in our studios at 1631 K St. Since New Year’s Day, we had over 18 shows, and we hope to have many more to come, performing for the Sacramento community.
We have been blessed with the overwhelming generosity of choreographers, teachers, accompanists, and volunteers, donating their time to help us put on the best shows we can. Dancers in the company have been choreographing dances that have been performed to sold-out audiences in our “Beer and Ballet” series. We will have more “Beer and Ballet” performances later this month and in April. We will also be performing our “Modern Masters” series, featuring Californian choreographers, three of whom are dancers with our company.
The dancers are not only busy with dancing and choreographing, but we are also in the midst of a huge dancer-driven fundraising campaign. Our goal is to raise $150,000 by May 1 to help with our company’s fundraising efforts. We are calling our cause “Save Our Sacramento Ballet,” or “S.O.S. Ballet.”
We have many projects underway. We are hosting a silent auction at the Vizcaya Mansion on April 23 at 7 p.m. We are encouraging everyone to come, as we are planning on having inexpensive, as well as luxury items. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. There will be food, wine, and entertainment. The dancers will be doing a short performance.
We are developing a network of “Ballet Businesses,” local businesses that are supporting us in some way. They are giving us items for our silent auction, hosting an “S.O.S. Day,” donating money, or helping us with other forms of support. On an “S.O.S. Day” a Ballet Business donates a percentage of its sales to the ballet. Our first “S.O.S. Day” was at the Beach Hut on March 7 and was a huge success. Our next two are at Mochii Yogurt on March 14 and April 11. There will be an entire “S.O.S. Week” starting March 30 when many Ballet Businesses will have “S.O.S. Days” all in the same week. The Ballet Business campaign is a great way for us to involve the whole community and not only help ourselves, but help these businesses by promoting them as well.
One of the dancers’ most important goals is to bring the dancers into the community and make the people of Sacramento aware of who we are and what we do. Up until now, the dancers have been satisfied with performing in our 2500 seat theater, hoping that people will come to be an audience for our performances. Now that we have been stripped of our “comfortable” existence and have left our large venue, we are realizing that we must reach out into the community. We need to convince people that they want to come to our shows, that they value the arts, and that they don’t want Sacramento to lose its only professional dance company. It is amazing how many people in Sacramento don’t even know we exist, and have never seen a performance. We want to change that.
Dance is an amazing art form. Somewhere I read that “Dance is the only art where we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made.” Dance demonstrates the unbelievable capabilities of the human body. It not only pushes the body to physical extremes, but allows it to be a vehicle for emotional expression and a window into the human soul. Dance can express things that can’t be put into words. It truly is “poetry in motion.”
Why should you come to a show? A performance by the Sacramento Ballet is an opportunity to experience a varied selection of music and diverse types of dance all on a single program. We might have classical, pop, jazz, and world music all in one performance with dancing in classical, contemporary, and modern styles. A performance is an opportunity to experience art with a group of people, where all of you are seeing something that will never be seen again. Even if the same program is performed on the following night, it won’t be exactly the same. As an audience member, you may have the chance to see that unbelievable leap, that effortless turn, that transcendent moment during that seamless pas de deux that will never happen that same way again. You may laugh, cry, and be filled with wonder. You may even find yourself jumping to your feet in a burst of applause. And all this occurs with flesh and blood, living, breathing dancers in front of you, not on a television set, or a movie or computer screen. We can feel your energy, and you can feel ours. It is palpable. We know you’re there. We need you. There is no performance without an audience.
The dancers and I love the Sacramento Ballet. We care about it enough to not only work tirelessly to put on outstanding shows, but also to raise money for the company in our spare time. Please don’t let our efforts be in vain. Participate in one of our events, visit a Ballet Business, come to our silent auction, and most of all please come see a show. You can find us at www.sacballet.org or at the dancers’ site at www.saveoursacballet.com. We want you to be a part of the Sacramento Ballet family.