Friday, March 29, 2013

will spac bring back our beloved new york city ballet?

SPAC, NYC Ballet board presidents to meet next week on Saratoga Springs residency

COLONIE — Talks are continuing for a possible extended New York City Ballet season, Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s board chairwoman said Thursday.

The world-famous, but financially troubled company will spend just one week at SPAC this summer, its shortest stay ever.

However, SPAC Chairwoman Susan Phillips Read said she plans to meet with the ballet’s board president next week, and that a longer residency will no doubt be part of the discussions.

“That’s our goal,” Read said at Thursday’s SPAC meeting at the Desmond Hotel in Colonie. “I will say that they’re making (financial) progress, which is hearkening to us.”

The ballet company lost $1.1 million and had a 4 percent decline in attendance at SPAC last year. The company has performed at SPAC since the venue first opened in 1966. The New York City Ballet had a three-week residency until scaling back to two weeks several years ago for financial reasons.

Two newcomers to SPAC will fill the void from city ballet’s shortened season — National Ballet of Canada and Aspen and Santa Fe Ballet.

The ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra both annually cost SPAC more than $1 million each. Ticket sales cover less than half the cost, with sponsorships and donations comprising the rest.

Read said she believes city ballet board members are “very conscious of the heritage, the legacy” of the company’s Saratoga season.

SPAC’s stage was intentionally constructed with the exact same dimensions as Lincoln Center’s, the ballet’s permanent home, Read said.

“It’s been a long connection, and they have people with memories long enough to value that,” she said. Continued...

Also this season, SPAC will host one of the first events scheduled for this year’s community-wide Saratoga Race Course 150th anniversary season. A free community family picnic with live music and a variety of entertainment will be held Friday, May 24, at SPAC to kick off Memorial Day weekend.

Also, Aug. 8, the orchestra will have a special performance of racing-themed music along with a film narrated by Tom Durkin, New York Racing Association’s popular track announcer.

Chief Financial and Operating Officer Richard Geary said SPAC is off to a fiscally healthy start in 2013, with investments totaling $5 million — about $400,000 more than this time last year. Funds invested with Fenimore Asset Management Inc. have had 11- to 12-percent gains, he said.

In addition, income for 2013 is about $300,000 ahead of last year.

“For the first two months, the balance street looks very strong,” Geary said.

However, some sponsors and higher-end SPAC members haven’t made firm commitments yet, reflecting a still somewhat uncertain economy.

“This year, people are taking longer to make those decisions,” said Marcia White, SPAC’s president and executive director. “I’m very optimistic, but we always have to be cautious.”

The board dealt with several other items Thursday, including the following:

• Jane Wait of Saratoga Springs and the late jazz legend Dave Brubeck will be given stars on SPAC’s Walk of Fame. Wait and her late husband, Newman “Pete” Wait, helped lead the effort that founded SPAC. She will be honored during the community-wide picnic May 24. The date for Brubeck’s star placement will be announced in the near future.

• In capital improvements, a new rubberized-type material will replace an aluminum cover over the 436-foot-long electric cable trench inside the amphitheater. The new material is safer for pedestrians and less noisy when walked on. Continued...

Also, a new awning will be placed over the Hall of Springs’ main entrance, and its jazz bar will get a new roof.

• A more user-friendly website was unveiled. To see the changes, go to

fact check icon

No comments: