Friday, March 14, 2008

Boston Ballet Cuts Dancers

Tumultuous times have returned to the Boston Ballet, which said on Thursday that the number of dancers in its main company will shrink by nearly 20 percent, and that its executive director will leave at the end of the season.

The reduction comes as the ballet has recovered its financial footing after a tough blow: losing access in 2004 to the Wang Theater and its 3,800 seats for the ballet’s annual run of “The Nutcracker,” a show that puts food on the table for most companies.

Performing the “Nutcracker” in smaller theaters has cost the company about $1.5 million a year in lost revenue, said the executive director, Valerie Wilder, adding that its accumulated debt stood at $1.9 million. Nevertheless, in the financially precarious world of dance, Boston Ballet has run surpluses in the last two years and expects to tally one this season too.

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