Updated February 27 at 6:27pm

Festival Ballet ‘back on its feet’ after benefit


PROVIDENCE – Festival Ballet Providence, the only professional ballet company in Rhode Island for the past 34 years, was concerned about its economic viability in September because immediate funds were needed.

So the ballet troupe decided to do what it does best: dance.

Organizers called on ballet dancers from around the nation and world to dance with them at a one-time fundraising event Oct. 19 at the Veterans Memorial Arts & Cultural Center, “Together We Dance, An All-Star Benefit Gala Performance.”

Approximately 800 people attended the event and $65,000 net was raised in ticket sales, sponsorships and auction returns, with donations continuing to come in, organizers said in a recent news release.

“These funds have put Festival Ballet Providence back on its feet and the company is looking ahead at a rich 2011-2012 season,” the company said, including “The Nutcracker” in December, an original version of “Mother Goose” in February/March, “Up Close on Hope” and “Swan Lake.”

Dancers who waived their fees to take part in the gala included those from the American Ballet Theatre, the New York City Ballet, the Boston Ballet, the Houston Ballet and the Lithuanian National Ballet.

The local arts community provided support by spreading word about the gala and offering commentary during the performance, including representatives of WaterFire, AS220, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, The Gamm theater and Trinity Repertory Company.

Among those providing sponsorship funds or other services were Textron, CVS Caremark, Bryant University and local television station WLNE-TV ABC 6.


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