The Texas Ballet Theater will perform with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra next season for the first time since budget issues forced the ballet company to discontinue dancing to live music almost five years ago.
The symphony will accompany the TBT for five performances of Ben Stevenson’s Swan Lake, May 30-June 1, 2014, at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. The performances, which will close the TBT’s 2013-14 season, will be the first time the ballet and symphony have collaborated since October 2008.
In a news release, FWSO president Amy Adkins said, “We are simply overjoyed that our mutual hope and desire for the Ballet and Orchestra to work together again has finally come to fruition.”
In late 2008, the TBT, North Texas’ only resident professional ballet company, suffered a near-fatal fall. It started with an August admission that year that it would need to raise $70,000 in new funds or give up its long-planned fall tour of China. The company fell short, and what ensued were: an admission that the ballet was an estimated $850,000 in debt; that it would have to cancel the use of live music for its performances in Fort Worth and Dallas; and that if it did not gin up $2 million by year’s end, it would likely have to shut its doors. Thanks to the energetic fundraising efforts of the ballet dancers and the last-minute largesse of several private donors, the ballet reached its goal.
The company projected that the elimination of orchestra accompaniment for the 2009-10 season would save an estimated $650,000. Spending on live music represented about 30 percent of the ballet’s overall production budget for the four major 2009-10 works presented.
But the ballet’s cutback also represented a potential big loss for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. In August 2008, when the ballet decided to use canned music, it erased a rollover contract with the orchestra worth $350,000.
The 2014 collaboration will be made possible, the TBT says, by a gift from US Trust, Bank of America.
“This is a very exciting thing that has happened,” said Stevenson, the TBT’s artistic director in the release. “Hopefully this is a step in the direction of many future collaborations that will provide live music for additional productions.”
This story contains material from Star-Telegram archives.