Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | 6:23 p.m.
Another Las Vegas cultural institution is taking a hit from the economy: The Nevada Ballet Theatre announced today that it has let go of nine dancers and is postponing its season finale.
The company is down in four of its revenue-generating areas: ticket sales, contributions, academy tuition and special events.
The changes were made to handle budget shortfalls. "It's a proactive approach. In order for us to continue to be here we have to make changes now," says spokeswoman Jenn Kratochwill.
Kratochwill says staff had been looking at options for a while. The company reduced its number of dancers by nearly one-third, going from 31 dancers to 22. None of the principals or soloists were let go. The size of its administrative staff has also been reduced.
The 37-year-old dance company is the third local arts institution to be affected by the poor economy.The Las Vegas Philharmonic faced a $200,000 deficit in January. The Las Vegas Art Museum ran out of money and closed its doors last month.
Nevada Ballet's budget was $3 million last year and was projected at $3 million this year. Staff is not sure how much that budget has been affected. The company hired well-known choreographer, James Canfield, this season as artistic director and has been performing to outstanding reviews.
Kratochwill says that no other major changes have been made and that the company is planning to go forward with its full season next year.
In a prepared statement, executive director Beth Barbre said, "We remain committed to the artistic growth as we prepare to become a resident company of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts."
The season finale, "New Works '09" was scheduled for May 15, 16 and 17. The program will be part of next year's season, Kratochwill said. The company is presenting "American Masters" on April 10 and 11. That performance will feature principle dancers with the New York City Ballet -- Wendy Whelan, Albert Evans and Sébastien Marcovici.