Orlando Ballet sticks another tricky landing with last-minute county funding

Culture 2 Go: performing arts news

Classically trained dancers are accustomed to throwing themselves through the air, trusting that a partner will catch them. Lately the Orlando Ballet has been on precarious ground, but if recent developments pan out, the company may have just stuck a tricky landing.

The trouble began in August, when the discovery of toxic mold forced the ballet to evacuate the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, their home of over 20 years. After a few weeks bouncing around town – including a stint at Disney’s Wide World of Sports – the Ballet’s professional performers secured Church Street Exchange for rehearsals, while the school’s students will move into a warehouse near Loch Haven Park, with Florida Hospital providing administrative office space.

Then, on Sept. 26, ranking results were released for the Cultural Tourism grants of Tourist Development Tax funds administered by Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs. Initially, the Ballet’s application score (like those of Mad Cow Theatre, the Polasek Museum, Bengali Society of Florida, ZORA!

Fest and the Central Florida Fair) didn’t qualify for full funding. At that morning’s grant advisory panel meeting, following a recess to re-examine the score sheets, committee chair Sherry Paramore (seconded by panelist Hal Kantor) moved to withdraw $170,171 from next May’s Cultural Facilities grant and use it to fund some of the low-ranked applicants at an average of 68 percent of their requests. The Ballet ended up with $101,825 toward a $191,129 budget for their 2013-14 season.

The transfer leaves about $850,000 in the Facilities fund, roughly as much as it disbursed last year. According to Terry Olson, director of OCACA, that number is anticipated to increase when TDT tax receipts are recalculated in the spring. County commissioners vote on funding approval at their Oct. 8 meeting.

Noises Off at Icehouse, through Oct. 13; Disenchanted! at the Abbey, through Oct. 27; Other Desert Cities at Mad Cow, through Oct. 27; Grapes of Wrath at Theatre Downtown, through Nov. 2

Jackie and Me at Orlando Rep, opens Oct. 10; Alice Lost in Wonderland at Garden Theatre, opens Oct. 18; Venus in Fur at Mad Cow, opens Oct. 18; Book of Mormon at Bob Carr, opens Oct. 29


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