Dance lovers and worried observers of the local arts scene got more rotten news last week, when Madison Ballet announced it was canceling An Evening of Romance, the concert that was to have taken place this weekend at Overture Center's Capitol Theater.
"It was probably one of the hardest decisions I've had to make," says Madison Ballet executive director Valerie Dixon. "We had exhausted all measures to bring in funding to make this event lucrative."
Madison Ballet announced other cuts just a few weeks ago. The group's April concert, Pure Ballet, was scuttled, and next season's roster was reduced from four performances to two. The next scheduled performance is holiday perennial The Nutcracker.
The ballet's problems don't owe to declining ticket sales. The problem, says Dixon, relates to corporate giving: "Companies are either tightening their purse strings or not giving at all."
Madison Ballet is not the only struggling arts organization. Madison Repertory Theatre has suspended its season, and Overture Center laid off workers.
Dixon took office as Madison Ballet executive director just eight months ago. They have been convulsive months. "It has been a challenge," she says of her tenure. "I am very proud of this organization."