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Old 07-21-2008, 04:49 PM
 
9 posts, read 31,237 times
Reputation: 47

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Just when I thought Oklahoma City couldn't get any worse, I was proven to be wrong.

Let me explain.

The ballet company in Oklahoma City, aptly named after the state (Ballet Oklahoma), just like everything else in that town, ended last season with around $400,000 in debt. Since then, as I learned yesterday, they have approached the Tulsa Ballet for help. What they have proposed is combining the two ballet companies to form a "state" ballet company, jointly based in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, while both current companies would retain their names. Tulsa Ballet would still be known as Tulsa Ballet, but when they travel to Oklahoma City to perform, they would be called Ballet Oklahoma. It gets worse. According to the July 20, 2008 Tulsa World article "Ballet in state may be cooperative", "the Tulsa branch would be responsible for performing the mixed-bill programs, while the Oklahoma City branch would have dancers who would perform as part of a regional touring program."

This is unacceptable, utterly, disgustingly unacceptable.

As it stands, Tulsa Ballet is one of the foremost ballet companies in the United States and has received national and international acclaim. Ballet Oklahoma? Not so much. Tulsa Ballet has received two feature articles in Dance Magazine during the past seven years, has been featured in the New York Times, Pointe Magazine and Dance Europe. In March, 2008, Tulsa Ballet was featured on the cover of Pointe Magazine, a distinction awarded to only one ballet company a year. In 2002, Portuguese national magazine Semanario declared Tulsa Ballet, "one of the best in the world". In April, 2008, Tulsa Ballet celebrated reaching their fundraising goal of $17.3 million with the opening of Kivisto Hall, a 300-seat theatre devoted to the creation of new works.

So there we have it: an internationally-acclaimed, cash-flush ballet company, and a company so disorganized that public support has dwindled to the point of being basically bankrupt.
It's no wonder Ballet Oklahoma wants help from Tulsa.

But there's more.

According to the newsok.com article "Ballet Oklahoma faces uncertain future", "During the second year of the merger, a group of about 10 Oklahoma City-based dancers would tour the state as part of an educational outreach program. By year three, there would be a single board of directors and one name for the new organization." This is greatly distressing. It's basically the dissolution of the Tulsa Ballet as we know it, and would mean that the promise that the Tulsa Ballet would retain its name while in Tulsa is essentially moot. It is also likely that the new state company would probably be based in Oklahoma City. Believe me, that is how it would end up.

This, again, is simply unacceptable. It is NOT, I repeat, NOT the fault of Tulsans that the Oklahoma City ballet company can't attract an audience. It is NOT the fault of Tulsans that the Oklahoma City ballet is bankrupt. It is NOT the duty of Tulsans to PAY FOR Oklahoma City's ballet company. That's basically what's going to happen. When the two combine, the quite flush Tulsa Ballet will have to compensate for Oklahoma City's financial incompetencies.

It is a dilution of the Tulsa Ballet, and a move to obtain one of Tulsa's gems solely for Oklahoma City's benefit. Tulsa Ballet SHOULD NOT become a BRANCH of a state ballet. What we have in Tulsa is a fantastic company. It's the CITY'S company, not the state's. Tulsa built it. Tulsa supports it. Oklahoma City seems to feel that these days, anything and everything in the state belongs only to them, and they will do everything in their power to try to accomplish that.

If this situation were reversed, I can guarantee with one hundred percent certainty that Ballet Oklahoma would not even consider helping. Tulsa's goodwill is abused in this state. In an all-too-recent example, Tulsa's support is what landed the deal for the NBA team to come to Oklahoma City. NBA Commissioner Stern clearly indicated that without Tulsa's proximity, there was no chance that Oklahoma City would have been awarded the team.

On the subject of the NBA, I find it extremely interesting that the City of Oklahoma City approved $125 million in upgrades for their cheap, little brick box (a.k.a. the Ford Center) to be improved for the NBA, but they can't even support their own ballet company. It is ridiculous to approach Tulsa for help when they just approved $125 million in upgrades for their defunct arena. It is outlandish and I will not stand for it. From the comments on the Tulsa World article, it appears that most other Tulsans won't, either.

Any time Oklahoma City can't do something on its own, it asks Tulsa to 'pony up' and support them, which Tulsa has always done. Yet Tulsa has received NO benefit from supporting Oklahoma City's initiatives. We were asked to support an AMTRAK extension from Dallas to Oklahoma City, and on the promise that Tulsa would soon have rail service too, we did. That was ten years ago. Tulsa is still without rail service, and now the Oklahoma City City Council has asked the state legislature to bypass Tulsa in its next extension of rail service, and instead, go north to Wichita, Kansas.

Oklahoma City and the State Legislature have not lived up to their promises, to their ends-of-the-deals. They need Tulsa but refuse to support it in any way.

This morning, I wrote a letter to Marcello Angelini, artistic director of Tulsa Ballet, and the Board of Directors, pleading my case. A few hour laters, I received a response from Marcello himself:

Quote:
Dear Mr. Jeffries,

In haste, today is a crazy day, as you can imagine. I can assure you that we are in no way, shape or form considering to water down our wonderful company to help anybody else. There are decades of great history in Tulsa Ballet, many millions of dollars contributed to us by our community, tens of thousands of fans that come to see our company and have shared in the growth, and now international success, of this organization. Just in the past few years, we have 17.3 million reasons not to lower our standards (our Integrated Campaign goal was $17.3 million and was met, thanks to the support of the community). The community has spoken loud and clear to us: we will support you but we want the best of you. This is our intention and the spirit of this collaboration. And no, we are not talking about a “merger” but a COLLABORATION, in which Tulsa Ballet would provide dancers, production and oversight to Ballet Oklahoma . And we will NOT take over the liabilities of another organization.

This entire plan is based on the assumption that the joined forces of two communities can actually grow our company to get even better then what it is now. While I personally love dance, I am offended by bad dance. I cannot stand to sit through a show of bad dance, I would rather change job and go do something else. You also have to know that, during the past few years, I have been offered golden jobs, running organizations between two and five times bigger then our Tulsa Ballet. However, I love this community, I love our company and I cannot separate it from myself. My kids were born here, Daniela and I have enjoyed a wonderful life here with our fellow Tulsans and we are not going to sit here to see all our 13 years of work, building this company to an international entity, go down.

I am afraid I can’t say more than that. But please, trust me on this. This company is my life, I will not harm it. The Board, with its large emotional and financial investment in TB, feels exactly the same.

Thanks so much for your message. I really, really appreciate hearing from you.

Marcello
While it was nice to receive a personal letter so quickly, I feel that it's not entirely truthful. I would like to trust Mr. Angelini since he has done so many wonderful things with Tulsa Ballet, but it is impossible to trust anything that happens on Oklahoma City's side. The news articles conflict with parts of his letter to me, and I feel that I and all Tulsans are owed the truth, and we deserve to have a say in whether our own ballet company remains in our own city, that OUR donations don't go to support Oklahoma City.

Why should they? Clay Bennett paid how much money for the Seattle SuperSonics, and how much in legal fees? Chesapeake paid how much for a boathouse? OKC spent how much on Ford Center upgrades for a basketball team? And yet they can't support their own ballet? I guess it speaks for the quality.

Oklahoma City's leaders are a bunch of bandits. They stole the SuperSonics from Seattle, and now they're trying to steal the ballet from Tulsa.

This is a matter of principle, which doesn't seem to exist anymore on the west end of the Turner Turnpike.

Go to the Tulsa Ballet's and City of Tulsa's websites and write them a letter.

Last edited by dsjeffries; 07-21-2008 at 05:03 PM..
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth/Dallas
11,878 posts, read 35,042,390 times
Reputation: 5614
What the heck is the incentive for the Tulsa Ballet to do this? It's stupid! Merge with an organization that is failing miserably?

I don't get it, and I will write a letter; although me being in Texas probably won't help one single bit.

This is BS!!!
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:48 PM
 
Location: The State Of California
10,212 posts, read 13,886,141 times
Reputation: 4101
Default I don't think that this is ever going to happen

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsjeffries View Post
Just when I thought Oklahoma City couldn't get any worse, I was proven to be wrong.

Let me explain.

The ballet company in Oklahoma City, aptly named after the state (Ballet Oklahoma), just like everything else in that town, ended last season with around $400,000 in debt. Since then, as I learned yesterday, they have approached the Tulsa Ballet for help. What they have proposed is combining the two ballet companies to form a "state" ballet company, jointly based in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, while both current companies would retain their names. Tulsa Ballet would still be known as Tulsa Ballet, but when they travel to Oklahoma City to perform, they would be called Ballet Oklahoma. It gets worse. According to the July 20, 2008 Tulsa World article "Ballet in state may be cooperative", "the Tulsa branch would be responsible for performing the mixed-bill programs, while the Oklahoma City branch would have dancers who would perform as part of a regional touring program."

This is unacceptable, utterly, disgustingly unacceptable.

As it stands, Tulsa Ballet is one of the foremost ballet companies in the United States and has received national and international acclaim. Ballet Oklahoma? Not so much. Tulsa Ballet has received two feature articles in Dance Magazine during the past seven years, has been featured in the New York Times, Pointe Magazine and Dance Europe. In March, 2008, Tulsa Ballet was featured on the cover of Pointe Magazine, a distinction awarded to only one ballet company a year. In 2002, Portuguese national magazine Semanario declared Tulsa Ballet, "one of the best in the world". In April, 2008, Tulsa Ballet celebrated reaching their fundraising goal of $17.3 million with the opening of Kivisto Hall, a 300-seat theatre devoted to the creation of new works.

So there we have it: an internationally-acclaimed, cash-flush ballet company, and a company so disorganized that public support has dwindled to the point of being basically bankrupt.
It's no wonder Ballet Oklahoma wants help from Tulsa.

But there's more.

According to the newsok.com article "Ballet Oklahoma faces uncertain future", "During the second year of the merger, a group of about 10 Oklahoma City-based dancers would tour the state as part of an educational outreach program. By year three, there would be a single board of directors and one name for the new organization." This is greatly distressing. It's basically the dissolution of the Tulsa Ballet as we know it, and would mean that the promise that the Tulsa Ballet would retain its name while in Tulsa is essentially moot. It is also likely that the new state company would probably be based in Oklahoma City. Believe me, that is how it would end up.

This, again, is simply unacceptable. It is NOT, I repeat, NOT the fault of Tulsans that the Oklahoma City ballet company can't attract an audience. It is NOT the fault of Tulsans that the Oklahoma City ballet is bankrupt. It is NOT the duty of Tulsans to PAY FOR Oklahoma City's ballet company. That's basically what's going to happen. When the two combine, the quite flush Tulsa Ballet will have to compensate for Oklahoma City's financial incompetencies.

It is a dilution of the Tulsa Ballet, and a move to obtain one of Tulsa's gems solely for Oklahoma City's benefit. Tulsa Ballet SHOULD NOT become a BRANCH of a state ballet. What we have in Tulsa is a fantastic company. It's the CITY'S company, not the state's. Tulsa built it. Tulsa supports it. Oklahoma City seems to feel that these days, anything and everything in the state belongs only to them, and they will do everything in their power to try to accomplish that.

If this situation were reversed, I can guarantee with one hundred percent certainty that Ballet Oklahoma would not even consider helping. Tulsa's goodwill is abused in this state. In an all-too-recent example, Tulsa's support is what landed the deal for the NBA team to come to Oklahoma City. NBA Commissioner Stern clearly indicated that without Tulsa's proximity, there was no chance that Oklahoma City would have been awarded the team.

On the subject of the NBA, I find it extremely interesting that the City of Oklahoma City approved $125 million in upgrades for their cheap, little brick box (a.k.a. the Ford Center) to be improved for the NBA, but they can't even support their own ballet company. It is ridiculous to approach Tulsa for help when they just approved $125 million in upgrades for their defunct arena. It is outlandish and I will not stand for it. From the comments on the Tulsa World article, it appears that most other Tulsans won't, either.

Any time Oklahoma City can't do something on its own, it asks Tulsa to 'pony up' and support them, which Tulsa has always done. Yet Tulsa has received NO benefit from supporting Oklahoma City's initiatives. We were asked to support an AMTRAK extension from Dallas to Oklahoma City, and on the promise that Tulsa would soon have rail service too, we did. That was ten years ago. Tulsa is still without rail service, and now the Oklahoma City City Council has asked the state legislature to bypass Tulsa in its next extension of rail service, and instead, go north to Wichita, Kansas.

Oklahoma City and the State Legislature have not lived up to their promises, to their ends-of-the-deals. They need Tulsa but refuse to support it in any way.

This morning, I wrote a letter to Marcello Angelini, artistic director of Tulsa Ballet, and the Board of Directors, pleading my case. A few hour laters, I received a response from Marcello himself:


While it was nice to receive a personal letter so quickly, I feel that it's not entirely truthful. I would like to trust Mr. Angelini since he has done so many wonderful things with Tulsa Ballet, but it is impossible to trust anything that happens on Oklahoma City's side. The news articles conflict with parts of his letter to me, and I feel that I and all Tulsans are owed the truth, and we deserve to have a say in whether our own ballet company remains in our own city, that OUR donations don't go to support Oklahoma City.

Why should they? Clay Bennett paid how much money for the Seattle SuperSonics, and how much in legal fees? Chesapeake paid how much for a boathouse? OKC spent how much on Ford Center upgrades for a basketball team? And yet they can't support their own ballet? I guess it speaks for the quality.

Oklahoma City's leaders are a bunch of bandits. They stole the SuperSonics from Seattle, and now they're trying to steal the ballet from Tulsa.

This is a matter of principle, which doesn't seem to exist anymore on the west end of the Turner Turnpike.

Go to the Tulsa Ballet's and City of Tulsa's websites and write them a letter.

The state of Oklahoma Legislature is going to have to bail OKC Ballet out of the perdiciment that they are in along with the people of OKC and neither one of them can demand that Tulsa Help. Even when I lived in Tulsa 1954 to 1976 and 1988 to 1990 the Tulsa Ballet Company was
Nationally Ranked and OKC wasn't and it's great NEWS TO HEAR that it
is now WORLD RANKED , but Tulsa does have to help the OKC Ballet simply
because the two Cities are in the same (STATE) and must help each other out (as long as TULSA BALLET FUNDS ARE NOT GOING INTO BALLET OKC)
The SEATTLE......TULSA comparison was so off base that it was funny....The (seattle venue and team) was not a WORLD CLASS operation
as the TULSA BALLET IS.....keep us abreast of any further development
in this issue....
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:38 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth/Dallas
11,878 posts, read 35,042,390 times
Reputation: 5614
I think the whole reason they are going to merge is that those funds from the Tulsa Ballet will be going into Ballet OKC Howest. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of a merger? Also, I think that the Sonics referral is valid. There is a rif between the two cities due to Mayor Cornett's childish behavior in the whole Sonics ordeal. I still believe the team should be named the "OkC whatevers" but the speed and childish manner in which Cornett dismissed even the thought of another name made me lose a lot of respect for the guy.
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Pawnee Nation
7,525 posts, read 15,840,621 times
Reputation: 7054
Usually when there is a merger, there is something to be gained by both parties. Tulsa has the reputation, the talent, the money, the venue, the community support......all of which makes them attractive to someone wanting to merge, but what does OKC bring to the table?
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:58 AM
 
42,727 posts, read 27,416,300 times
Reputation: 14312
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synopsis View Post
I think the whole reason they are going to merge is that those funds from the Tulsa Ballet will be going into Ballet OKC Howest. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of a merger? Also, I think that the Sonics referral is valid. There is a rif between the two cities due to Mayor Cornett's childish behavior in the whole Sonics ordeal. I still believe the team should be named the "OkC whatevers" but the speed and childish manner in which Cornett dismissed even the thought of another name made me lose a lot of respect for the guy.
I think the letter was pretty explicit. It doesn't sound like it's the intention of Tulsa Ballet to financially bail out Ballet OKC. It does sound like artists helping artists, with Tulsa Ballet lending it's expertise and management to make Ballet OKC perform better and help themselves. It is an acknowledgement from a world-class association that the commitment and passion of the artists in the Ballet OKC is a valuable contribution to the state, and that they can continue to be of value and increase their value with just a little help from the Tulsa Ballet. While I think your concern about just what contributions Tulsa Ballet will decide to make is a valid concern, and keeping abreast of the situation is prudent, I also think the Tulsa Ballet's choice to help out Ballet OKC is a testament to their commitment to their art.
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:35 PM
 
9 posts, read 31,237 times
Reputation: 47
This just in!

Quote:
OKLAHOMA CITY — The board of directors of Ballet Oklahoma has rejected a possible merger with Tulsa Ballet and instead voted overwhelmingly in favor of a proposal to reinvent the Oklahoma City-based organization.

A third option, one that would result in the dissolution of Ballet Oklahoma, was also voted down at the board's meeting on Monday.

"I think most of the people who attended this meeting were hoping that a reinvention of the organization would be the outcome," said Ballet Oklahoma board member Phil Clayton. "We're very grateful for Tulsa Ballet's presentation, their spirit and their continued goodwill towards resolving this issue."

Robert Mills, a former Ballet Oklahoma dancer who has also served as artistic director of Colorado's Ballet Nouveau, has been named interim artistic director.

Mills outlined a schedule of four productions for the 2008-09 season, but $1.1 million must be raised before Ballet Oklahoma can proceed.

"The scope of next year's season or any seasons thereafter is going to depend on the community at this point," Clayton said. "All options to save Ballet Oklahoma will remain on the table. During the past few weeks, I've received a great deal of e-mails and phone calls in support of Ballet Oklahoma, but at this point, it all comes down to funding."

By the end of the 2007-08 season, Ballet Oklahoma had incurred a debt in excess of $400,000. Through fundraising and the selling of some assets, that debt has now been erased.

No timeline was discussed as to when any decision about a 2008-09 season will be forthcoming.

Ballet Oklahoma receives a portion of its annual operating budget from the Allied Arts Foundation.

Anyone wishing to donate money should call the Ballet Oklahoma offices.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth/Dallas
11,878 posts, read 35,042,390 times
Reputation: 5614
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsjeffries View Post
This just in!

Good news IMO. I think that as someone pointed out it was artists in support of other artists, but I also believe that it would have "watered down" the quality of the Tulsa Ballet. I'm not a Ballet fan or anything but I have always heard about the Tulsa Ballet being one of the best.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:33 PM
 
Location: T-town, OK
266 posts, read 918,257 times
Reputation: 123
Terrible idea, keep the Tulsa ballet Tulsa!
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Wind comes sweeping down the...
1,586 posts, read 6,435,009 times
Reputation: 826
"Just when I thought Oklahoma City couldn't get any worse, I was proven to be wrong."

WOW. This really shows how ridiculous some opinions can get! It would be like me posting- I cant believe this crap! Tulsa stinks and they cant even keep a silly amusement park called Bells and their waterpark is about to close down. Bells better not merge with Frontier City and make my park worse!


I never worried a bit about Ballet Oklahoma. Bad management, terrible marketing etc. but they were never gto bite the dust. Lots of talent that is generated by OCU and OU that they need to take advantage of.
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