Kelowna ballet troupe an artistic and financial success

Ballet Kelowna is heading into its 10th year of operations, earning accolades at every pirouette.

Ballet Kelowna is heading into its 10th year of operations, earning accolades at every pirouette and, miraculously, staying financially solvent.

But, as key members of the troupe pointed out during a Monday presentation to city council, that success hasn’t come without a few casualties.

Megan Williams, the ballet company’s newly minted executive director, told council maintaining the funding needed to roll out programs on local and provincial stages can be a tough slog and weighed heavily on her predecessor.

“Alison Moore said the funding issues contributed to her resignation,” said Williams, noting that it caused “fatigue.”

That said, the ballet is continually lauded for growing while other arts organizations have floundered.

That’s in part due to a robust volunteer contingent, said Williams, noting they donate 5,000 hours of their time organizing tours across Canada.

A bounty of funding from private sponsors  and grants for individual projects on a federal and provincial level are also factored into their success, although none of those create ongoing security.

“We are not yet eligible for Canada Counsel for the Arts or B.C. Arts Council operational grants,’ Miller said, explaining that it will take another couple of years until they’ve been established long enough to apply for the kind of long-term funding that creates stability.

The one constant, however, has been municipal funding which Miller said has been key to their success. It’s funding that city councillors seemed to take no issue with, noting that they consider the ballet troupe a key aspect of local culture.

“I just wanted to say thank you for what you do, the quality of ballet and dance add so deeply to the culture of Kelowna,” said Coun. Mohini Singh. “The name (Ballet Kelowna) gives us cultural depth and raises our stature.”

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