Atlanta Ballet achieved 20-year high in box office sales in 2014-15 season

Atlanta Ballet has revealed some positive numbers from its 2015 fiscal year, covering its 2014-15 season:

  • $3.1 million in box office sales, the highest ticket revenue for the company in at least two decades (as far back as the company's records go). That included $2.1 million from “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker,” breaking a box office record for the second straight year. Total season attendance approached 72,000.
  • $2.2 million in revenue by its school, Centre for Dance Education.
  • $4.1 million in contributed income, an increase of more than $1 million over the previous fiscal year. That included more than $650,000 in foundation support, with major gifts from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation,  William Randolph Hearst Foundations and Shubert Foundation.
  • The Centre for Dance Education's community programming engaged 13,000 students. A highlight: the nearly 100 middle-school children from under-served communities reached in the relaunched AileyCamp, a free six-week intensive camp in partnership with the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation.
  • The company, under the leadership of president and CEO Arturo Jacobus and artistic director John McFall, completed the season with a balanced operating budget.
Rachel Van Buskirk and Christian Clark in "Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker." CONTRIBUTED BY CHARLIE MCCULLERS

“As an organization, we have never been healthier," board chairman Allen Nelson said in a statement, "and I am proud of the progress we’ve made in further establishing a distinct Atlanta Ballet brand.”

The news emerged from Atlanta Ballet’s 85th annual meeting, a board gathering.

Beyond the numbers, the board reviewed season highlights topped by the March world premiere of Atlanta Ballet resident choreographer Helen Pickett’s “Camino Real,” based on the 1953 Tennessee Williams’ play of the same name. Other noted highlights included the encore of French choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot's “Roméo et Juliette” and premieres by John Heginbotham, Yuri Possokhov and Alexander Ekman.

Also at the annual meeting, Nelson (of Crawford & Company) was reelected to his seventh term as chairman. He will be joined on the executive committee for 2015-16 by vice chairs Elizabeth Adams (community volunteer), Kristen Manion Taylor (Delta Air Lines) and David Crosland (Harbert Management Corp.); secretary Kathleen Knous (community volunteer); and treasurer Sue Gibbs (Comcast Corp.).

Three new trustees also were appointed: Ghislaine Austin, regional head of Northern Trust Wealth Management; Meria Carstarphen, Atlanta Public Schools superintendent; and Barbara Joiner, community volunteer.

After its summer hiatus, Atlanta Ballet's 23-member professional company returns Aug. 18 to prepare for the 2015-16 season. It will include the 20th anniversary of “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker”; the return of “Moulin Rouge – The Ballet” and the premiere of McFall’s “Sleeping Beauty” (a one-hour family ballet) in February; “20/20,” which will honor McFall's 20 years of artistic leadership, in March; an encore of “Twyla Tharp’s The Princes and the Goblin” in April; and “MAYhem: Kissed,” in May.

More on Atlanta Ballet and its Centre for Dance Education:

Leilani Tian, a student at Northview High School, performing at the recent Beijing International Ballet and Choreography Competition.

Northview High student wins in Beijing

Johns Creek 16-year-old Leilani Tian, a student at Northview High School, won the Morningstar Foundation Award at the recent Beijing International Ballet and Choreography Competition.

Noted as possessing extraordinary technical ability for her age category, Leilani is coached by Xiao Chen at MorningStar Dance Academy in Johns Creek. The award includes a $2,000 cash prize.

Tian regularly participates in U.S.-based competitions. The Beijing competition is in its third year.

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