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Ballet Kelowna changes course, will move ahead with next season

Ballet Kelowna dancers Christina Cecchini and Cai Glover starring with The Canadian School of Ballet dancers in The Nutcracker (2009)

Glenna Turnbull

Ballet Kelowna, which previously announced it would shut down operations this spring, now says it has decided to move ahead with a season for 2013-14.

"We realize there is a place in Kelowna – in fact, in the Okanagan and in B.C. – for the cultural contribution our company can make," new board president Deborah Ward said in a statement released Thursday. She said the support of the community, dancers, staff, sponsors and others was behind "the optimism that fuels our decision to press on."

Ballet Kelowna announced in February that it would shut down operations this spring, citing impossible to ignore financial conditions. "Sustaining a ballet company in a smaller market is an ongoing struggle," then board president Jamie Maw said at the time in a statement. "No matter how much we fine tune our projections, and despite one of the hardest working boards in show business, the continuing downward economic trends are more than we can adjust for."

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Maw was one of eight board remembers who resigned at a special board meeting in March.

But the company now says, because of its stable, debt-free financial position, that the board feels it can continue to operate, adding that a new model of operating will be required as well as community support.

Details are still being worked out for the 2013-14 season, but founding artistic director David LaHay plans to stay on.

A company fundraiser called Dancing with Friends will be held on Friday. As of Thursday afternoon, fewer than half the seats at the Kelowna Community Theatre had been sold for the event.

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