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(Hoppe on the Arts) Indianapolis Ballet-o-mania

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Last week I wrote about the intensity of the local ballet community. Would that all our local arts had patrons as committed (and as wealthy) as Indianapolis' balletomanes.

Well, here's another example. In last week's post I neglected to mention that Indianapolis already has a ballet company, the Indiana Ballet Company, which also has a ballet school affiliate called the Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana. This organization has been battling to keep ballet alive in Indianapolis in the wake of Ballet Internationale's demise.

Now Christel DeHaan is getting into the act, announcing a $30,000 grant to the IBC. The timing of this gift, coming just two days before the Indianapolis City Ballet's introductory press conference is, given the highly partisan nature of our local scene, delicious.

A press release announcing the DeHaan gift follows...

Christel DeHaan Family Foundation Gift Generates Strength and Stability for Arts Organization and Community

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - April 11, 2009, - In a period of stagnant or negative growth for most arts organizations, The Indiana Ballet Company (IBC) and the affiliated Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana (RBAI) are delighted to receive a gift of $30,000 from The Christel DeHaan Family Foundation in honor of the children and families of Christel House.

Alyona Yakovleva, Artistic Director of IBC explains how honored her company feels that its own commitment to quality, excellence and accountability has been acknowledged by an organization that also recognizes these values. "The gift that the Foundation has provided will not only help us to maintain that commitment, but will allow us to fulfill the motto of its founder, Christel DeHaan, ‘to care, to share, to make a difference' as we extend our outreach and programming activities," she comments. "We feel a great admiration for the mission of Christel House, in whose honor we receive this donation. Like them, we believe that through a focus upon excellence and by providing opportunity for youth, an entire community can benefit."

According to Russ Smith, founding Executive Director, fiscal conservatism has allowed IBC to retain its course and grow its programs better than most. However, he maintains that for today's arts organization, there also needs to be a sense of social responsibility and a willingness to take an active position within the community, stating, "We believe that what we provide is important to the community, which is needed even more in today's tough times. It is our responsibility to the students and patrons of the arts not to cut back programs but to continue to provide the excellence in arts performance and education they need and deserve - otherwise we do no service to our city. This gift will allow us to accomplish this as we enter our fourth season."

The resident dancers of The Indiana Ballet Company (IBC) provide four professional performances throughout the year-from classical ballet to original contemporary works. As a registered, not-for-profit trade school, The Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana (RBAI) prepares its graduates for professional careers in dance, enjoying 100% acceptance into professional dance companies or college dance programs

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