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St. Petersburg City Ballet to Shut Down

The studio, which formerly was the Florida West Ballet, will close Dec. 31.

As of Dec. 31, after nearly 30 years, the St. Petersburg City Ballet will be shutting down.

The news was announced at Monday’s Arts Advisory Committee meeting by John Collins, head of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance.

On Wednesday the ballet confirmed the news. 

" … A lot of people are very hurt and sad that we can't continue," the ballet said in an email to Patch. "It's truly a shame. The students were being provided an opportunity to train with some of the best instructors in this area in a facility that provided professional sprung floors, large studios — everything you could ask for."

Collins and the committee said they are very disappointed the ballet is shutting down for many reasons, but mostly because it had such great potential.

The organization had an amazing “artistic vision for the St. Pete City Ballet as it became from the Florida West Ballet,” Collins said.

"Many things were on the verge of happening," the ballet said in a statement to Patch. "These kids are crushed, but without funding or other support our hands seem to be tied."

The organization's website said the organization has been a part of St. Pete for 30 years and only recently changed its name to the St. Petersburg City Ballet. 

"St. Petersburg City Ballet was founded in 1981 as Florida West Ballet. In 2011 Florida West Ballet changed its name to St. Petersburg City Ballet as a rebirth to its core values. With a wonderful new studio, new faculty and a new board the organization is focused on providing the best ballet training in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area."

The ballet, located at 290 Martin Luther King Jr. St. N., could no longer keep up organizationally and financially as it was aiming to increase its influence and scope, the arts committee said.

In September, the city ballet formed a board to oversee operations. Last week, the board disbanded, the ballet said. 

“They did not have a business plan for this new model,” said Elizabeth Brincklow, Office of Arts & International Relations, at Monday’s arts committee meeting.

She told the committee that its second model, moving from being open one day a week to five, was not sustainable.

“They were working backwards and forwards at the same time,'' Brincklow said. “It’s a loss for a lot of reasons."

Teachers, trainers and top dancers are being directed to other dance studios in the area. The ballet hopes its dancers will continue to follow their dreams and aspirations. 

"With advanced-level students, those serious about ballet, they can't not dance. It's who they are," the ballet said. 

Sierra Dante December 15, 2011 at 12:49 PM
Any grant proposals being explored?
Linda Hersey December 16, 2011 at 12:08 AM
We'd love to hear about any efforts out there to help save the ballet!
Ray December 16, 2011 at 01:36 PM
A few people with delusions took an Institution (FL West) and tried to change it's core values to suit their whims. It failed miserably. I wonder if FL West would have continued for another 30 had not a small group decided they knew what was best for current and future dancers. Regarding the facilities, apparently they were adequate, without heat/ac, for many dancers for 30 years. Sounds like the parents were the ones who were the ones who couldn't take the heat (or cold).
Joe December 16, 2011 at 09:17 PM
If anyone is interested, plans are in the works to bring back the old Florida West Ballet, to it's standard of excellence. A new director/instructor has been contacted and we should know more in the near future. We are looking at an August rebirth and the program will be back to it's original format of Saturday class/rehersals, a performance during the holiday season and a spring/summer performance. The plan is to move back to the Mirror Lake studio. Anyone looking for more information or wishing to help us out can contact me at captive@tampabay.rr.com.
Dance mom December 18, 2011 at 12:13 AM
As a parent of a florida west student. My child received the best instruction in the area until a select few parents took over and thought they knew more than all the parents for the past 30 years. They changed everything including the core values. If Florida West can like the Phoenix, rise from the ashes of st petersburg ballet and go back to it's original values the city of St Petersburg will again have young dancers to be proud of. I look forward to getting back to what's important the dancers.

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