Ventura County Ballet Spring 2021 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

2020 was a year like no other for all of us, personally and professionally. For a performing arts organization like Ventura County Ballet, the challenges seemed insurmountable at times, but we persevered and presented our 22nd consecutive annual production of The Nutcracker on December 6, 2020. It was the culmination of months of rapidly revised plans, dramatically shifting public health guidelines, multiple venue changes, new choreography to meet COVID requirements, and most importantly, the determination and dedication of our dancers, staff, board, and volunteers.

When we took to the outdoor stage at the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 8:00 p.m. that night, the dancers all wore masks, the temperature was in the 50s and dropping, the wind was picking up and the region was just hours away from entering a strict stay-at-home order that would last for the next seven weeks. It was a beautiful performance and truly a night to remember!

Our 2020 Nutcracker was made possible by CBF Productions, who had invited Ventura County Ballet to partner in a series of performances at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, which all had to be canceled. Our special one-time-only performance was limited to friends and family with no tickets sold, nor any other sources of revenue possible.  At the same time. we incurred significant costs from prior commitments to professional dancers and other production expenses. We hope to recover a small portion of these costs through sales of the performance video.

Due to the pandemic that raged throughout our 2020 fiscal year, we lost all other traditional sources of revenue.  We had planned and rehearsed a special fundraising performance featuring exciting contemporary and neoclassical pieces not previously seen in Ventura County for April 26, 2020, at the Namba Performing Arts Space. Just weeks before the event, we were forced to cancel due to the state’s first stay-at-home order.

Other usual fundraising resources such as the Ventura Cultural Arts Commission 2020 grant cycle were canceled. We had also begun discussion with several foundations for grants to support outreach events for diverse, low-income communities, but we were forced to suspend those plans. So, we looked for new opportunities and new ways to support the Company and continue our mission. 

We adopted a digital fundraising platform to streamline and better manage donor relations and communications. Next, a team of Nutcracker parent volunteers planned and executed our first-ever online auction in just six weeks. The auction raised just under $5,000 – more than any of the prior Nutcracker raffles – and will become an annual event. 

We also successfully applied for emergency funding from the Ventura County Community Foundation and the renewed Ventura Cultural Arts Commission 2021 grant cycle and are currently under consideration for a Small Business Relief Grant from the State. 

Our vision for the 2021 Fiscal Year and beyond is grounded in innovation, expansion, and diversity. We will explore a wide range of venue options for our 23rd annual Nutcracker from outdoor stages to productions that are recorded for audiences to enjoy digitally. We are also exploring an online subscription series of new and archived works with the joint goals of providing performing opportunities and delighting audiences. In everything we do, the safety of our dancers and audience is paramount. 

We will continue to evolve our fundraising strategies and take our message to an expanded audience. Finally, in addition to striving to present diverse works to diverse audiences, we are also committed to expanding diversity on our Board and are actively recruiting diverse new members.

We are so incredibly grateful for your past support and look forward to your continued participation in 2021.

Thank you,

Kathleen Noblin, Executive Director

Michelle Parcher, President                  

Support Ventura County Ballet by contributing to our Relief Fund