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BALLET TROUPE RUNS OUT OF CASH, LAYS OFF DANCERS.



Byline: Rachel Uranga Staff Writer

OXNARD - Three years after Ventura County gained its first professional ballet company Noun 1. ballet company - a company that produces ballets
troupe, company - organization of performers and associated personnel (especially theatrical); "the traveling company all stayed at the same hotel"
, the 10-member troupe has temporarily laid off its talent and is struggling to keep afloat.

Channel Islands Ballet Company, which had its beginnings as a youth dance ensemble A group of dancers preforming under a common name: the dance equivalent of a band. Examples would be Riverdance and Shuvani.  22 years ago, has canceled its March performance of ``Spring, Love Songs'' at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks Thousand Oaks, residential city (1990 pop. 104,352), Ventura co., S Calif., in a farm area; inc. 1964. Avocados, citrus, vegetables, strawberries, and nursery products are grown. , saying it needs $150,000 by April 1 to continue operating.

``It's so distressing to see arts organizations not surviving in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. ,'' said Yves de Bouteiller, the company's artistic director and former director of the Wisconsin Ballet. ``If it was one isolated organization, OK, but it's across the country and it's very difficult.

``Here, we were building something. We are still trying to establish ourselves.''

For many in the community, establishing the company bolstered the cultural identity of the area and was viewed as a coup, said Margaret Travers, executive director of the Ventura County Council for the Arts.

The ballet company played an instrumental part in encouraging arts in Ventura County schools with programs that taught dance and sent children to the theater.

The classical ballet Noun 1. classical ballet - a style of ballet based on precise conventional steps performed with graceful and flowing movements
ballet, concert dance - a theatrical representation of a story that is performed to music by trained dancers
 company, like many arts foundations nationwide, relies on a mix of state grants, corporate and individuals donations to fund its $480,000 budget. All have slowed since December, de Bouteiller said.

To resuscitate re·sus·ci·tate
v.
To restore consciousness, vigor, or life to.
 the company, de Bouteiller and the company's board of directors are turning to long-time donors and considering a fund-raiser. They hope the effort will allow them to reopen in April at California State University, Channel Islands California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI) is a university located in Camarillo, California, in California's Ventura County. CSUCI opened in 2002 as the twenty-third campus in the California State University system, succeeding the Ventura County branch campus of , where the group is housed.

``We all took a chance because it was a small company. Now that the paychecks aren't coming in, it's really hard,'' said Kathleen Dwyer, one of the company's youngest dancers at 24.

The news came Wednesday, while the dancers were practicing for the upcoming performance.

``Everyone was upset when we found out,'' Dwyer said. ``We knew it was coming. I knew a lot of people that couldn't sleep that night.''

More troublesome is that under the governor's proposed budget for next year, grants for the California Arts Council The California Arts Council is a state agency governed by an 11-member council appointed by the Governor and the state Legislature to advance the state through the arts and creativity, with an emphasis on children and under-served communities. , the state's only agency dedicated to arts, would be slashed from $16.4 million to $8.2 million.

The council's foundation funds 10 percent of the ballet company's budget, de Bouteiller said. With anticipated cuts, a lackluster stock market and a looming looming: see mirage.  war, other arts foundations also are scaling back on their programs, making the prospect of jobs for many of the dancers slim.

Funds have sunk to their lowest point in decades, said Adam Gottlieb, a spokesman for the council.

``I don't see there's anything we could have done,'' de Bouteiller said.

To make a donation or for more information, write or call the Channel Islands Ballet Company, PO Box 6395, Oxnard CA 93031; (805) 384-8558.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Mar 4, 2003
Words:473
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