Press Release: Atlanta Ballet’s 85th Annual Meeting Puts Perfect “Pointe” on 2014-15 Season

ATLANTA – August 2015 - Good news was in abundance at Atlanta Ballet’s 85th annual meeting, held Tuesday, July 28 at the Druid Hills Country Club, which officially brought the 2015 fiscal year and 2014-15 performance season to a close.

Under the leadership of President and CEO Arturo Jacobus and Artistic Director John McFall, the organization completed the season with a balanced operating budget. Financial highlights included:

  • $3.1 million in box office sales – the highest ticket revenue for the Company in the last 20 seasons
  • Centre for Dance Education (official school of Atlanta Ballet) revenue exceeding $2.2 million
  • An increase of more than $1 million in contributed income over the previous year, including more than $650,000 in foundation support, totaling $4.1 million

The leadership also recognized other season achievements, such as:

  • Receiving the 2014 Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities
  • Producing the world premiere of resident choreographer Helen Pickett’s “Camino Real”
  • Engineering the full expansion of the Ballet’s newest community program, Atlanta Ballet’s AileyCamp

Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education Dean Sharon Story was also honored for her work in the community with Atlanta Magazine’s “Women Making a Mark” award.

“I am ecstatic and deeply inspired by the efforts of the staff, board and community over the last season,” said Board of Trustees chair Allen Nelson of Crawford & Company. “On every level we excelled. We were focused and diligent and the hard work paid off. As an organization, we have never been healthier, and I am proud of the progress we’ve made in further establishing a distinct Atlanta Ballet brand.”

Annual meeting business also included the approval of its 15-16 officers and the appointment of three new trustees.

Nelson was reelected to his seventh term as chair and will be joined on the executive committee by vice chairs Elizabeth Adams (community volunteer), Kristen Manion Taylor (Delta Air Lines) and David Crosland (Harbert Management Corp.); secretary Kathleen Knous (community volunteer); and treasurer Sue Gibbs (Comcast Corp.).

The Board of Trustees also officially appointed new members:

  • Ghislaine v. G. Austin, Regional Head of Northern Trust Wealth Management
  • Meria Carstarphen, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent
  • Barbara Joiner, Community volunteer

Success on Stage Drives Success at the Box Office

For its 85th season, which McFall called “one of the most extraordinary the Ballet has ever presented,” Atlanta Ballet continued its tradition of bringing fresh, dynamic works to stage. The bar was set high with the season opener of “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker.” The perennial favorite not only exceeded its revenue goal, but broke its box office record for the second straight year, bringing in a total of $2.1 million in sales.

Artistically, the biggest achievement of the 2014-15 season was the March world premiere of Atlanta Ballet resident choreographer Helen Pickett’s “Camino Real,” a ballet based on the 1953 Tennessee Williams’ play of the same name. The production was a massive undertaking as it was built from the ground up – new score, new set, costumes and choreography, but the investment paid off as the Ballet brought in new audiences and received praise from both critics and audience-goers.

Other season highlights included the return of the blockbuster ballet “Roméo et Juliette” by French choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot and premieres by John Heginbotham, San Francisco Ballet resident choreographer Yuri Possokhov, and Alexander Ekman.

With its inspired programming and inventive marketing, Atlanta Ballet was able to grow first-time ticket buyers and increase overall ticket revenue, bringing in more than $3.1 million in sales and nearly 72,000 attendees.

Unprecedented Foundation Support Leads to Banner Year for Fundraising Team

It was a hallmark year for Atlanta Ballet on the fundraising front as well. For the first time in recent history, the organization exceeded its goals in annual giving. Under the direction of veteran arts administrator Steven Libman, who joined Atlanta Ballet less than a year ago as its Chief Advancement Officer, the development team exceeded season fundraising goals. 

Overall contributions surpassed the previous year’s by more than $1 million, bringing the season total to $4.1M. Much of the growth was due to an increase in government funding, up by nearly $57,000, and unprecedented support from foundations, which more than tripled over 2013-14 numbers. Atlanta Ballet brought in $650,000 in grants, including major gifts from The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The William Randolph Hearst Foundations and The Shubert Foundation.

Centre for Dance Education Deepens Community Connection with Program Growth and Expansions

Although growth was experienced across all divisions of Atlanta Ballet’s Centre for Dance Education, it was the community division that shined brightest.  Through community programming alone – which includes offerings like Kids in Step school performances and Centre Dance programs at City of Refuge and West End Performing Arts Center - the Centre reached 13,000 students.

The Centre also expanded its footprint in the community with the expansion of its recently adopted Atlanta Ballet’s AileyCamp. Atlanta Ballet partnered with the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation to bring the program back to Atlanta after it lost its funding in 2013. The Ballet was able to raise $150,000 for the program, which funded a free 6-week intensive camp for nearly 100 middle-school aged children from underserved communities.

The 2016 fiscal year officially begins August 1. The Atlanta-based, 23-member professional company will return August 18 after summer hiatus to prepare for the 2015-16 season, which will include the 20th anniversary of “Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker,” “Moulin Rouge – The Ballet” and the premiere of John McFall’s “Sleeping Beauty” (one-hour family ballet) in February, “20/20” in March, “Twyla Tharp’s The Princes and the Goblin” in April, and the season finale production, “MAYhem: Kissed,” in May.  For additional information on Atlanta Ballet and its Centre for Dance Education, visit


About Atlanta Ballet

Founded in 1929, making it the oldest ballet company in nation, Atlanta Ballet is one of the premier dance companies in the country and the official state Ballet of Georgia. Atlanta Ballet's eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals. After 86 years, Atlanta Ballet continues its commitment to share and educate audiences on the empowering joy of dance. In 1996, Atlanta Ballet opened the Centre for Dance Education and is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. The Centre serves over 150,000 people in metro Atlanta each year. Atlanta Ballet's roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city's cultural growth and revitalization. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter @atlantaballet, and like us on Facebook at


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