Studio Owners
Students and Studio Company dancers join Rawson on the steps of their new building, before social distancing became necessary for COVID-19. Photo by Daniel Garcia, courtesy of New Ballet

Silicon Valley Ballet announced in February 2016 that the company would close and file for bankruptcy. The closure included the school—and $250,000 in tuition money for the current school year and summer program was lost in the bankruptcy.

But the collapse could not take down Dalia Rawson, the school director. A survivor who had weathered the company's financial upheaval for years—and her own life-threatening illness—the bankruptcy didn't stop her.

Just two weeks after Silicon Valley Ballet closed, she incorporated a brand-new entity, New Ballet. What started as an effort to offer classes to the school's 250 students through the term they had already paid for turned into a fresh start for a school freed from a troubled company.

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Anyone who has donated to a peer's dance production or witnessed this guy generate more than $55,000 to make a potato salad on Kickstarter knows crowdfunding can be an effective way to raise money for just about anything. (Get crowdfunding tips for studio directors here.) Now, Ballet San Jose is depending on it to stay in business.

In recent years, the company, headed by former American Ballet Theatre principal José Manuel Carreño, has faced lower-than-expected tickets sales and, more problematically, losses of funding from major financial backers. Instead of turning to the city for a bailout, the company is asking the public for its support.

Company administrators have declared they have until Saturday, March 14, to raise $550,000, or they'll have to close their doors. According to updates, they are more than 60 percent of the way there. Visit their campaign page, which they've titled Bridge to the Future, here.

In the meantime, dancers and tech geeks are getting the word out to support their favorite Silicon Valley–based ballet company. Check out videos by BSJ School students and tech industry CEOs and entrepreneurs below.

 

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