The financially troubled Capitol Ballet company -- which was unable to give more than two performances this season -- has been awarded a $5,000 emergency grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
The commission took the unprecedented action at a Thursday night meeting, after the ballet company, rumored to be on the verge of folding, applied for money from the commission's new emergency funding process. The previously unpublicized source of funds involves a rigorous evaluation procedure through which arts groups can receive money beyond the normal commission grants-in-aid. w
The Commission decided to make funds available to the ballet after one on-sight visit by commissioner Ted Gay and staff member Mark Woodbridge.
"The feeling of the Commission," according to Woodbridge, "is that the Capitol Ballet has been in operation for 20 years and it's been an important institution for minorities."
There was some discussion Thursday night about whether the company could survive even with a $5,000 boost.
But Heidi L. Berry, vice-chair of the commission, said, "The Capitol Ballet is at a crossroads. With this funding and more, they're trying to get enough to help to put them over."
The commission gave the Capitol Ballet a $6,000 grant during the regular awarding of grants last fall.
As a condition of the grant, the commission passed a motion requiring that the Capitol Ballet submit long- and short-range financial and management plans.
Last month, the Capitol Ballet received a $10,000 grant from the Meyer Foundation. It also has a commitment of $5,000 from the Exxon Corp. and a $2,500 commitment from C&P Telephone.
Berry said the ballet company is reorganizing, which includes getting new members for the Board of Trustees as well as creating a new advisory board. Past Board President Delano Lewis will be on the advisory board.