The Washington Ballet is a leading contender to become the resident ballet company of the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts. The company, however, has no intention of moving from Washington.
The Brooklyn Center is generally considered to be a regional performing arts center, drawing on a local audience of more than 4 million people from the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.
According to Brooklyn Center officials, who emphasized that their organization has no connection with the older Brooklyn Academy of Music, other candidates for the residency include the Oakland, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Louisville ballet companies.
But the Washington and Oakland ensembles are reported to be the front-runners for the residency--which will involve financial support from the Brooklyn Center to aid the chosen company in new ballet productions and guaranteed performances and master class sessions.
Alton Miller, managing director of the Washington Ballet, yesterday confirmed that "I had conversations with them," and that Brooklyn Center Executive Vice President Dan Swartz came to Washington last month to spend time viewing the company.
"It's something we're obviously interested in," Miller said. "We had been there two years in a row last season and the season before and we're talking about performing there next season" regardless of any residency arrangement.
"The Washington Ballet and the Brooklyn Center are at very compatible levels with one another," said Miller. "It seems to me we are made for one another.
"We like the house. We like the audience. We like the New York exposure."
But Miller cautioned that talks are still in the initial stages. "We're auditioning," he said, laughing.
Lawton Tootle, the Brooklyn Center's programming associate, said his organization is committed to finding a resident troupe to provide alternative lower-priced programming to what is available in Manhattan. "It will happen," Tootle said. "Merely choosing the company is all that awaits. We expect to do it by February 15."
The resident company will receive use of facilities from the center and money to help with at least "one world premiere or major revival every year, and we're talking about a three- to five-year guaranteed contract." For the first year, the residency would be a one-week venture. Later, it is expected to be expanded to up to three weeks a season.
"And we would expect to have an authoritative input to the company we choose," Tootle said.