I was troubled by the way in which Edward Villella was characterized as being reckless with money in Jordan Levin’s July 15 story, Behind the curtain: Edward Villella’s firing as Miami City Ballet boss.
In my brief time as executive director of the Miami City Ballet, I found that not to be true. When I asked him to change programming last December in order to reduce the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget, he was pragmatic and cooperative.
Information about the company’s tours to New York and Paris was also misleading. Direct expenses for both tours were covered by grants and gifts, as well as box-office receipts in the case of the 2009 tour to New York City.
However, Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, MCB’s chairman, has expressed a valid concern about the value of tours during a time of economic turndown. She believes that building new audiences and expanding fundraising in the company’s four primary markets, Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Naples, represent a better use of financial and human resources. In the past six months, eight new trustees have been recruited to the board from Palm Beach as a means for increasing fundraising in the company’s largest market. Similar initiatives are under way in the other areas.
Miami City Ballet’s biggest challenge is to generate new sources of revenue. Sadly, the turmoil over Villella’s departure has resulted in a serious downturn in funding. It is time to end the rancor. If people truly care about the company and its future, they should make generous contributions now. This is the appropriate way to honor both Villella and the extraordinary dancers who have won the hearts of ballet lovers everywhere.
Nicholas Goldsborough, Miami Beach