Ballet San Jose, the Silicon Valley-based troupe led by former American Ballet Theatre star José Manuel Carreño, is facing shutdown if it fails to raise $550,000 by March 14. The company made the announcement earlier this week. BSJ launched a fundraising drive in January that's raised a little over half a million dollars, and now must match that figure in order to keep the company going.
BSJ faces special challenges as a midsize company in Silicon Valley, including competing with San Francisco's well-known artistic institutions just about an hour away by car. When Carreño took the reigns in 2013, the company was in debt and had recently lost the support of a major donor. Still, Carreño relished the challenge of finding new ways to reach local audiences. His Bodies of Technology program, set for late March, includes a work by Jessica Lang that incorporates gesture-controlled music and an Amy Seiwert premiere in collaboration with a software artist.
Silicon Valley is known as a hotbed of technology and innovation, but it has had trouble sustaining a strong arts and culture scene. Several other groups have folded in recent years, including San Jose Repertory Theatre and American Musical Theatre of San Jose. Arts leaders remain hopeful that BSJ will be able to pull through and take steps to change this.