Oregon Ballet Theatre is back from the brink, thanks in no small part to its many friends in the ballet community. On June 12, the company—facing severe financial difficulties that left it scrambling to raise $750,000 by the end of that month—held a fundraising gala dubbed Dance United. Dancers from all over North America, including members of New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and The Joffrey Ballet, performed together to save OBT.
“Dancers have a bond that transcends time and distance, and that was really apparent to me that evening,” says OBT principal Gavin Larsen, who also performed in the gala.
Dance United raised $330,000 and lent the fundraising campaign much-needed momentum. The company ultimately exceeded its goal, pulling together $907,747 by the end of June. “The enthusiasm for this gala reassured me that art is not a dispensable item and that people won't let it leave their lives,” says Larsen.