Katrina Tamminga - March 1, 2010
Thanks to a generous contribution from an anonymous donor, Colorado Ballet was able to offer over $100,000 (2,743) in free tickets to the Company’s production of Beauty and the Beast. Tickets for the entire run of the production (Feb. 19-28) were distributed on a first come, first serve basis to children and families in the Denver community looking for a distraction from the economy.
“This was a phenomenal gift, both to Colorado Ballet and to the Denver community,” said Colorado Ballet Acting Executive Director Denise Sanderson. “We all know people who have been significantly impacted by the economy. This gift not only gave Colorado Ballet a needed and much appreciated boost, but more importantly, it gave impacted families an emotional boost, proving that Einstein was correct, art does nourish the soul.”
Families from all over the Denver area, and even from as far as Colorado Springs and Summit County, were able to attend Beauty and the Beast. Colorado Ballet also distributed many tickets to larger groups from various organizations including the Ronald McDonald House, The Bridge Project, Growing Home Inc., the Boys and Girls Club, patients from the terminal cancer ward at Children’s Hospital, Gust Elementary and the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
According to Craig Bond, Ticketing Services Manager for Colorado Ballet, ticketing agents were astounded by the outpour of appreciation from patrons. While the donor has chosen to remain anonymous, countless people have offered their gratitude and thanks for the munificent gift.
Families redeeming tickets brought ticketing agents to tears recounting stories of low and reduced incomes, unemployment, illnesses resulting in drained bank accounts, mentors, recent immigration, bankruptcy and disabilities.
“It has been amazing to speak with so many of these families,” Bond said. “Initially we were hesitant about people taking advantage of the gift, but what we saw was just the opposite. Every person we spoke with had a compelling and inspiring story.”
According to Bond, the most inspirational story he heard came from a grandmother raising her daughter’s four children.
“Her daughter loved dance and until now, she had been unable to share her daughter’s passion with her grandchildren,” Bond said. “It was incredibly important for her that her grandchildren have that connection with their deceased mother.”
The goal of this generous gift was multifaceted. The tickets helped to ensure that children and families who wanted to see Beauty and the Beast, but because of economic circumstances, could not, had the opportunity. This donation also helped to broaden Colorado Ballet’s audience and allowed the organization to share the art of professional ballet with many individuals who otherwise, would not have had the opportunity.
“It is truly inspiring to dance for new audiences, especially those who have been struggling in recent times,” said Colorado Ballet Principal Dancer Sharon Wehner. “I am honored and delighted to be a part of this and I will be thinking about it each time I go onstage as Belle.”