Back for its 48th year, the New York City Ballet has long been a staple of SPAC's summer season. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, with the ballet's stay in Saratoga reduced to a week, there's some concern it won't be here for the long term.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – "There's usually some bugs on stage or a bat flying around, but it has a really free feeling to it."
More than 10 years removed from her first summer in Saratoga with the New York City Ballet, dancer Megan Fairchild feels right at home performing at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
"You're getting to see the open air and the grass and the hill there, so we have a fun time dancing outside,” said Fairchild, who joined the company as a teenager. “It has a more relaxed atmosphere, so we enjoy it up here."
Fairchild is one of nearly 90 dancers in town for this year's residency, which kicks off Tuesday night.
While in years past audiences were treated to three weeks of performances, rising costs and declining attendance has lead organizers to condense this year's schedule to just one week.
"You kind of get a little nervous,” Fairchild said after rehearsals Tuesday afternoon. “At first it kind of makes you feel we're not really wanted up here, but I know that's not really the case and it's more about the economy."
"We need support, we need sponsorship because costs increase to bring a production here. They don't go down, they go up," SPAC President and Executive Director Marcia White said.
According to White, ticket sales only cover about 40 percent of SPAC's annual $3.5 million for classical performances, which include the ballet, all other dance performances and the Philadelphia Orchestra, among others.
The rest falls on the non-profit's members and corporate sponsors, typically ending up with the ballet company and SPAC taking a loss.
"What we have to do is look at the cost and how we can control some of the costs without diminishing the production and the caliber of the production," White said.
While next summer's engagement is scheduled for one week as well, SPAC and New York City Ballet executives say they're both committed to finding a sustainable solution so they can celebrate their 50th anniversary together and many years beyond.
"I'm confident that this legacy and this heritage will continue," White said.
"As long as there's people out there and they're applauding for us, that's what feels the most rewarding for us," Fairchild said.
To purchase tickets you can head to www.SPAC.org or call the box office at (518)584-9330.