The painful saga of Edward Villella’s firing from Miami City Ballet seems to suggest that ballet companies are fundamentally uneconomic propositions: to build a strong company with great artistic vision, as Villella has done, costs so much that ticket sales, ballet school revenues, public grants, and other traditional sources of funding cannot support it; private donors must have bottomless pockets and infinite patience. Though some of those donors insist that Villella’s difficult and demanding personality is to blame for the mess.
We’re reminded of a similar brouhaha at Ballet San Jose that resulted in the firing of Dennis Nahat. As Lynn Seymour recently wrote, “creative people are often quite a handful.”
When the dust settles, and (the presumably more pliant) Lourdes Lopez takes Villella’s place at the helm of this gloriously feisty and dynamic company, we’ll see who was proved right.