Sarasota Ballet was a vastly different company in 2007 prior to Iain Webb’s appointment as director.
“Financially, it was unstable,” says Mary Anne Servian, managing director.
Back then, they were a little over $300,000 in ticket sales. Today, they are at $1.2 million in ticket sales. If that monetary growth is any indication of Webb’s success, then it’s no wonder the board of directors wanted to sign him on for another ten years. He has added 99 new ballets and divertissements to the repertoire. He’s gained international attention for his emphasis on the famed British choreographer Sir Frederick Ashton. And the company has grown from 30 company members and four apprentices to 45 company members and seven apprentices. But Webb doesn’t do it alone — he’s got a power team helping him.
Fortunately, the board recognized this, also signing Mary Anne Servian and Assistant Director Margaret Barbieri for ten years as well. It’s the first time Barbieri and Servian have been on contract.
“I think we’re an excellent team,” Servian says. “I don’t know of any other team in Sarasota that works as well together as the three of us do.”
Webb is 100% in charge of everything artistic, Servian makes sure the business side lines up with the artistic side, and Barbieri does a little of everything from staging ballets to helping the company daily in rehearsals and running the Margaret Barbieri Conservatory.
Back in 2007, they had 18 full time staff members, and now they have just ten. Sarasota Ballet has cut down and for the size of the company and budget — they’ve proven they can do a lot with a smaller team.
“We’re little but mighty!” Servian says.
In the next 10 years, Servian says they’ve got big plans for the Conservatory. They hope to initiate a degree program and have dormitories for students to live in. They also hope to grow the school, which would also require additional studio space. But in the next ten years, they hope to have their own building and performance space to accommodate these dreams.
And if they can quadruple the ticket sales in six years, imagine what another ten could do.
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