Louisville Ballet receives $1 million anonymous gift - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Ballet receives $1 million anonymous gift

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Image courtesy: Louisville Ballet Image courtesy: Louisville Ballet

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A $1 million gift was given to the Louisville Ballet, but the donor wants to be kept a secret. It's the largest gift from an individual in the 64 year history of the Louisville Ballet. That amount has only been donated two other times.

Ballet dancers wearing proud smiles stood behind their artistic director, Robert Curran, as he made an announcement Friday. It was held at the Louisville Ballet Studios in front of media and high-level donors.

"An anonymous New York donor who has seen what we're capable of and has seen what this community can do, is supporting us with a million dollar gift," said Curran. 

"This is a really exciting time for us. It always is this time of year. The dancers are coming back, the new season's about to launch, the first production is just a few weeks away," said Lisa Patrick Leet, Louisville Ballet Board President. The excitement for the season is heightened a million times over.

The large support for the arts in Louisville is one of the reasons  the New York donor wanted to give. Curran says the donor is committed to the arts, and is someone he has known for a long time.

"The belief that our donor has is that the focus should be on the community, on the artistic vision, what we can achieve with this gift," said Curran.

The million dollars will be used over the next two years.

"This gift is allowing us to provide live music for every production, which is incredibly important aspect of what we do. It's a thrill for us to partner with the Louisville Orchestra to give back to the community. It's also allowing us to create new work, it's very very important for Louisville Ballet to be contributing to the art form."

The Louisville Orchestra knew something was up.

"No one had any idea it was going to be this big," said Michelle Winters, Director of Marketing for the Louisville Orchestra. "The ballet came to the orchestra and contracted us to perform for all of the ballet performances for the season, which is not always the case," she explained.

Many remember ballet performances with recorded music, including at the well-loved Nutcracker. The arts in Louisville are becoming healthy again. The gift brings strength for the upcoming ballet season and beyond. 

"Our donor is wanting for this support to be a catalyst for the future," said Curran. "It's an exciting time for us."

The Ballet's first production has a story line set in Louisville in 1917. The Louisville Orchestra will be a part of the production.

Opening night is Oct. 2.

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