Louisville Ballet invites applications and nominations for this important co-leadership position. Working together with Artistic Director Robert Curran, the Executive Director will be responsible for aligning, strengthening, and further integrating the organization’s position in Louisville’s rich performing arts environment and building on the leadership role that the Ballet currently holds in the city. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will guide the implementation of the company’s long-term strategy for the professional company and the Louisville Ballet School, ensuring financial stability and operational excellence. Louisville Ballet has engaged Management Consultants for the Arts to lead this search, and interested candidates may apply for this position by visiting this link: https://mcaonline.com/searches/executive-director-louisville-ballet
The mission of Louisville Ballet is to inspire human connection, collaboration, and creativity by making moving art. Its vision is to transform Louisville into a global arts destination. By making new works and reviving the classics—through collaborations with local and international choreographers, visual artists, musicians, and composers—Louisville Ballet welcomes diverse participants to experience the universal language of dance.
Core focus areas include the following:
- Main-stage Season – To present existing and new world-class ballet, both narrative and abstract.
- New work – To make Louisville Ballet an incubator for innovative and original works, a global destination for creatives and collaborators, and a champion of new forums for the presentation of dance.
- Community – To expose and explore issues that are relevant to the Louisville community in ways that maintain artistic integrity and deliver a valuable contribution.
- Sustainability – To nurture respect for what Louisville Ballet has, to provide what it needs, and to pursue what it wants.
Louisville Ballet holds a significant position in the ballet world. Its influence and artistic output far exceed its size. Founded in 1952 as a civic company, the Ballet achieved professional company status in 1975 when it contracted eight dancers to form a resident company. In that same year, the Ballet founded its school, first known as the Academy of the Louisville Ballet and now as Louisville Ballet School. Its presence is a very real manifestation of Louisville Ballet’s ongoing commitment to ballet and dance training.
The Company’s community engagement efforts have three primary outreach goals: to provide access, promote inclusion and build diversity in the world of dance. The programs provide high-quality dance education experiences throughout Kentucky through in-school residencies, performance assemblies, after-school programs, community workshops, and student matinee performances, serving over 20,000 people per year.
Much information on Louisville Ballet may be found on their website: http://www.louisvilleballet.org.
Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky with a population of approximately 771,000, making it the 29th largest city in the U.S. The city provides an anchor to the larger metropolitan region with a population of nearly 1.3 million people. Ranked by Trulia.com as the 3rd Most Affordable Place to Live in the US, Louisville prides itself on being “a city for all.” Beyond iconic brands like KFC, and Louisville Slugger, Louisville is also a Top 10 Food City and is a growing tourist destination centered around the booming Bourbon whiskey industry. Louisville describes itself as “passionately independent, progressively friendly, and an always welcoming city.”
Louisville is one of the more progressive arts communities in the country, and Louisville Ballet is among its top tier performing arts organizations which include Actors Theatre of Louisville, Louisville Orchestra and Kentucky Opera. The visual arts options in Louisville are broad and deep, including 21C Museum, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and The Speed Art Museum among many others.
The Kentucky Derby – “The fastest two minutes in sports” – is likely the city’s most iconic annual event and is “the oldest continuous sporting event in the United States” according to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It brings thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars to the region each year. For two weeks every year, the entire city focuses on the Derby.
Robert Curran, Artistic Director
Trained at The Australian Ballet School and having enjoyed a thrilling and fulfilling career with The Australian Ballet as a Principal Artist, Robert Curran took the passion and discipline he developed as a dancer and set his sights on diversifying his knowledge, skills and abilities. Appointed Artistic Director of Louisville Ballet in 2014, Robert continues to contribute to the global arts community, enriching his knowledge of the art form to which he has devoted his life. He is excited by, and committed to, the Louisville community with its abundant respect for the arts and its exciting perspective on the future.
Board of Directors
Louisville Ballet is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 28 business and community leaders. Jim Haynes, owner of Bluegrass Motorsport, currently serves as Board Chair. Ellen Shapira is chairing the search committee of seven members consisting of trustees and other key stakeholders.
THE FACILITY AND VENUES
The Louisville Ballet building is located in downtown Louisville on East Main Street, only blocks from its primary performance venue. The award-winning facility is a modern, warehouse-inspired building built in 1995, including two large studios with sprung floors, administrative offices and costume shop storage. Sets and production shops reside in an onsite warehouse. The majority of Louisville Ballet’s performances occur at The Kentucky Center in Whitney Hall, a 2,377-seat multi-purpose facility. Some mixed-repertory performances are presented in the Brown Theatre, a 1,400-seat venue, built in 1925 and extensively renovated in the 1990s. The Ballet is one of several resident companies of The Kentucky Center, including Louisville Orchestra, Kentucky Opera, and Broadway Across America – Louisville.
COMMITMENT TO BALLET TRAINING, EDUCATION AND THE COMMUNITY
The Louisville Ballet School operates in two locations: the primary studios on East Main Street (where the professional company rehearses) and a satellite location known as St. Matthews Studios. The St. Mathews location is in a rented space conveniently located in the center of Louisville’s East End suburbs. The greatest number of classes occur at the St. Matthews location, with six studios. The school offers classes from ages four through adult and currently serves over 500 students. The Ballet’s commitment to education and to the community of Louisville is significant. Longstanding partnerships exist in many local schools. The programs offered range from lecture-demonstrations to year-round in-school ballet classes. Thousands of Louisville children attend rehearsals and student matinee performances each year, both at the Ballet’s studios and at Kentucky Center.
The Ballet currently operates on an annual budget of approximately $5 million. Louisville Ballet is at an important stage, growing and needing expansion of leadership to assure financial stability, operational excellence, mentorship, and direction to staff. An effective Executive Director will help lay the foundation for realization of the company’s long-term strategy (Vision 315).
The next Executive Director will join an organization with a strong foundation and credibility based on its legacy of hard-earned artistic bona fides. Among the opportunities are:
- Aligning, strengthening, and further integrating the Ballet’s position in a rich performing arts environment and building on the leadership role that the Ballet currently holds in the city.
- Furthering existing partnerships and building new collaborations locally, regionally and nationally.
- Expansion of the School.
- Diversifying audiences while bringing long-time, dedicated patrons into all future programmatic activities;
- Continuing the Ballet’s leadership in new work development, with the potential for new and expanded new partnerships in co-production.
Along with these opportunities, there are notable challenges that the next ED must embrace:
- Finding the right balance of programming (size, scale and number of productions) vis-à-vis resources;
- Developing new and expanded earned revenue streams, with an emphasis on individual donors.
- Retiring the current cash deficit of approximately $1M.
The Ballet’s 2019-2020 season consists of six productions, including Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow, two mixed-repertory programs, and The Brown-Forman Nutcracker with choreography by Val Caniporoli. Also on the season is the annual Choreographers’ Showcase, consisting of all new pieces by the dancers of Louisville Ballet, as well as a new evening-length work, Kentucky! Volume 1, with choreography by Robert Curran and a Kentucky-based creative team. The organization has made a commitment to live music and frequently engages the Louisville Orchestra as its performance partner. Nearly 75% of next season’s works will be new.
There are currently 26 members of the professional company, each on a30-week contract, and 30 members of the Studio Company.
POSITION AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Executive Director will work in a co-CEO relationship with the Artistic Director with both positions reporting to the Board. It is, of course, critically important that the individuals in these two positions work in a cohesive and productive manner. The central roles of the Executive Director are as follows:
- Partner with the Artistic Director and Board to implement the Company’s current strategic plan and develop future five-year strategy.
- In concert with the Artistic Director, create a work culture of synergy and strong collaboration across the organization.
- Forge and maintain important external relationships in the Louisville community and act as an external voice and advocate of Louisville Ballet.
- Establish, develop, and maintain national and international relationships with funders and presenters to increase financial resources and to expose Louisville Ballet to a wider audience.
- Have primary responsibility for managing the fiscal affairs of the Company, assuring ongoing fiscal discipline by creating and achieving balanced annual operating budgets for Louisville Ballet.
- Serve as the primary major gifts officer, leading fundraising activities in a strategic and hands-on manner, developing relationships throughout the region, expanding annual contributed revenues and raising capital funds.
- Forge a strong relationship with and work actively to continue to build Louisville Ballet’s Board of Directors.
- Align all human and financial resources (including cash flow, budget, and financial systems) in a way that can sustainably realize the strategic and artistic vision for the company.
- Expand on successful communication strategies and guide the marketing, external messaging, and outreach of Louisville Ballet with a focus on increasing ticket sales.
- Supervise the administrative operations and programmatic growth of The Louisville Ballet School.
The chosen candidate will be someone who is likely to establish strong and productive working partnerships with the Artistic Director and the Board; of course, prior experience with such partnerships would be deemed useful. They will also have the following skill sets and experience:
- Strong passion for building a great cultural institution that can grow significantly with the community.
- Demonstrated success in personally securing philanthropic support in a not-for-profit arts environment.
- Detail oriented and methodical about organizational routines and processes.
- A successful management career within the professional performing arts. Dance experience is not required, but serious candidates will have demonstrated enthusiasm for arts and culture.
- A clear knowledge of the ramifications of artistic and budgetary decisions and the need to align them strategically.
- Demonstrated ability to motivate and lead a team focused on long-term objectives.
- A collaborative, non-political style to work within a partnership and engage staff, Board, and key donors.
- A tenacity and drive to help Louisville Ballet continue to produce at a consistently high level.
- Strong social and interpersonal skills in multiple social and business contexts.
COMPENSATION, APPLICATION PROCEDURE, AND START DATE
The search for the Executive Director is headed by a committee consisting of trustees and other key stakeholders and is chaired by Ellen Shapira. The committee’s desire is to identify a candidate by Fall 2019, with the new Executive Director on site as soon as possible thereafter. The salary will be competitive with other companies of comparable stature and size with benefits including health, dental, vision, and life insurance policies as well as paid vacation/holidays.
http://www.mcaonline.com Jason Palmquist and David Mallette are the MCA consultants who will facilitate this search. Interested candidates are invited to confidentially send a résumé, cover letter, and at least three professional references (name, work relationship, email, phone). All materials must be in Word or .pdf format with the applicant’s name included as part of the document file name and submitted through the MCA application portal for this search: https://mcaonline.com/searches/executive-director-louisville-ballet