Ballet AZ Blog

A Letter from Executive Director, Jami Kozemczak

jami_komzekimageLike our Arizona spring, all things at the ballet are in full bloom! We cannot wait for you to experience the final two productions, All Balanchine, and Ib Andersen’s world premiere, The Rite of Spring. Not only is Ib a masterful choreographer, but he has become quite the costume designer, once again hand-painting all of the fabric for the costumes which are vibrant and full of life.

We are coming off the heels of our annual Dance With Me gala, chaired by Board Member Emerita, Joan Berry. A gorgeous evening honoring the dancers of Ballet Arizona was coupled with an emotional tribute to the memory of our beloved Colleen Buckley. This event raised more than $500,000 to support the work you see on stage and in our community. Thank you for making it a night to remember.

This first year has been a sensational one – a year of great learning. During my first six months as your new Executive Director, I spent time getting to know all of our staff on a deeper level. The second phase of my listening tour has been spent getting to know the leaders in our community. I had the lovely fortune of meeting with CEOs of arts & cultural institutions and businesses, and the leaders of our local foundations and public agencies. These individuals graciously shared insights and advice around leadership and the power of community connection. It is motivating to see that Ballet Arizona has the potential to collaborate with many of these institutions, similarly to our partnerships with Desert Botanical Garden, The Phoenix Symphony, Arizona School for the Arts, and Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras. There is strength in partnership.

This new perspective has taught me that the impact of your support has shaped our past, our present and will be the critical component for leading us into our bright future. We are only here due to the grand and generous hearts that have come before us, and we will only continue to grow through your forward-thinking generosity.

As we forge ahead, it has been my privilege to put forward an ambitious budget proposal, one that is rooted with a growth mindset focusing on multi-year initiatives and employee investment. Coupled with Ib Andersen’s artistry – our 2023-2024 season will invest deeply in our artists and staff. We are adding two additional weeks to the dancer’s contracts, stipends for our studio company students, two full-time positions in our production shop, and right-sizing salaries in all departments, to help retain and attract top talent for our world-class city. The enthusiasm for these future plans were so well-received by our staff, it reassures me that we are taking steps in the right direction.

The only reason we are able to do this for our people is because of you and we are forever grateful to you.

We have a tremendous amount of work to do, and I am going to need your help. If you are interested in learning more about these strategic plans for our future and would like to get more involved, please reach out, I look forward to hearing from you.

Read ‘Behind-the-Scenes of All Balanchine with Ib Andersen’

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