Orlando Ballet was founded in 1974 with twelve young dancers, four thousand dollars, and a dream to entertain, educate and enrich lives through the highest quality of dance. Since that time, the company has emerged as one of Central Florida’s most important arts and culture organizations, performing for audiences in excess of 100,000 annually. Under the artistic leadership of Robert Hill and featuring a company of 21 dancers and apprentices as well as a second company of 14 dancers, Orlando Ballet now performs a full, five-program season of classical masterpieces, contemporary repertoire, and an annual engagement of The Nutcracker at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, a newly opened, state of the art facility in downtown Orlando.
In 1982, the company created the Orlando Ballet School to enrich the lives of children, train the next generation of artists and build future audiences. The school, under the direction of Dierdre Miles Burger, has grown into one of the most respected ballet schools in the country and is one of only five professional national training academies accredited by American Ballet Theatre. The school’s three campuses provide year-round professional ballet training for over 500 students, as well as performance opportunities, summer intensive training, workshops and master classes, and teacher training programs. Graduates of Orlando Ballet School have pursued professional careers with major dance institutions including American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Orlando and Central Florida Community Orlando is the center of the 4-county Central Florida metropolitan area comprising over 2.4 million residents. The region is undergoing a fundamental transition from a tourist destination to a thriving business community, including technology and healthcare. In 2015, Orlando was ranked #1 in the United States for job growth by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and has been consistently ranked among the Top 10 American Cities of the Future by the Financial Times. Orlando hosts over 60 million visitors every year, but even more notable are the 5,000 people who move to the region every month. Useful information on the community can be found on the following sites: http://orlandorelocationmagazine.com/ and http://www.visitorlando.com/
Leadership Robert Hill, Artistic Director Appointed as Artistic Director in 2008, Robert Hill has a vision for the company that makes ballet relevant to today’s audiences. Hill blends modern entertainment with classical ballet, and his choreography has been critically acclaimed as energetic, graceful and theatrically beautiful. Under his direction, artistic collaborations have developed with other organizations such as Central Florida Community Arts, Opera Orlando, Garden Theatre, Creative City Project, The Abbey, The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and Cirque du Soleil.
Mr. Hill was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, the Royal Ballet, and New York City Ballet before becoming artistic director of Mexico's Ballet de Monterrey. As a guest artist, he has appeared with numerous companies including the Scottish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the Australian Ballet. Mr. Hill’s interpretation of the title role in John Cranko’s Onegin, opposite Julie Kent as Tatiana and presented at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center by ABT, was selected by the New York Times as one of the “Ten Best Moments in Dance” in 2002.
Board of Directors Orlando Ballet is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 12 business and community leaders, chaired by Sibille Hart Pritchard. The Board President is Jonathan Ledden, who is also chairing the committee for the executive director search.
The Opportunity The past five years at Orlando Ballet have not been without their challenges. The discovery of a mold infestation in the company’s facilities in 2013 forced a relocation of the company’s studios as well as the central campus of the school and its administrative offices. Financial difficulties in 2015 resulted in a reconstituted board of directors as well as the engagement of Michael Kaiser to create a plan for stabilization. Much has already been done to realize a future vision for Orlando Ballet as outlined in the Kaiser plan (now in its third year) as well as the creation of a second long-range plan which will take the company through the 2021/2022 season. The next Executive Director will have the opportunity to significantly impact the company in the following areas:
Artistic Programs As articulated in the company’s long-range plan, the future will include performances of high quality and broadly appealing mainstage seasons, including imaginative new works, popular Orlando Ballet revivals and exciting company premieres of entertaining dance and ballet favorites.
A celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Robert Hill’s artistic leadership, the 2018/2019 season has already been announced. It will feature the revival of one of Orlando Ballet’s most popular works, Carmina Burana, featuring the chorus of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, as well as an evening of Latin-inspired pieces, and the world premiere of Artist-in-Residence Arcadian Broad’s Wonderland: Mad Tales of the Hatter, based on characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories.
The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Since its opening in 2014, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has become the premier showcase for arts and culture in Central Florida. Phase I included the opening of Walt Disney Theater, a 2800-seat hall, as well as Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater which seats nearly 300. The Orlando Ballet, along with the Orlando Philharmonic, will have a permanent home at Steinmetz Hall, a 1700-seat venue scheduled to be completed in May 2020 as part of Phase 2. Construction of Phase 2 began in March 2017.
Expansion of the Orlando Ballet School Already recognized for the excellence of its pre-professional training, the company is expanding the offerings of the Orlando Ballet School to embrace a variety of styles appealing to all skill and age levels. The school aspires to be the premiere dance educator in Orlando for children and adults alike, while at the same time preserving its place among professional training academies in the United States.
Construction of a New Facility in Loch Haven Park While the company’s studios, the central campus of the school, and its administrative offices have been housed in separate facilities since 2013, they will be reunited under an ambitious plan to construct the Orlando Ballet Dance Center. The City of Orlando has provided a beautiful location at Loch Haven Park, which is also home to other Orlando cultural institutions including the Orlando Science Center and the Orlando Museum of Art. An initial gift of $2 Million has been made to Orlando Ballet by Orlando philanthropist Harriet Lake.
Commitment to the Community Orlando Ballet has a rich history of engagement with its community. Every second-grade student in the Orange County Public Schools system (the 9th largest in the United States with over 270,000 students) attends an Orlando Ballet performance. Third, fourth and fifth graders are also exposed to the ballet through collaborative performances between the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Ballet and Opera Orlando. Additionally, local students have the opportunity to train free-of-charge at the Orlando Ballet School through the STEPS program, and in 2016 piloted Come Dance with Us, a program created in association with Nemours Children’s Hospital and Orlando Health for young people with special needs. http://abcnews.go.com/US/workshop-special-children-chance-dance-real-life-ballerinas/story?id=52472287
Position and Responsibilities
The Executive Director works in a co-CEO relationship with the Artistic Director with both positions reporting to the Board through the President. 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 to meet long-range plan objectives.
Effectively lead and grow the Development, Administration, Finance, Marketing, Outreach and School Business Management teams. Manage and motivate the team and set the tone for a positive working environment.
Forge and maintain important external relationships in the Greater Orlando community and act as an external voice and advocate of Orlando Ballet.
Serve as the primary major gifts officer, leading Orlando Ballet’s fundraising activities in a strategic and hands on manner, developing relationships throughout the Greater Orlando region, expanding annual contributed revenues and raising capital funds.
Assure ongoing fiscal discipline by creating and achieving balanced annual operating budgets for Orlando Ballet in accordance with the long-range plan.
Forge a strong relationship with and work actively to continue to build Orlando Ballet’s Board of Directors.
Lead the organization’s efforts to realize a new home at Loch Haven Park as well as provide management insight and direction in order to achieve artistic programming goals.
Align all human and financial resources 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 Orlando Ballet.
Supervise the administrative operations and programmatic growth of the Orlando 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 must 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 Orlando 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 chaired by Jonathan Ledden, President of the Board. The committee’s desire is to identify a candidate by June 2018, 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.
Applications should include résumé /CV, cover letter, four professional references and salary requirements. Interested candidates, and recommenders of qualified individuals, are invited to contact the consulting firm retained to facilitate this important search:
Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc. Subject Line: Orlando Ballet Executive Director Search
Orlando Ballet is working with Management Consultants for the Arts on this very important search.
For over 34 years, Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc. has specialized in working with the cultural field and has had a rich involvement with cultural organizations of all types and sizes throughout the country. We have built our reputation on our deep understanding of the needs and objectives of America's individual cultural organizations as well as our knowledge of the national context in which they operate.
Our services include consultations in: planning, executive search, organizational analysis, board/staff retreats and seminars, conference and workshop development and facilitation.
We provide these services to a broad range of cultural organizations, including theaters, art museums, dance companies, historical societies, visual arts centers, children's museums, science centers, performing arts centers, orchestras, service organizations, arts councils, foundations and public agencies.