Heidi Kyser

Journalist, writer

Nevada Ballet Theater Gets Graceful Gregory

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When Desert Companion editor Andrew Kiraly asked me to find out why Cynthia Gregory was such a great get for the Nevada Ballet Theater, I figured the answer would have something to do with her high-powered fundraising skills. Come to find out, it has a lot more to do with her high-powered legs and the roles they landed her in over the course of her three-decades-long career working with virtually every big name in ballet. Read more about that here.

The addition of Gregory to the Nevada Ballet Theater as artistic advisor and coach is a rich treat in an otherwise Spartan landscape, not just the Las Vegas dance scene, but the arts here in general.

In my interview with James Canfield, Nevada Ballet Theater’s artistic director, he talked about the austerity measures taken over the last two years to keep the company healthy. (See Kristen Peterson’s March 2009 article in the Las Vegas Sun about revenue declines, and resulting layoffs and show cancellations.)

Although it wasn’t easy to make cutbacks, Canfield told me, he believes it laid the groundwork for Nevada Ballet Theater to make a leap as soon as the economy allows for more business and consumer spending on the arts. Ten trainees have joined the company, and steps like adding Gregory as coach will help ensure a strong future pool of talented dancers who understand the company culture, Canfield hopes.

In the meantime, everyone I talked to who has met or worked with Gregory is pulling for her to pull off her (and Nevada Ballet Theater CEO Beth Barbre’s) dream of cultivating a coaching center that draws top-notch dancers from far and wide in search of one-on-one training with a master.

If it works, it won’t just be boon for the Nevada Ballet Theater. Las Vegas will get a much-needed boost in its arts cred, and Gregory will get to stop roaming the world as a means of passing on her canonical knowledge of classical ballet – doing it instead right here at home.

Could be a good get all around.

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Written by Heidi Kyser

December 10, 2010 at 9:00 am

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