New York Live Arts: A

Abstract

In spring 2010, Jean Davidson, Executive Director of Foundation for Dance Promotion, Inc. d/b/a the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (BTJ), leaned back in her chair in her Harlem office and looked at the financial models one more time. The numbers seemed to indicate that merging BTJ with Dance Theater Workshop (DTW) made sense, but this was uncharted territory. BTJ was primarily a dance performance company, and DTW was primarily a performance space presenting innovative programs. If BTJ went through with a full merger with DTW, it would be unprecedented. No mergers had occurred at this scale in New York's dance world before. But other forms of partnership, which would be less risky, would likely yield smaller returns.

Davidson had begun the process of addressing several vital challenges at BTJ in April 2009. After over three years of fundraising and planning, she learned that BTJ would not be receiving new performance and rehearsal space in a city-owned complex on 125th Street. As a result of losing the space bid, BTJ lost $13 million in capital funding from the federal government and then $500 thousand from the city as a result of budget cuts due to the global economic downturn.

One of BTJ's drivers for owning space was that studio rental costs amounted to nearly $100 thousand per fiscal year, and space was hard to find when needed. On the advice of a colleague, Davidson called Andrea Sholler, Executive Director of DTW, to discuss the options for a long-term lease at DTW. In the conversation, she learned of DTW's ongoing budget issues and financial struggles. With this knowledge, and with Sholler's blessing, Davidson and her team submitted a proposal to EMC Arts (EMCArts) for Innovation Lab grant funding, to explore partnership options with DTW. Initial ideas ranged from a long-term rental agreement to a back office consolidation to a merger. Leaders of both organizations knew how important it was to make the right decision. Both organizations were beloved by artists and audiences, but the two were seen as very different. Davidson knew that any form of partnership would be closely watched by the press, by audiences, as well as by dancers and choreographers around the world. But with DTW facing large bond payments and BTJ without reliable rehearsal space, the stakes were too high not to explore an alliance. The question was, what form would it take?

This case was prepared for inclusion in Sage Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

2024 Sage Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Resources

Exhibit 1. Largest Dance Companies in New York City (greater than $4 million revenues)

Name

Total Revenue

Total Assets

New York City Ballet Inc

60,867,554

187,300,954

Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation Inc

35,349,636

155,598,762

Paul Taylor Dance Foundation Inc

6,342,560

5,745,028

Cunningham Dance Foundation Inc

5,960,995

3,629,982

Dance Theatre of Harlem Inc

5,411,373

8,487,766

New York Live Arts Inc

4,498,283

11,934,025

Ballet Hispanico of New York

4,465,794

11,591,464

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics Database http://nccsdataweb.urban.org/PubApps. Accessed September 2012.

Exhibit 2. Image of Jones and Zane

Arnie Zane/Photo: Lois Greenfield, New York Live Arts

Figure

Exhibit 3. Bill T. Jones Awards and Honors

Kevin Fitzsimons/Courtesy Wexner Center for the Arts

Figure

Bill T. Jones, a multi-talented artist, choreographer, dancer, theater director and writer, has received major honors ranging from a 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award to Kennedy Center Honors in 2010. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2009 and named “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2000. His ventures into Broadway theater resulted in a 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography in the critically acclaimed FELA!, the new musical co-conceived, co-written, directed and choreographed by Mr. Jones. He also earned a 2007 Tony Award for Best Choreography in Spring Awakening as well as an Obie Award for the show's 2006 off-Broadway run. His choreography for the off-Broadway production of The Seven earned him a 2006 Lucille Lortel Award.

In addition to his creations for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (over 140 works to date), Mr. Jones has also been commissioned to make work for renowned companies like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Boston Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Berlin Opera Ballet, New York City Opera and Houston Grand Opera.

He began his dance training at the State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY), where he studied classical ballet and modern dance. After living in Amsterdam, Mr. Jones returned to SUNY, where he became co-founder of the American Dance Asylum in 1973. Before forming Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982, Mr. Jones choreographed and performed nationally and internationally as a soloist and duet company with his late partner, Arnie Zane. He has recently received honorary doctorates from Yale University, the Juilliard School and Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

Mr. Jones has appeared on the cover of Time (1994) and been profiled on NBC Nightly News and The Today Show (2010). He was also a guest on the Colbert Report (2009) and was one of 22 prominent black Americans featured in the HBO documentary The Black List (2008). The making of his most recent work commissioned for the Lincoln Bicentennial – Fondly Do We Hope… Fervently Do We Pray – will be the subject of the upcoming PBS American Masters documentary, A Good Man (2011).

Mr. Jones' memoir, Last Night on Earth, was published by Pantheon Books in 1995. An in-depth look at the work of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane can be found in Body Against Body: The Dance and Other Collaborations of Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, published by Station Hill Press in 1989.

Source: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company Publicity

Exhibit 4. Video of BTJ/Arnie Zane Dance Company's Evening-length dance theater work “Fondly Do We Hope… Fervently Do We Pray” commemorating the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth. Ravinia Festival, lead commissioner, October 19, 2009.

Figure

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGvfK_M-uhQ

Exhibit 5. Video of excerpt from Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, performing The Dripping Kind at Dance Theater Workshop, December 6, 2008

Figure

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIIOZsneRb0

Exhibit 6. DTW Staff and Board

Figure

Exhibit 7. Historical Financial Data, Dance Theater Workshop and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

Dance Theater Workshop

2008

2009

2010

Contributions and Grants

3,293,326

2,837,665

2,246,228

Government Grants

391,108

496,139

Program Service Revenue

578,814

449,122

534,998

Investment Income

85,058

39,877

86,810

Other Revenue

42,885

45,454

19,209

Total Revenue

4,000,083

3,372,118

2,887,245

Salaries

1,393,120

1,582,145

1,300,495

Other Expenses

2,677,418

2,419,554

2,103,222

Total Expenses

4,070,538

4,001,699

3,403,717

Revenue Less Expenses

(70,455)

(629,581)

(516,472)

Total Assets

14,076,008

12,117,750

11,268,951

Total Liabilities

6,143,049

4,835,846

4,508,039

Net Assets of Fund Balances

7,932,959

7,281,904

6,760,912

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

2008

2009

2010

Contributions and Grants

1,646,330

1,342,957

1,804,808

Government Grants

224,165

354,933

Program Service Revenue

984,051

1,059,391

1,274,923

Investment Income

7

228

Other Revenue

205,144

262,284

268,617

Total Revenue

2,835,532

2,664,632

3,348,576

Salaries

1,237,611

1,421,160

1,395,508

Other Expenses

1,869,427

1,126,399

1,395,009

Total Expenses

3,107,038

2,574,559

2,790,517

Revenue Less Expenses

(271,506)

90,073

558,059

Total Assets

1,448,881

1,228,947

2,190,052

Total Liabilities

981,523

671,516

1,074,562

Net Assets of Fund Balances

467,358

557,431

1,115,490

Exhibit 8 EmcArts Innovation Lab article

Figure

Exhibit 9. DTW Repertory List Largest Dance Companies in New York City

Figure

Exhibit 10. BTJ Repertory List

Figure

Figure

Exhibit 11. Media Buzz

1

Figure

2

Figure

3

Figure

4

Figure

5

Figure

6

Figure

7

Figure

8

Figure

9

Figure

10

Figure
Sources
  • New York Times. December 2, 2010.
  • New York Live Arts PR Announcement. December 2, 2010.
  • New York Live Arts. Kresge Foundation Announcement November 14, 2011.
  • New York Live Arts. Mellon Foundation Announcement January 9, 2012.
  • Wall Street Journal. Mergers and Acquisitions. February 28, 2012.
  • Wall Street Journal. July 13, 2011.
  • Wall Street Journal. November 12, 2011.
  • New York Times. Rockefeller Foundation support for New York Live Arts. August 10, 2011
  • Dance Magazine. September 2011
  • The Chronicles of Philanthropy. May 30, 2011.

This case was prepared for inclusion in Sage Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

2024 Sage Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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