8 February 2023
Big Dreams for the Future
A Letter from Executive Director, Jami Kozemczak
Truly a December to remember…
On December 12, I received word that we were to receive a Covid-19 relief grant in the amount of $600,000 from the Governor’s Office. The entire staff erupted in cheers and applause upon hearing the news. This was just one of many magical moments shared at Ballet Arizona as of late. This support will continue to lengthen the recovery road that we have before us as we put forward plans for stability and imminent growth for our future.
Sales numbers for our annual performance of The Nutcracker broke all previous historical records by 40%. Due to demand, we extended our run of performances – and even then – the last week completely sold out. Thank you to each and every one of you that returned to the ballet with your family to share your holiday tradition with us. You helped us achieve this great success and we are reinvigorated by the response from our community. You have shown us that we are an integral part of this community and you came out by the thousands to support us. The dancers have never felt more alive than when dancing in Symphony Hall for you during these sold out performances.
There is a great energy surrounding the organization right now. I attribute that to many things – but mostly the people – our dancers, our staff, our donors, and the constituents we serve. I watched our team pull together over these past six months to support one another, to fill-in staffing shortages through illness and turnover, and to lend a helping hand whenever asked. The dancers have been performing beautifully to SOLD OUT houses, helping each other through tragedy, illness, and injury. Our donors have stepped up with new commitments that is a testament to their belief in our mission. Together we have achieved some great things and I have never been prouder to be a part of something so special.
Our organization just embarked on nine-month strategic planning journey driven by the board and senior leadership. We are examining every facet of our mission as we dare to put forward big dreams for our future. We have spent so many years feeling the pinch of scarcity and stifled by our fears of economic insecurity. Our hope is to expand our artistic offering even further by creating more new blockbusters, like Juan Gabriel, to create school satellite campuses to broaden our educational reach in the Valley, to invest in our staff, and to serve even more individuals through our free community engagement programs – to truly become the epicenter for dance in our community.
I met individually with 65 different staff members as part of my 120-day plan and every single person brought forward a more unique and visionary idea than the one before. It is through sharing these exciting conversations and hopes for the future that we have those moments that give you goosebumps and fill you with inspiration.
We cannot wait to share them with you. I encourage you to share yours with me. What are your hopes and dreams for this company that you support so generously? I would love to know – after all you are the reason we are in a place to actually listen to them.