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Critical relief fund set up for San Francisco Ballet to deal with loss in revenue

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – From the beginning of San Francisco’s shelter in place order amid COVID-19 concerns, the performing arts felt an immediate impact.

When the San Francisco Ballet learned its season would be suspended less than halfway through, the nonprofit immediately began working on a plan to deal with its estimated $9.5-million loss in revenue. 

“Very early on, leadership and our board decided that we would protect our workforce first. Like no matter what, we are here to protect the workforce,” Danielle St. Germain-Gordon said.

That workforce includes everyone from dance faculty, to administrators, to the performing artists.

With the creation of the San Francisco Ballet Critical Relief Fund, the entire organization is working together on fundraising.

“What we’re seeing from the community is such a willingness to support, about half of our donors to the website, so we use this great platform called Classy.org, we built it within a matter of days, super easy kind of turnkey, about half of the of the donors have never given us a gift before,” St. Germain-Gordon said. 

There are perks for donors, such as access to a recording of the company’s performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ performed in an empty theater after the season was suspended. 

Since then, the dancers have had to get creative to work on their craft virtually.

“I don’t have much space in my house to take a proper class, so we make do, we have makeshift barres, ballet barres, which in my case is a desk chair that I have. I use a yoga mat to jump on so I don’t disturb my downstairs neighbors,” Sasha de Sola said.

Though it’s a challenging time for the arts world, the ballet’s fundraising work has come with a silver lining.

“It’s really such a wonderful thing to see us all come together, whether it’s dancers, whether it’s musicians, whether it’s arts administrators. It’s all of us coming together towards this goal of saving this art form that we are so in love with and we so care for,” de Sola said.

So far, SF Ballet Critical Relief Fund has raised about $200,000. 

Those interested in donating can visit give.sfballet.org/relief.

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