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Ohio Dance Theatre to end programming

• Mar 26, 2017 at 9:02 PM

OBERLIN — After considerable deliberation, the Ohio Dance Theatre (ODT) board of directors and the Dancers' Studio at Oberlin has announced its decision to suspend dance classes at the Dancers' Studio at the conclusion of the current semester.

Several months ago, ODT learned that foundation support representing a significant portion of the organization's annual budget would not continue. The non-profit dance organization will vacate the space it currently occupies at the New Union Center for the Arts in Oberlin by June 30, 2017

ODT, founded by its long-time director Denise Gula in 1992 and currently celebrating its 25th anniversary year, has evolved into one of the most progressive and innovative arts organizations in the area. From a seminal role in the cultural landscape of Oberlin and Lorain County, ODT has grown into the most comprehensive provider of dance performances, training, and inventive arts and educational initiatives to more than 14,000 local residents each year.

During its quarter century of service to the community, ODT has touched many lives by inspiring hope and joy through the art of dance. People of all ages, particularly young people, many from diverse backgrounds and with limited economic means, called the Dancers' Studio their second home. They were given affordable access to state-of-the-art dance training while improving their life skills and developing an appreciation for the arts.

Small non-profit arts organizations such as ODT exist in a difficult environment. Expenses continue to rise while sources of financial support are increasingly constrained. Several months ago, When ODT learned of the unexpected loss of foundation support that represented a significant portion of the organization's budget, various options for keeping the doors open were explored. However, it soon became apparent that no option was reasonable or responsible. It was at that point that ODT's Board made the difficult decision to cease its activities.

Members of ODT's staff and Board of Directors are hopeful that dance instruction will continue to be a significant component of a new initiative, the Oberlin Center for the Arts (OCA), headquartered at the New Union Center for the Arts. In the meantime, ODT is focused on doing what the organization has done for the last 25 years-providing the best possible and rigorous training and carrying out its programmatic activities with the excellence for which the organization has become known.

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