Money Managers

Dance on the Trading Floor

Guesting emerged from seeming calamity in the early '90s; when ABT artistic director Kevin MacKenzie took over, "his executive director said the company needed to take six months off to restore our money. Everybody was out of work and the director of the English National Ballet heard about this and called me." While with ENB, Jaffe signed on with a manager. Now she handles contracts herself, mixing artistic grace with business savvy: "I don't ask for astronomical prices because I don't want to outprice myself. I want to be invited back." So far her system has worked: She frequents ENB and Stuttgart Ballet. Countries differ financially: "Japan pays more...or they used to." Then again, "a glass of orange juice there was about $10."

Guesting advantages? "Everybody treats you like a guest. They make sure you are comfortable, that you have plenty of rehearsal. You make more money as a guest than you do with your own company." Drawbacks? "One very bad experience, and actually he got fired."


imageMATCH MAKER: Stephanie French
Age:"Leave blank"
Education:Wellesley College, art history and urban studies-"two things that come together in the contributions work that I do"; M.B.A., Harvard
Status:Mother of two
Career:"Running an art gallery, then in radio and television, then I went to Harvard Business School and worked in advertising. All of those things come together in the job-business and management, marketing and advertising-but you have to know and understand the arts."
Salary:Six Figures

French, vice president for corporate contributions at Philip Morris, says "well over a hundred dance organizations a year" receive PM help, making it the art form's largest corporate supporter in America-Terpsichore's venture capitalist. "The backbone of support is for general operating: We come in early and give to a spectrum of the most vital companies. Once a company is on our roster for general operating support, they also can get in-kind support." What's in it for PM? "Companies tour to our plant communities. We hope to be known as a good corporate citizen. We pride ourselves on being an innovative, risk-taking funder, and that's who we support." Example: "Before it was officially the Next Wave Festival, we were giving BAM funding for the series. When it became the festival, we gave major funding....BAM's Next Wave represents that notion of innovation and taking risks. The pairing is very appropriate. A very good match."

In French's 18 years with PM, the budget for dance has grown. Grants range from $5000 and under to six-figure sums that allow larger organizations-Ailey, Joffrey, ABT-to tour to Brazil, Egypt, Japan. "We do a lot of grant making for new, young talent. When there's a buzz, we are quick to notice....Ten, 11 years ago, the first time David Parsons performed with his new company it was obvious there was real talent there, and we said ëApply."'

PM's New Works Fund, an international initiative, gave $1 million plus to 31 U.S. dance companies in 1997.


imageCREATING A CULTURE SPA: Ella Baff
Age:"Middle-aged"
Education:U. of California, Berkeley
Status:Married
Career:Cal Performances, Berkeley, 1981-1997
Salary:"Under six figures"

"People have four answers as to why they give to the arts: teacher, family member, friend, or by accident. 'My fifth-grade teacher took us to see Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and it changed my life' or 'There was a theater in my neighborhood and one night I decided to go.' As a presenter, I try to do everything possible to strategize how to bring people to that experience," says Baff, Jacob's Pillow's executive director. For 66 years patrons have flocked to the Berkshire dance festival, which operates on a $3.4 million budget-"50/50 contributed/earned." Ticket sales bring in $1 million. Baff taught in a California juvenile prison for four and a half years. "If I were running the world, I would take all the kids out of school and send them around the world traveling." Her programming reflects this ardent internationalism: Brazil's Grupo Corpo kicks off the 10-week season June 23. Artists from Peru, Cuba, and Russia follow. The Pillow's 150-acre campus-recently made eligible for historic-landmark status-offers lectures, exhibitions, classes, and performances in theaters indoors and out. Artists bask too: They "need time to think clearly away from the stress of their natural environment," says Baff. She invites artists-in-residence annually: Ben Munisteri, Wally Cardona, and Japan's Kota Yamazaki this year. "They don't have to produce anything. Imagine if you put a scientist in a laboratory and said, You must come out with a cure for cancer or else!"


imageBROOKLYN'S GLOBE-TROTTER: Joe Melillo
Age:52
Education:B.A., Sacred Heart U.; M.F.A., Catholic U.
Status:Single
Career:"Was there a life before BAM?" Producing director of the Next Wave, 1983-1999; producer, New World Festival of the Arts, Miami, 1982
Future:"Asia will play a very important part."
Motto:"Living well is the best revenge."
Salary:Six Figures

A self-described student of global culture, BAM's soon-to-be-executive producer is "moving BAM from an international to a global center, which means correcting the problem of an emphasis on Europe." Melillo stresses "the ecoculture of maintaining support." He visits smaller local dance spaces, incubators for artists en route to BAM's 2000-seat Opera House. "Mark Morris started at Dance Theater Workshop!"

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