Colorado Ballet just finished the most successful performance season in the 56-year history of the organization by breaking both attendance and revenue records. Colorado Ballet’s 2016/2017 productions of Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Ballet MasterWorks and The Little Mermaid all exceeded budgeted revenue goals. Colorado Ballet’s ticketing budget goal for 2016/2017 was $3.66 million and the company just ended the season with $4.24 million, which is 116.0 percent of goal.
“This was the first season in our history to exceed $4 million in ticketing revenue,” said Colorado Ballet Artistic Director Gil Boggs. “Ticketing accounts for 50 to 55 percent of our overall budget, so ticketing revenue is tremendously important to our organization. We’ve seen ongoing ticketing growth for years; every season since 2013 has exceed goals. Plus, our ticketing goals keep growing each year and we have not done any dramatic price increases for a long time, which means that we are selling more tickets overall and performing to full houses.”
Colorado Ballet’s ticketing revenue goals have steadily increased from $3.45 million in 2013/2014 to $3.66 million in 2016/2017.
• 2016/2017 season – 116.0 percent of ticketing goal
• 2015/2016 season – 111.7 percent of ticketing goal
• 2014/2015 season – 100.2 percent of ticketing goal
• 2013/2014 season – 106.1 percent of ticketing goal
“Every other year since 2013, we have performed a Ballet MasterWorks production at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, which explains why every other year, the revenue appears to dip a little,” said Boggs. “These productions do not historically bring in large crowds, but they are important for the company artistically. However, this season, our Ballet MasterWorks made 150.5 percent of goal, which is unbelievable. This increase demonstrates that there is an audience for artistic masterpieces in Denver and that audience is growing.”
In addition to increased revenue, audience sizes have increased during the last four seasons, without changing the number of total performances significantly. For example, in the 2013/2014 season, 80,035 people watched Colorado Ballet’s 47 performances at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and the June Swaner Gates Concert Hall at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts. In the 2016/2017 season, 87,263 people watched Colorado Ballet perform in 49 productions.
“The recession hit cultural institutions like Colorado Ballet especially hard, but since then, we have seen steady growth and record sales,” said Boggs. “In addition to the strong economy, I think there are a number of factors that have contributed to our successes the past few seasons. Denver is growing, we have improved our marketing and ticketing strategies, and audiences have grown with us as we continue to expand our repertoire, from family-friendly productions to innovative contemporary works.”
In addition to record ticket sales, Colorado Ballet has had other successes to celebrate. Colorado Ballet moved into its home in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe in August 2014, which has enabled the company and Academy to grow and expand. Also, at the end of 2016, Goldstar named Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker the best-loved Nutcracker in the 10th Annual Goldstar National Nutcracker Award contest, a competition which included more than 80 other Nutcracker-themed productions throughout the U.S.
“We have so much to celebrate and every year just keeps getting better and better,” said Boggs. “Our organization has continued to improve artistically and financially and we’ve been blessed to call Colorado home for nearly 60 years. We could not have had this kind of success without the support of our community, board, staff, teachers and tremendously talented dancers.”
Colorado Ballet’s 2017/2018 season will include two performances at the Vail Dance Festival in July and August, a performance at the Arvada Center in August, two Attitude on Santa Fe performances and the season lineup, which includes Dracula, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Ballet Director’s Choice.