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August 29, 2014

Arts Tumult in Philadelphia for Dance and Theater Groups

The Pennsylvania Ballet dismissed its veteran lead dancers this week, also letting go its marketing chief, the head of its ballet school, and other top officials, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The housecleaning comes a week after Angel Corella took over as artistic director and continues a remaking begun last year after an evaluation of the Philadelphia troupe's operations by leading arts consultant Michael Kaiser.

Ballet master Jeffrey Gribler and ballet mistress Tamara Hadley both joined the company in 1975 and worked their way up to the principal dance positions. "I'm sure the people were great, but it was about the team you feel comfortable with," Mr. Corella said. "Energy is important in an arts organization. If you are comfortable, everything will fall into place."

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Theatre Company's leading patrons have stepped in with a provisional plan to rescue the financially reeling company, the Inquirer also reports. The proposal includes a $2.5-million cash infusion from Comcast co-founder Ralph Roberts and his wife, Suzanne—for whom the theater's 365-seat venue is named—and calls for Mr. Kaiser, the departing president of the Kennedy Center, to develop a detailed new business plan for the organization.