A Fallow Year: Farm to Ballet takes a Year off from Performing in order to Grow the Magic
From everyone here at Ballet Vermont and the Farm to Ballet Project, we are grateful to our audience members and supporters. Thank you for visiting our page to see what we're up to. We invite you to get involved in our next steps. We hope you will take a minute to read about our reflections and how you can get involved.
In 2019, we wrapped up our 5th season of The Farm to Ballet Project. In that time we've performed at 16 farms, engaged over 10,000 audience members and raised over $80,000 for farm projects- with an emphasis on regenerative farming practices and connecting communities to their local farms. Your participation has been a crucial part of our success. In 2015, Farm to Ballet was just an idea- maybe even a wacky idea. In our first year, as we built the production from scratch, we reached out to several different venues and offered them all of our ticket proceeds if we could just come perform our show on their grassy field. Fortunately for us, a handful of farms said “Yes!” to this hard-to-picture-but-super-Vermonty idea. There was nothing left to do but to deliver! We fundraised all of our costs, gathered a cast of volunteer local adult dancers, made all of our costumes and built a ballet. The energy and joy was boundless that first summer. Vermont’s grand backdrop during the golden hour, the smell of local food on the grill, the children leaping in sheer delight, the pride and radiance on the dancer’s faces… it was magic and everyone present felt it.
PC: Jessica Notargiacomo
Each year since the first, we have grown exponentially. Our ticket sales have increased as we became a summer tradition for Vermont families and visitors. We have built a strong adult dance community where dancers of all ages and abilities can feel valued. We sharpened our focus on sustainable agriculture as the threats of climate change become more real. We brought high quality live classical music to the nooks and crannies of Vermont. We were featured on VT PBS in 2016 and had cameos on Mr Chris and Friends in 2018 and 2019. We have had a lot of great publicity including the homepage of NPR and the Associated Press- bringing this Vermonty ballet to international news outlets.
With time and experience, we have worked to improve Farm to Ballet for the audience, for the farms and for our dancers- all while staying true to our mission. Through some luck, endless hours of hard work by many, and lots of trial and error- we have had success and growth in most arenas. All the while- we have been flying the plane while we were building it. After 5 years, it is time to land the plane, reflect and rebuild for a stronger take off. Rather than put on our show this summer, we’re taking some time to recoup, evaluate our impact and processes, and build the structural support we need to continue providing the high impact community events we're known for. Our plan is to be back performing in the field in Summer 2021!
What will we be doing? Our plan is to move through a strategic evaluative and planning process to help us address three areas:
Systems, scope and scale,
Sustainable finances and
Further looking at the environmental impact we can have through our work with the farms.
An incredibly important part of that process is to capture the experiences of our audience members, farmers and dancers to build a stronger, more sustainable Farm to Ballet. We need your help as we garner support, financial and otherwise to build a dynamic Farm to Ballet 2.0 (affectionate, not official name.)
Will we be performing in the meantime? Ballet Vermont has a performance company that has been working all winter long on new choreography. Though we won’t be doing the full Farm to Ballet performance this summer, you will see your favorite characters and dancers out and about in our community supporting causes that are important to our mission. If you'd like to present some of our charming characters at your event, we'd be excited to put together a short program for you. Click the "schedule us" button, we'll put you on our dance schedule.
How can you help? Oh my, thanks for asking! (Literally, where would we be without you!?) There are a few ways- from small to large- that you can contribute to Farm to Ballet’s sustainability.