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More plans to keep NYC Ballet at SPAC

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Albany/HV: More plans to keep NYC Ballet at SPAC
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It's been a tradition at SPAC for years: the New York City Ballet. But lately, they've been taking the stage less and less. Our Vince Gallagher finds out what happening to keep this organization in Saratoga Springs.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- They've been called "the greatest dance company in the world" - the New York City Ballet. But to get top performers, you also have to pay top dollar. That hasn't always been easy. In fact, the New York City Ballet's residency at SPAC has gone three weeks to two weeks, and this year, it's down to one.

"As we look forward to 2014 and try to put together a two week program, so it's all about trying to make sure that this residency continues at SPAC, it's something both the NYC Ballet and SPAC wants," said Marcia White, SPAC Executive Director.

"We have this jewel in our backyard and I think it's up to all of us to do what we can, to treasure it. To preserve it, so we can enjoy it and our children can enjoy it,” said Beth Alexander, Hattie's Mardis Gras Party Founder.

Beth Alexander is the founder of the annual Hattie's Mardi Gras Benefit Event.

"My husband and I founded this event in 2001 as a way of giving back to the community, every year we choose a different charity to donate the proceeds to," said Alexander.

This year it's the New York City Ballet's summer residency at SPAC. Committee members spent Friday transforming the Canfield Casino into Bourbon Street with a little ballet decor.

"With some of the world's greatest ballets including Four Seasons, Firebird, Emeralds for Jewels, and it's really a great party," said White.

For many organizations, fundraisers like these are more than beneficial, they're practically a necessity. For example, the average cost to bring the New York City Ballet to SPAC is $180,000 a night.

“And about forty percent of that is covered by ticket prices so the rest of it has to be raised and as everything else, production costs go up with the ballet and SPAC every year, and it's truly a challenge,” said White.

"The arts are expensive and we've always had patrons of the arts and we've always had people who funded arts...that's what we need, we need the public to all of our art endeavors," said Alexander.

SPAC Executive Director Marcia White says many other fundraising events will be held to continue to keep SPAC the summer home for the ballet.

While this season the NYC Ballet will only be at SPAC for one week, there are also talks with the National Ballet of Canada to put on short-term performances this year. If you are interested in the Hattie's Mardi Gras Fundraiser, it runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday night at the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs.

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