Ballet B.C. artistic director John Alleyne leaving company

After 16 years leading Ballet B.C., artistic director John Alleyne will not be returning to the company for the 2009/2010 season.

The news was announced in a press release this morning (June 4), which did not explicitly state whether Alleyne left of his own accord.

In a statement contained in the news release, Alleyne said: "I am extremely proud of what has been achieved during my tenure as artistic director....I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work in this environment with some of the most gifted artists in the country. I received phenomenal support from the company, artistic colleagues and from the people of Vancouver. I now believe that I have the opportunity to expand and explore other areas of my art, to grow in ways that require a different environment and artistic canvas."

The loss of Alleyne throws increased doubts on the company's ability to mount a 2009/2010 season. The organization narrowly escaped bankruptcy in December, and is currently undergoing a reorganization.

As reported in the Straight in April, it was considering a performance hiatus for the first half of next season, hoping to bring in touring companies. That plan was dealt a blow when the National Ballet of Canada announced it was cancelling its tour of The Sleeping Beauty to Calgary, Edmonton, Nanaimo, Victoria, and Vancouver between September 17 and October 3.

However, the company's board chair and president Graeme Barrit remains upbeat, stating in the recent news release: "This is a change for Ballet B.C. and we will seize this opportunity as a means to move the company forward. We will announce shortly the appointment of a qualified interim artistic director, as well as our program for the 2009/2010 season."