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Troupe loses gig – $1M from Progress Energy

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By Todd Cohen

The N.C. School of the Arts in Winston-Salem has lost its 32-year run performing the Nutcracker ballet in Raleigh with the North Carolina Symphony as a result of a $1 million grant by the Progress Energy Foundation to the Carolina Ballet.

The Raleigh-based utility’s foundation is giving the money to the Raleigh-based dance troupe over five years to stage the Nutcracker, including two free matinee performances each year that will allow 20,000 Triangle-area students to see the production.

The School of the Arts has performed the Nutcracker with the North Carolina Symphony since 1968, staging five performances a year and generating funds used for scholarships at the school’s School of Dance.

Last year, the Raleigh performances netted $25,000.

“It’s an immediate year-to-year impact in terms of scholarships that we need to replace,” says Bill Porter, vice chancellor for development and public relations.

The school will look for new locations to perform the Nutcracker, he says, adding that finding an auditorium and stage large enough for the production can be tough.

The School of the Arts will continue to perform the Nutcracker with the Winston-Salem Symphony at the school’s Stevens Center downtown.

And next February and April, the school’s new Fletcher Opera Institute will perform in Raleigh at the new A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater and Meymandi Concert Hall.

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