Local ballet is dead; long live local ballet

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For this post, I turn the blog over to IBJ arts reporter Kathleen McLaughlin:

A former board member of the defunct Indiana Ballet Co. is trying to start a new organization to continue the presence of
professional ballet in Indianapolis.

David Sexauer said he intends to donate $25,000 to launch National Ballet of Indiana. He said he’s agreed to hire local
dance supporter and lawyer Camille Nicodemus as executive director and Alyona Yakovleva as artistic director.

Indiana Ballet Co. and its affiliated Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana announced on March 31 that they would close. Supporters
who were familiar with the situation said the organization owed several years of payroll taxes.
Yakovleva and her husband, Russ Smith, had started the organization after the city’s well-established professional
company, Ballet Internationale, folded suddenly in 2005. Yakovleva had taught at Ballet Internationale’s academy.

Sexauer said he’s counting on Nicodemus for strong financial management. Similar to the Indiana Ballet Co., the new
company would employ both professional dancers and academy teachers, he said. However, Sexauer said he will not build up the
artistic staff until he’s raised sufficient donations. “This is a whole new organization,” he said.  

National Ballet of Indiana has not yet received tax-exempt status from the IRS, and Sexauer said he’s still recruiting
board members and other financial supporters.

As IBJ reported previously, Sexauer is also behind a not-for-profit organization that has purchased tax-sale
property from Marion County with the hope of generating income to support other philanthropic endeavors. Sexauer said that
organization, Revisio, has acquired 30 properties, four of which are being occupied by renters.

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