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Leadership change at Indiana Ballet Co.

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This just in from the Indiana Ballet Company...

Russ Smith, former Executive Director of the Indiana Ballet Company (IBC) and the Russian Ballet Company of Indiana (RBAI), recently announced his resignation from the companies he helped to found four years ago with his wife, Alyona Yakovleva. Along with other arts leaders, Smith has long been aware of the new economic challenges facing the community in general and not-for-profit organizations in particular. His search for innovative solutions to these challenges, together with his background in philanthropic activity, introduced him several months ago to a brand new philanthropic enterprise that assists not-for profit companies with endowment building and asset management, while revitalizing community development.

Smith acknowledges, however, that he cannot serve two masters, "This has been a hard decision. However, moving from the ballet company to work full time on this new project will ultimately bring long term stability to more than just one local organization while directly improving the lives of our citizens. This is definitely the right time for me to let go and move on, with a staff team in place at the ballet who will move the company forward, and a Board willing to roll up its sleeves and do what it takes to secure the vision. Simply put, this is how I can do the most good for the most people right now."

Lisa Burns, former Director of Development at IBC, will now assume the role of its interim Executive Director. Recognizing part of her new responsibility to include facilitating IBC's transition from its old to new regime, she appreciates the significance of this moment in the young company's existence, "I think we are about to embark on an exciting, if challenging chapter in IBC's history. Russ Smith has given his all to this company, and without his dogged determination to restore ballet to a community stunned by the loss of Ballet Internationale, we would not have today's foundation for tomorrow's success. Indianapolis would not have its very own resident ballet company, owned and operated by the resident artists themselves who stand poised to bring their original talent and vision to the city in a very unique way. In some way's this marks an end; but in other ways we are only just beginning."

The Indiana Ballet Company, Indiana's resident professional classical ballet company, and its affiliated academy, RBAI, provide four professional performances throughout the year - from classical ballet to original contemporary works. As a registered, not-for-profit trade school, the academy prepares its graduates for professional careers in dance, enjoying 100% acceptance into professional dance companies or college dance programs. To learn more about their programs and upcoming performances visit and or call 317-228-1917.

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