American Ballet Theatre
Kara Medoff Barnett, executive director of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), widely regarded as one of the world's premier ballet companies, faces several challenges. It is June 2018. Despite its prestige, the company's $45 million annual budget and $22 million endowment are far below those of peers like New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, and The Royal Ballet in London. Also, although those institutions rely heavily on talent developed in-house, ABT has traditionally mostly attracted dancers who had been trained elsewhere. Known for having featured some of the world's most high-profile stars, ABT's biggest current star arguably is Misty Copeland. What can Barnett learn about Copeland's rise to fame that could help her have ABT's other dancers' stories resonate? Looking to the future of the ballet company more generally, how could Barnett promote a "constellation of stars," as she puts it, rather than bank on one or two individual superstars? And what is the right balance for ABT between developing and acquiring talent?