$20 Million Donation to Dance at the Music Center
March 17, 2009, Los Angeles Times — In one of the largest such gifts ever to the Music Center or any of its resident companies, Los Angeles philanthropist Glorya Kaufman is donating $20 million to the Dance at the Music Center program.
The donation, to be announced today, surpasses all but a handful of contributions to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Center Theatre Group or the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
"It's a record -- and, as far as we know, the largest gift to support dance ever in America," Music Center President Stephen D. Rountree said in an interview.
Kaufman can also count among her major gifts to dance $18 million to UCLA to fund the renovation of its historic dance building and $6 million to the New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as $3.5 million to the Juilliard School in New York to fund the Glorya Kaufman Dance Studio.
She is the widow of Donald Bruce Kaufman, founder with Eli Broad of the home construction and financing firm Kaufman & Broad, now KB Homes.
"We have a terrible economy, and what happens first is that all the arts disappear," Kaufman told The Times. "And to me, dance is one of the most important that there is."
Dance at the Music Center began in the 2003-04 season, when it presented the first self-produced dance series at the center in 39 years. Although the Joffrey Ballet had appeared as a resident company there from 1983 to 1991, that first season, which included San Francisco Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Chinese company Shen Wei Dance Arts, sharply raised the profile of dance in the city.
More recently, the program has included American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, the José Limon Dance Company, Miami City Ballet and the Kirov Ballet's "Nutcracker." In June, the New York-based Ballet Hispanico will make its Music Center debut.