$20 Million Donation to Dance at the Music Center
Including Lillian Disney's gift, the Disney family has donated more than $100 million for the hall, and Walt Disney Co. gave $20 million. The Disney family also made a $25-million gift to the Los Angeles Philharmonic to endow the Walt and Lilly Disney Chair in Conducting.
Rountree said the Music Center dance program already had a modest endowment of $400,000 from various charitable foundations. When that is added to the $20 million, he said, the endowment should generate about $1 million a year in income.
Presenting a dance season of five or six companies a year, Rountree said, costs about $1.5 million. Although the Music Center will still have to raise $500,000 a year, he said, the gift "will allow us to plan dance over a longer horizon."
"For example, Russian companies that want to tour are planning two and three years out, and we haven't had the ability to commit to them because we didn't know about the funding," Rountree said. "Now we have the funding to bring companies to Los Angeles that might have come to New York, but no one on the West Coast could have afforded to bring them here."
Both Rountree and Renae Williams, director of dance presentations at the Music Center, said that, although the donation should provide greater programming flexibility, the income it generated would not be sufficient to develop a resident dance company for the Music Center.
"Right now, we're happy presenting dance and bringing in great dance companies," Rountree said. He added that, although the Music Center might in the future be interested in forging a resident relationship with an existing Los Angeles dance company, the city does not yet "have a dance company that rises to the level of the quality that we want at the Music Center."
Williams said she envisioned Kaufman's grant as a catalyst for allowing the dance program to expand its educational and audience development efforts. Included on her list are technological experiments in live blogging -- perhaps inviting audience members backstage to talk with artists or production staff -- or group discussions at intermission via hand-held devices.