Help Save The Ballet In Wichita Falls

Help Save The Ballet In Wichita Falls

It's a show that's been entertaining Texoma for 51 years but now there's a chance the ballet performance of the Nutcracker won't be gracing the stage this December in Wichita Falls.

The Wichita Falls Ballet Theater is a non-profit organization and it can't present shows on the stage without having a classical dance studio where dancers can train. When the artistic directors of the ballet decided to shut down their studio and retire, board members were left scrambling to save the ballet and give dancers an opportunity to shine.

The non-profit organization Wichita falls ballet theater has given classical dancers in Texoma an opportunity to shine on the stage...for more than 50 years..

"Ballet trains them just socially, academically, spiritually. It just makes them stronger people," said Mary Ferguson, a WFBT board member.

However, dancers aren't the only ones standing out.

"We're one of the only cities our size that has both a ballet and a symphony and we want to keep it that way," said Sueann Altman, the WFBT's board president.

And supporter John Hirschi said, "For that to just suddenly go away would be a blow to the city."

To help prevent that blow, Mishic and Val Liberatore moved into town from Fort Worth to become the new artistic directors. They also purchased a space to open up the Wichita Falls Youth Ballet studio, which is their personal business.

There they'll give classes to kids and adults but they aren't doing it alone. The WFBT is helping out financially because that's also where the company dancers who perform in the Nutcracker every year will train.

"We are currently in fundraising efforts to fund our studios for our Wichita Falls Ballet Theater with the essentials such as bars, mirrors, floors," said Altman.

WFBT board members hope to raise $100,000 this year to keep the ballet going but they need $40,000 by the end of August to get equipment in time for training. The Liberatore's hope to open the studio and hold auditions for the Nutcracker in September. However, making it happen in time for December is a tight fit.

"Which is a short amount of time when you're dealing with children and getting them rehearsed and ready for the show. And we're all new to each other. It's all new and we don't know how many children we're going to have," said Mishic.

Even though they're facing that challenge, the couple who has years of experience said, they're excited about saving the ballet and bringing fresh ideas to the stage.

"I would love to bring in not only our traditional Nutcracker but also some other art forms or dance art forms to go along with our classical ballet and some of our performances," said Val.

The Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation is accepting tax deductible donations for a "Save the Ballet" campaign. Checks should be payable to the Friends of the Wichita Falls Area Ballet Theater, c/o Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation, 807 8th St #750, Wichita Falls,TX, 76301.

For more information on the Wichita Falls Youth Ballet you can click here: or e-mail the Liberatore's at

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6