Pennsylvania Ballet hires new executive director

Shelly Power takes over starting in February

Pennsylvania Ballet has found its next executive director. Beginning February 12, Shelly Power will take over as lead administrator of the 54-year old dance company, ending a hiring search that began five months ago.

Power will transition to her new role starting next month. She takes over for David Gray, who served as interim executive director in 2014 before being promoted full-time in 2015. Gray left to join his wife, who recently took a job at Indiana University.

Power was formerly artistic director and CEO of the Prix de Lausanne dance competition, a Swiss-based organization established in 1972. Boasting a combined 45 years as an administrator, Power worked with the Houston Ballet and ran the company’s dance academy between 2004-2016. Per the Houston Chronicle, enrollment at the academy doubled under Power’s watch during her first decade on the job. Powers has also held board positions at Sandra Organ Dance Company, the Houston Dance Coalition and the American Festival for the Arts.

In a statement prepared by the company, the 61-year-old noted her excitement for joining the company, citing that she already knows some of the company members. Her appointment comes at a contentious time for Pennsylvania Ballet. Artistic Director Angel Corella faced scrutiny during the 2016-17 season after 40 percent of the organization either left or were terminated. Others departed or retired shortly thereafter, fearing their contracts would not have been renewed otherwise.

The Pennsylvania Ballet’s total revenue in 2016 was $11.7 million, according to operating records obtained by the Philadelphia Business Journal. That’s down $14.7 million from the previous year. The organization is also struggling to put the finishing touches on a new facility that opened several years ago but has remained in a state of limbo.

Power expressed optimism for the future: "My passion, coupled with my deep knowledge of running a successful company, will guide the continued growth of Pennsylvania Ballet and will help to further strengthen the impact the organization will make for years to come."