No new contracts for Augusta Ballet professional dancers

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The Augusta Ballet Company's board of directors dropped a bombshell on the nine professional dancers employed by the company.

Friday, April 7, the dancers learned that they would not have contracts for the upcoming season.

Now all of them are looking for jobs.

The executive director of the Augusta Ballet says the nine professional dancers for the Augusta Ballet Company are not being fired.

Executive director Sutton Stracke said the dancers never had contracts for the upcoming season, which are typically signed in May.

However, the dancers told News 12 last week that they were told that they would not have a job with the company for the upcoming season.

Many of the dancers have said that they are now trying to find other jobs with other dance companies, but they say that could be hard since most auditions take place at the beginning of the year.

Rider Vierling and Kristy Tancred are husband and wife. They've been with the Augusta Ballet Company for three years.

Now the duo's marriage to the Ballet Company is ending.

"Usually, you don't leave a company under these circumstances...which is the hardest part," Kristy says.

"It's tough on us because we have to find new jobs and move," says Rider.

Rider and Kristy are among nine professional dancers at the Augusta Ballet Company putting on shows like the Nutcracker at the Imperial Theatre.

They never imagined that when the curtain fell it would be their last performance.

"It was basically out of nowhere," Kristy says. "We didn't have any indication it was going to happen."

Artistic director Zanne Colton says she was aware of the ballet's trouble, but she never thought it would come to this.

All admit that the crowds are slim at most performances, and without support, it's hard to operate.

That could have been the last nail in the coffin.

"It feels like a death," Colton says. "They all wanted to stay and they were looking forward to our season."

"For the quality of work that's on the stage, the Theatre should be standing room only," Rider says.

The Augusta Ballet School will remain open and still train dancers.

The school is privately owned and is completely a separate from the dance company.

Stracke said Thursday that artistic director Zanne Colton still has a job with the ballet.