SAN JOSE (KCBS) –Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley has launched a critical fundraising campaign, as the company needs to raise $550,000 by March 14 to continue to operate.

Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley is the second largest professional company in California. But the company, which was formed in 1986, has been struggling financially for years, though it has recently shown signs of improvement.

“The ballet right now has a very solid leadership team in place and a very doable turnaround plan,” said San Jose Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh. “It is really starting to hit some key financial metrics and move in the right direction.”

San Jose Vice Mayor Rose Herrera said the ballet company is a great city amenity and needs to be saved.

“I love ballet. My mother was a professional ballet dancer, so I grew up with ballet,” Herrera said. “There’s a great tradition of ballet in San Jose and I think we should do everything we can to work with them.”

The ballet company is calling this a “must-do” campaign, as it hopes to retain international Cuban-born, ballet superstar José Manuel Carreño as its Artistic Director.

“I’ve danced all over the world, but I came here because I fell in love with the company, the dancers and the school. Silicon Valley deserves the best and our dancers have superhuman talent. When you see this company, you’ll understand why I’m proud to be part of it,” said Mr. Carreño in a statement.

This is the second phase of the fundraising campaign.  The ballet successfully raised more than half a million dollars in unrestricted cash to fund operations back in January.  The $550,000 is part of the transformative part of the campaign, and seen as a bridge to the future.

Phase 3 of the campaign will transition the company from an operational funding cycle to a long-term funding model.  That phase is expected to launch in April.

The troubles for Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley come after the final curtain dropped for the San Jose Repertory Theatre last year.

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