Joffrey Ballet Cancels Tour Citing Financial Problems : Dance: The five-week schedule would have included a six-day engagement in Orange County in April.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In an effort to cut costs, the financially troubled Joffrey Ballet has canceled a tour scheduled for April that was to have included a six-day engagement at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, company officials announced Tuesday.

The tour, which would also have stopped in Houston and Austin, would have included 14 performances stretched over a 5-week period, numbers no longer considered financially feasible due to dancers' per diem and other expenses, officials said.

"In these financially strained times," David A. Kipper, the Joffrey's board president, said in a prepared statement, "it is incumbent upon the company to operate in a prudent, conservative manner now to ensure the future fiscal viability of the company."

Spokeswoman Rima Corben said that the troupe "would like to" reschedule the canceled tour, which was to include performances of its successful "Billboards" ballet with music by Prince; "Billboards" has already been performed in Southern California on two separate engagements at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center in Los Angeles and once at OCPAC.

Meanwhile, the company will perform "The Nutcracker" on Dec. 21-30 at the Music Center as scheduled.

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Corben added that the April tour cancellation is "not specifically" related to the American Guild of Musical Artists' recent move against the Joffrey. In October the AGMA filed a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Assn., citing non-payment of Joffrey dancer salaries for two weeks this year and in two past seasons, as well as unpaid medical reimbursements, severance pay and pension contributions.

A decision from the Arbitration Assn. is pending.

Citing financial difficulties, American Ballet Theatre recently canceled a Jan. 4-6 engagement at the San Diego Civic Theatre and its Dec. 12-24 "Nutcracker" engagement in Purchase, N.Y.

OCPAC Director Tom Tomlinson said no money had exchanged hands for the engagement. A spokesman for the Orange County center said it plans to fill the Joffrey's April 4-9 engagement with another dance company.

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