And knowing that Ben Stevenson, a respected name in the ballet world, is artistic director of TBT enticed her to be considered in a national search for TBT’s executive director position, she says.
Still, moving to a city not in a part of the country where she has always lived — the Northeast — wasn’t an easy decision. Since 2014, Logan was executive director of New Jersey’s American Repertory Ballet, and before that, chief of staff at the Boston Ballet.
“I have to say, you get an initial feeling from any city,” she says. “I had visited other cities and said, ‘This isn’t for me.’ I was in Fort Worth for the first time [in May], I walked around, and it resonated. I thought it was charming and cultural.”
Logan, 43, was one of several candidates identified by New York-based search firm Korn Ferry, hired by TBT last year to find an executive director. Terri Sexton, who has served as interim managing director for two years, had wanted to retire.
Her experience in arts management was number one; she has 18 years there. But she was also a dancer.
But Sexton wasn’t going to pass this important job on to just anyone — not for a ballet company that has bounced back from the recession that saw it make tough budget choices, most notably replacing a live orchestra with recorded music.
The company has been in the black for the past four seasons, Sexton says, and is now playing with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra again.
Logan was named TBT executive director earlier this month.
“Her experience in arts management was No. 1; she has 18 years there,” Sexton says. “But she was also a dancer. She comes to us from a full breadth of experience in arts management, from development to marketing, and she’s a strong communicator. She’s has a great, super sharp skill set.”
Logan grew up in Watertown, Conn., and began dance lessons at the Connecticut Dance Center. She was admitted into Juilliard as a dance student, but in her freshman year, sustained a hip injury that made a future as a dancer less likely. But she loved the form, she says, and went into dance therapy.
“It intrigued me to look at dance in a different way, at a therapeutic level,” Logan says. “I took that chance and fell in love with it. But I realized it wasn’t for me every day. Then I fell into arts administration when I wrote a grant for the dance center, and that catapulted my love for that.”
She graduated from Baltimore’s Goucher College with a bachelor of arts in dance, and became a teaching artist for the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. “It really has combined both things I love, which is leadership and arts and education.”
$9.2 million Texas Ballet Theater’s annual budget.
Those skills will be important for Texas Ballet Theater, which, according to Sexton, has a goal of becoming a tier-one ballet company within the next 10 years. For that, the organization will have to reach an annual budget of at least $14 million. Right now, TBT is at $9.2 million, Sexton says. Boston Ballet is a tier one, and Logan’s most recent company in New Jersey is a tier three.
Both Sexton and Logan have similar goals for the future, including joining the national touring circuit and expanding the group’s presence in Dallas. Next season, TBT will perform three shows at the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Winspear Opera House, in addition to its five at Bass Hall.
Ticket sales in the 2015-16 were up half a million dollars from the previous season, and up $1.2 million from the 2013-14 season.
Sexton says that TBT is in a good position. Ticket sales for 2015-16 were up half a million dollars from the previous season, and up $1.2 million from the 2013-14 season, she says.
Part of the increase, she says, is a better economy, but also the return of live music on recent seasons and the fact that TBT has expanded into new work and works that are new to the company — while still relying on standard repertory, which is important for any classical ballet company.
The 2016-17 season will see premieres from international emerging artists Avi Scher and Garrett Smith, as well as the company premiere of Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, which uses the music of the Rolling Stones.
Sexton also confirms that in-house choreographers, such as principal dancer Carl Coomer, will have new work in an upcoming season.
Exciting a new audience about what ballet is and how it speaks to them is important.
“Exciting a new audience about what ballet is and how it speaks to them is important,” Logan says. Having seen the company work — she observed rehearsals and performances in her May visit — she says she is confident it is the right home for her. She begins her new post Sept. 6.
“I got to spend four wonderful days with the company, the dancers, the administrative staff and Ben,” she says. “I saw this incredible team passionate about ballet that is qualitative and thoughtful and what ballet can do not only as a form of entertainment but as inspiration. I also fell in love with the quality of the dancers.
“I am truly excited to be a part of the Fort Worth and Dallas community and to be part of this special and talented company.”