Donations pour into Lynnwood ballet school

Judith Ross said she has been in awe over how much attention she has been getting.

Some of that attention is the kind she can take to the bank.

When The Herald wrote last week about how Ross would have to close Pacific Chamber Ballet after 27 years in Lynnwood, donations came pouring in.

One woman from Arlington sent Ross $1,000 so that the nonprofit dance school could stay open.

The woman, originally from England, said she has always had an interest in the arts and that her daughter took ballet. She wanted to remain anonymous.

“I’ve never had someone donate such a huge amount,” Ross said. “I’m in awe.”

Emboldened by these donations from strangers and parents of former and current students, Pacific Chamber Ballet instructors Anna James Percival and Lina Korsmo-Johnson decided to try and raise more money to keep the school open.

They are throwing a fundraiser “soiree” at the school Oct. 16. Dance and musical entertainment is planned and wine and desserts will be served.

“I’m trying to stay hopeful and positive,” Ross said. “I don’t know where this will go or if this will just delay the inevitable. If it does delay the inevitable, at least it gives my families time to let everything sink in and figure out what they want to do.”

Over the years, Ross has seen her rent go up steadily and, with the recession, enrollment decline.

In September, Ross realized she was down 20 students and also needed $1,300 to stay open.

So with declining enrollment and rent at $1,665 a month for 1,200 square feet, the community institution of Pacific Chamber Ballet was set to close Friday.

Now, with donations coming in and Ross signing up six new students, she said she will keep the dance school open at least through October.

At the end of this month, Ross said she would take stock of the school’s situation. She’s not sure what the future holds.

At 65, Ross said she’s never imagined closing her school at her age. She said she has struggled before but still managed to stay in the ballet business all these years by making sacrifices, such as not paying herself a salary for 10 years.

She said she’s been humbled by the community’s generosity, especially at a time when many people are struggling.

“It just blows me away,” Ross said. “It is hard times. People are still experiencing the recession and maybe it’s over the way the government is saying it is, but we haven’t quite experienced that here.”

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; goffredo@heraldnet.com.

An entertaining fundraiser

To help raise money to keep Pacific Chamber Ballet open, instructors Anna James Percival and Lina Korsmo-Johnson are putting on a soiree at 8 p.m. Oct. 16 at Pacific Chamber Ballet, 6925 216th SW, Suite F, Lynnwood.

The evening features Sony Masterworks and Steinway artist Andrew T. Miller, trumpet player Rudy Harper, professional dancer Lauren Matthew, mini-performances by PCB students and others to be announced. Wine and desserts will be served. Tickets are $15 or two for $25. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com or at the door.

Donations in any amount can be made by check payable to Pacific Chamber Ballet, 6925 216th SW, Suite F, Lynnwood, WA 98036 or with a credit card online via Facebook causes.

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