Ballet company exec resigns

Beth Macmillan, executive director of Nevada Festival Ballet, has stepped down after less than a year of holding the position.

“I have tendered my resignation with the Board of Directors of Nevada Festival Ballet effective Jan. 26, 2001,” Macmillan wrote in a statement released Jan. 30. “Philosophical differences between the executive board and myself resulted in my resignation.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed all the very hard work and wish Nevada Festival Ballet much success for the future. I look forward to continuing my service to the arts community in the Truckee Meadows.”

Macmillan could not be reached for clarification on what the philosophical differences were.

Macmillan will continue her affiliation with the NFB through her Teddy Bear Dancers program, which she teaches at the ballet company’s school. The board of directors will maintain NFB operations until an interim director is named.

Rumors of Macmillan’s departure surfaced two weeks ago. When the RN&R called then to confirm if she had left the company, Macmillan answered that she had not.

Rick Campbell, president of the board, told the RN&R Monday that Macmillan’s resignation comes as a bit of a surprise. He described her reasons for leaving as “just wanting to move on.” He said her resignation won’t affect the remainder of the season or the NFB school.

Macmillan was named executive director last summer after serving as interim director in the wake of the resignation of Lesley Bandy Beardsley in January 2000. Bandy’s resignation followed the firing of former NFB school administrator and outreach program coordinator Carrie Oliver.

Oliver told the RN&R last year that she had been falsely accused of soliciting a school instructor to start a dance school and felt that was one of the reasons she had been fired by the NFB executive board (RN&R “Dancing Around Problems,” April 13, 2000). Oliver and the parents of several of her students told the RN&R that during one instance, when she returned to pick up her personal items and talk to her outreach students, she was prevented from entering the school and told to leave the property by then-president of the board H. Heydon Hill and his wife, Michele, or else she would be arrested.

Oliver said several of her students had witnessed the confrontation and were upset. Hill said that Oliver had already been on the property to retrieve her belongings earlier that day. By February, six board members and two teachers had left the company. Oliver went on to start Ballet Nevada Performing Arts Inc.

Campbell said it’s always a concern to the board when the company loses somebody, but he expects the executive director position to be filled by next season.

NFB’s season continues with a performance by Ballet Folclorico do Brazil Feb. 23 at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, 100 S. Virginia St. The Afro-Brazilian dance group will also perform for Washoe County School District students Feb. 22 as part of NFB’s Dance for the Schools program. The season closes with the ballet Giselle April 6-7, which will also be performed at the Pioneer Center. For tickets and other information, call 785-7915.