The financially plagued Maryland Ballet has closed its dance school at 1014 Morton St. because of its inability to make its monthly rent as well as meet its payments for improvements to the building.
Artistic director Phillip Carman is searching for another space to hold classes so that the school's 75 students do not fall behind in their training. Few refunds would be necessary because most students tended to pay their tuition each month, said cofounder and board member Daniel Kane.
"Closing wasn't a total surprise, although we had hoped to make it to June," Mr. Kane said. "When it became obvious we were not going to be able to meet the increased costs, it was better to vacate the property."
The ballet owes about $36,000 to the H. Chambers Company, owner of the Morton Street building.
Since Mr. Carman and Mr. Kane founded the company in 1986 -- it was originally called the Harbor City Ballet -- it has gone through a number of transformations. Created as a showcase for Mr. Carman and a group of young dancers, it was forced to reinvent itself last year after a budget deficit made it lay off dancers and abandon its venue at the Baltimore Museum of Art. It finished out its 1991-'92 season at Loyola College.
Last December, it sponsored 12 performances of Nutcracker, danced by outside performers, at the Lyric Opera House. Although the engagment was highly successful, Mr. Kane said such production costs as hiring a 48-piece orchestra erased any profits to the ballet company.
The company hopes to stage a similar production of "Swan Lake" at the Lyric next fall as well as another "The Nutcracker."
"We're taking it [the company] slowly and trying to give to the public the major ballets which they seem to want to see," said Mr. Carman.