Ballet West officials had reason to dance Tuesday.
First, the Salt Lake County Council came through as expected, approving the allocation of $918,000 in Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) tax funds to the troupe for its 2012 budget.
More important for the ballet's long-term sustainability, council members all but approved a memorandum of understanding that assures the county would work hand in hand with the nonprofit group to renovate downtown Salt Lake City's Capitol Theatre and to build a facility next to it that would house a "Center for Dance."
The only thing preventing the council from signing off on the memorandum was a legal requirement that public hearings be held because a name would be attached to the new building "The Jessie Eccles Quinney Center for Dance."
On Nov. 17, the county's Center for the Arts Advisory Board will hold a hearing and then vote on the memorandum. After that, the document will return to the council for a second public hearing and, most likely, final approval.
The memorandum stipulates that Ballet West and the county each would be responsible for providing $13.4 million toward the project's anticipated cost of $33.6 million. The additional $6.8 million would come from federal New Market Tax Credits.
Ballet West Executive Director Johann Jacobs said completion of the memorandum would seal a "good public-private partnership" that ensures a permanent home for Ballet West's envisioned dance academy and helps finance renovations to the lobby and restrooms at county-owned Capitol Theatre.
He also lauded the ZAP funding, calling it "totally integral to our operations," particularly since the "economy has thrown a wrench into our stability."
Ballet West was one of 22 large cultural organizations including Utah Symphony/Utah Opera and Red Butte Garden that will divvy up $8.4 million in ZAP funds in 2012. In addition, Hogle Zoo and Tracy Aviary will divide another $2.1 million from ZAP.