nOdyssey Dance’s Company’s IRS debt has made some headlines lately. We asked artistic director Derryl Yeager what it all means.n
Does this recent spate of negative publicity spell the end of Odyssey Dance?
nNot at all. The article emphasizes what we owe but doesn’t emphasize the fact we’ve filed an Offer and Compromise that will greatly reduce the debt and make it possible to clear up this issue.
Your Website says the negative publicity is politically motivated. How so?
nZAP Tier I is capped at 23 organizations—and if we are removed from that list, there is more money and less artistic competition for the others. Your guess is as good as mine, but there are only three other Tier I dance companies: Ballet West, Ririe-Woodbury and RDT.
Why should ODT receive ZAP tax funding when it owes tax dollars?
nTwo different types of tax dollars: Our tax problems are from withholding taxes, taxes that are taken from each individual employee involuntarily. ZAP is a voluntary fund that was created to help arts organizations become more financially stable. Having this Offer and Compromise in place is a wonderful starting place for our future stability—so ZAP’s participation with Odyssey will eventually be seen as a shining example of the tax dollars at work and the success of the ZAP program.
Was your holiday production It’s a Wonderful Life autobiographical?
nI think there is a little of George Bailey in all of us. I do feel I’m at the stage in the movie where Potter puts out a warrant for George’s arrest—I’m still waiting for the final scene where everyone brings baskets of cash, though. ... We’ve created a whole new audience for dance. Eighty percent of our budget comes from ticket sales. We have engaged young audiences by showing that dance can be accessible, relevant, and entertaining.