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Ballet Arizona

In 1986 Arizona was home to three professional ballet companies in two cities, Phoenix and Tucson. All three were young and struggling for audience and funding. Allen Rosenberg, a Phoenix banker, philanthropist, and arts patron, orchestrated a merger of the three — Phoenix Ballet, Arizona Dance Theatre, and Ballet West Arizona (itself a merger of Mesa Civic Ballet and Arizona Metropolitan Ballet) — to create Ballet Arizona. For that first season, 1986–87, Jean-Paul Comelin (Milwaukee Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet) and New Zealand-born dancer Malcolm Burn were named co-artistic directors. Charles Fischl, who had transformed Atlanta Ballet from an amateur to professional company, was appointed Ballet Arizona’s first general manager.