Linda Hurkmans, the artistic director says this year has already been challenging enough with the setbacks of COVID-19. Virtual classes and performances have been a learning curve. Now they must get through an unexpected setback.
"It's a really sad week for us" says Hurkmans via Zoom from her dance studio at home. "Thieves got in and stole countless of our precious ballet costumes".
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More than eighty brand new and heirloom costumes and accessories, painstakingly handmade by volunteers were stolen. Many of the ornate tutus taking months to craft by costume director Renee Forbes, who danced in the ballet herself and is now passing on the love of dance to her own children.
"This is just really heartbreaking": the @SJDanceTheatre had nearly 100 priceless historical and new costumes stolen.— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) January 10, 2021
This comes just a few months before their scheduled performance of Sleeping Beauty & after a year full of COVID setbacks.
To help: https://t.co/LVS4so5qSc pic.twitter.com/ZUJnENt9EO
"This is just really heartbreaking for us to be hit by this. They're really precious and special to us" says Linda, who also danced in the theatre as a child herself.
Linda estimated the value of the labor and materials of what was stolen to be between $13,000 to $20,000. But because the tutus are so specialized, they have low resale value for a thief. To those at this nonprofit, they are priceless.
The San Jose Dance Theatre has been operating since 1965 and has the distinction of holding the longest-running performance of the Nutcracker in San Jose. Many of the costumes hold historical significance to their participants.
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Here's Linda's message to whoever might be responsible:
"If you have it in your heart to return them, we would not press charges. We would be eternally grateful to have these one-of-a-kind masterpieces back so we can use them and continue what we do for performing arts."
If you'd like to help, here's the San Jose Dance Theatre's GoFundMe page.