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Arts/Culture

LehrerDance quietly shuts down

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WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley
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A local contemporary dance company has quietly shut-down with no explanation.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says no one is talking about what happened to LehrerDance.

The only correspondence we've been able to obtain indicating LehrerDance has been shuttered is from an email shared by a source to WBFO.  It was initially sent from the University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance issued to the UB Dean of Arts and Sciences. It explained that the department received a statement from the Lehrer Dance Board of Directors saying the company is "close.",  "there is no more funding" and there are "no employees."

UB dance was notified because it conducts auditions and a summer program with Lehrer. UB's Theatre and Dance Department issued a statement saying the 2018 LehrerDance Summer Intensive has been canceled. 

"The announcement of the company’s closing came as a complete surprise to UB’s Department of Theatre and Dance and the College of Arts and Sciences.

While we are saddened by the news, and concerned about our alumni who were employed by the organization, LehrerDance is just one of many companies that provide professionalization opportunities to our students. The department continues to offer a wide range of master classes with prominent guest artists. The 2018 LehrerDance Summer Intensive has been canceled."

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Credit Eileen Buckley / WBFO News
Emails to founder Jon Lehrer also bounced back. Lehrer founded his dance company in 2007 in Buffalo.

Lynne M. Koscielniak
Associate Professor of Scenography
Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance
University at Buffalo - State University of New York    

Lehrer's website has been wiped clean from the internet and there is no longer any Facebook page.

WBFO has made repeated attempts to reach several board members. No one has responded to our requests.

Emails to founder Jon Lehrer also bounced back. Lehrer founded his dance company in 2007 in Buffalo.  Lehrer is a native of Queens.

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Credit WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley
Jon Lehrer (left) with Buffalo Chamber Players.

We also reached out to another collaborator. Buffalo Chamber Players. They collaborated last spring. Chamber Players said they are unaware of the shutdown.

This past October the company held its sixth annual performance at the Center for the Arts at UB kicking off the M&T Bank Dance Series. WBFO reached out to M&T's corporate communications vice president Michael Zabel. He told us in an email he was not aware of the shutdown. 

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