Those are just the reported fees paid to the guest artists for those years. The actual expenses relating to transportation, accommodations, special rehearsals and coaching, insurance, costumes, and the added administrative expenses could double those costs easily. The 2010 GAD (guest artist drain) will not be available until ABT files its 2010 Tax Form 990 probably this summer. The following year's 2011 GAD is sure to be a whopper given the fact that ABT has just announced its ninth (or tenth, depending on where you place Bolle) guest artist for the Met Season. A conservative estimate of fees and expenses for guest artists from the three years from 2007 to 2009 suggests that ABT spent close to a half million dollars on guest artists that could have been spent developing the extraordinary talent of its own dancers. Let's remind ourselves - on a daily basis if need be - that ABT has not developed an Odette from its ranks for six long years. This year, they've imported one from a second tier company in Germany - a long, lean dancer with a proclivity for 180 degree extensions and the vulgar crotch-flashing that comes with it. No doubt, ABT, which has been completely unable to turn out an Odette of its own in the past six years, is confident of its ability to "mold" this import into one of its "own" stars.
If there was any question of the artistic management's waning focus and waning ability to develop world class artists from within its ranks, it has been answered in six figures. A half million dollars could have bought some pretty fine coaching over three years and produced more than one new Odette. It could have brought us more than a few flashes in the pan.
Let's plug the Guest Artist Drain.