About Lance Olson
As a young lighting designer for dance I worked for Minnesota Dance Theatre in Minneapolis. We performed the annual Nutcracker with the Minnesota Orchestra, filling the 5,000-seat Northrop Memorial Auditorium. The presenter, Ross Smith, brought us back every spring for a repertory concert that sold considerably fewer seats. No doubt he invested heavily in those concerts.
Being curious about the business of presenting, I cornered him in the stairwell and asked, “Why do you fund the loss to present this young, local dance group on your first class stage?” Ross responded, “If you want to make world class artists, you must present them on world class stages.” The lead dancer, Lise Houlton, became a principle soloist with Stuttgart Ballet and now runs Minnesota Dance Theatre.