Suspicions Loom as Buffalo’s LehrerDance Suddenly Shuts Down


LehrerDance performs at Jacob_s Pillow Dance Festival, 2014_PHOTO JAMIE KRAUS, COURTESY OF JACOB_S PILLOW DANCE

LehrerDance performing at Jacob’s Pillow in 2014. Photo by Jaime Kraus, Courtesy Jon Lehrer.

By Steve Sucato

The sudden end to Buffalo, New York–based LehrerDance—the city’s lone professional touring dance company—recently came as a shock to many. Rumblings of the company’s demise began when their website and Facebook page were taken down. Shortly after, on February 21, Buffalo’s news media began reporting that the company has ceased operations.

An email communiqué from LehrerDance board member Frank Ciccia on February 22 stated that the board of LehrerDance had terminated company founder and artistic director Jon Lehrer as of February 7 and “in consultation with its attorneys and accountants, is in the process of determining the organization’s financial status but has declared a halt to all operations of the company.”

The mention of “determining the organization’s financial status” then led to speculation of Lehrer’s involvement in financial improprieties. In an interview with WBFO radio’s Eileen Buckley, she pointedly questioned Lehrer on it: “There have been some very difficult off-the-record accusations made against you on embezzlement?” to which Lehrer responded: “Yes, I have no comment on that right now.”

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