The Sacramento Ballet announced this week that its board will replace longtime artistic directors Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda, who have held the post for 30 years.
Nancy Garton, president of the ballet's board of directors, told the Sacramento Bee this week that a search committee was created to find a new artistic director by the spring. Cunningham and Binda -- who are married -- will finish the 2017–2018 season, which ends on July 30 of next year.
"Times change," Garton told Capital Public Radio. "We have to, I think, keep up with the world and its changes."
The announcement surprised the Sacramento arts community, and has received some harsh criticism.
"Your decision to release Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda from their contract is one of the saddest days ever for the arts community in Sacramento and for the world of ballet," Jay Mather wrote on the Sacramento Ballet Facebook page. "While your decisions may have good intentions, they are clumsy and disrespectful."