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Boston's 2004-2005 season

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#1 bbfan



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Posted 16 April 2004 - 01:16 PM

Here is a link to Boston Ballet's site with details about the 2004-2005 season.

#2 Alexandra


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Posted 15 May 2004 - 03:55 PM

What's the reaction to this season? It seems more conservative than those of the past two years -- mostly full-length story ballets and only two mixed bills, one neoclassical ballet, one crossover dance.

I was very glad to see that Sorella Englund is staging "La Sylphide." I'd have every reason to expect something wonderful. She's a great artist, an inspiring coach, and her Madge was one of the greatest characters of the Bournonville repertory in the last 25 years. Lucky Boston.

#3 dido


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Posted 15 May 2004 - 07:08 PM

Oh, WOW. :wub:

#4 eland



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Posted 15 May 2004 - 08:35 PM

I think perhaps,boston Ballet is taking a "conservative" approach because of the way subscribers react...many of the die hards prefer thre full lengths, but at the same time the next generation craves excitement...
Perhaps it's just the city.
There have been so many people who loved the last mixed rep and are dying to see more, but it is difficlut to bring people in.
I have always thought that the company needed to really put themselves out there in the community and perhaps that would get people talking, but it hasn't happened so far.
I don't mean just the underpriviledged, but even the 30 somethings with money to spare...It needs to be the next "in "thing and with the right kind of marketing,it could change the face of ballet in this city...and the rep next year will be on the must see list...
Just a thought...

#5 bingham


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Posted 05 June 2004 - 12:56 PM

Barbara Kohoutkova will be a principal dancer in the 2004-05 season at the Hamburg Ballet(according to Hamburg Ballet website).

#6 Balletaime



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Posted 20 March 2005 - 07:18 AM

I think perhaps,boston Ballet is  taking  a "conservative" approach because  of  the way  subscribers react...many  of  the die  hards  prefer thre  full lengths, but  at  the  same  time  the  next  generation craves excitement...
    Perhaps it's  just  the  city.
  There have  been  so  many people  who  loved the  last mixed  rep and  are dying to see more, but it  is  difficlut  to  bring  people in.
    I have  always  thought  that  the  company needed  to  really put  themselves out  there in the  community and  perhaps that  would  get  people  talking, but  it  hasn't  happened so  far.
  I don't mean just the  underpriviledged, but  even  the  30 somethings  with  money  to  spare...It needs to  be  the  next "in "thing and with  the  right  kind  of  marketing,it  could  change  the  face  of  ballet  in this  city...and  the  rep next year will be  on the must  see list...
    Just a thought...


I have read a number of times that Boston is not a dance friendly city, the common thread being that the dance public does not fill the Wang Center. Usually in conjunction that the audience is predominantly elderly and as eland in the March 15 post stated “the way subscribers react...many of the die-hards prefer the full lengths”.
What is more controversial is “It needs to be the next "in "thing and with the right kind of marketing, it could change the face of ballet in this city”. The last BB AD tried that and it was BAD!
The former points are more complex. The Wang Center is ill suited for ballet. The hall is too large, distorted sight lines from the side aisles and impossible to see clearly the detail of the step much less the expressions of the dancer from the back rows. As to the composition of the audience, at $90 the young can’t afford it. As to the “conservative” preference for the full length story ballets, poppycock! The audience seems to be more flexible than the BB bureaucracy.
Lets use the last two programs as an example, I saw the first night programs of La Sylphide and the ‘Fallen Angels’ and a repeat of the La Sylphide about a week latter with a different cast.
The audience demographics was about the same, predominantly elderly. For Sylphide the orchestra was 1/2 to 3/4 full, the 1st. balcony about the same. For the ‘Fallen Angels” program, while the audience seemed the same, the attendance was substantially greater, only a few empty seats in the orchestra and the balcony was full. But what’s more indicative was the audience’s reaction to the program. A warm applause for La Sylphide, a polite applause for Lucinda Childs’ Ten Part Suite in contrast to some standing ovation and enthusiastic applause for three curtain calls for the Kylian’s Sarabande/Fallen Angels. I did not watch the Forsythe, having seen it before. Once was enough. In my view Ten Part Suite is more classical than the two Kylian pieces. Child choreography for 14, two soloists and 6 couples “ – reflects Child’s signature style. ‘Geometrical patterns are my way of shaping the space and relating to the space.’ “ The choreography seemed to contrast the movement against the music. Corelli’s Violin Sonata has a contemplative characteristic while Child’s movement almost a frenetic quality. The pas de deux Sarabande and Prelude had an unfinished quality though the dancing by Lorna Feijoo partnered by Roman Rykine was impeccable in precision, if too abbreviated. The whole had an under-rehearsed quality as when two girls almost collided – the look on their face was ‘What are you doing in my space.’
In contrast the enthusiasm of the dancers for the Kylian pieces connected with the audience and during the 2nd. curtain, they were obviously surprised at the continuing applause and took individual bows.
That such an audience reaction is not an anomaly or a personal bias is supported by a review of Anna Kisselgoff March 30, 2004:”To call the Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo a find after his high-energy, high-virtuoso premiere "Plan to B" roused audiences from their seats at the Boston Ballet here over the weekend, would be awkward.”
Therefore it would seem that the Boston audience will support excelance regardless of categories and that the BB staff is underestimating it’s audience. The inovations in ticketing, two performances for one price and student tickets at $15 will probably attract a new audience better than advertising.

#7 Alexandra


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Posted 20 March 2005 - 10:14 AM

I think the innovations in ticketing that balletaime mentioned are a great idea, and I agree that that will be the best way to attract a new audience -- and keep those who come and are mildly interested, but not yet addicts.

On demographics, I think too much is made of the "elderly" audience. First, the audience for ballet and opera is, and has always been, middle-aged. In 1975 there were articles about the NYCB audience that the average age was 55. (And average age means, of course, that there are some 30 year olds and some 80 year olds in there.) Unless you do a survey, it's really hard to tell what the demographics are. Eyeballing it (and I do the same thing!) gives you a sample, but you can't see the whole house. By my eyeballing, the audiences in DC seem to be older at weekend matinees and younger on Friday nights.

As for "the young" seeking excitement....I think it's dangerous to make assumptions about any group. (Not to mention what one considers "excitiing." I came to ballet at 25 and thought "Swan Lake" was very exciting!" I know 60 year olds who prefer "cutting edge" work and 16 year olds who don't want to see anything but Swan Lake and Bayadere. There needs to be a balance of new and old -- GOOD new and old, not something the marketing department dreams up to follow a trend, or a perceived trend.

#8 carbro


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Posted 20 March 2005 - 03:46 PM

I've been attending the "Balanchine Legacy . . . Continued" series at the Guggenheim Museum. Three of Mr. B's progeny who now run their own companies (Andersen at Arizona Ballet, Villella at Miami City Ballet and Bonnefoux at North Carolina Dance Theater) agree that it is necessary to educate the audience, and the thing you need in order to draw them back into the theater is high quality. More than once, the NYCB alums have referred specifically to the cool response to Liebselieder Walzer at its premiere and how it has since been generally ranked among B'chine's most beloved works.

Sounds to me like a very solid formula -- simple to articulate but difficult to implement, though.

It's important to keep some tickets available -- especially for younger viewers -- at prices roughly comparable to a movie ticket. That's a long-term investment for the company. It establishes what will ultimately become a core of loyal fans.

#9 Dale


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Posted 20 March 2005 - 03:58 PM

I hope the ticket discounts pay off for the company. I've been to see Boston Ballet a few times recently. I have to agree that the Wang is kind of a strange theater for ballet: the stage was so wide and the dancers were positioned on the front half of the stage -- it made for a very "flat" impression.

#10 Old Fashioned

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 04:33 PM

As for "the young" seeking excitement....I think it's dangerous to make assumptions about any group.


It seems as though most young people who attend the ballet are dancers themselves, and when they go to the ballet, they generally want to see "ballet." If they wanted something contemporary, they would go to the local modern dance troupe. This is a huge generalization, but it's pretty much the case, at least in my area where the public is not as exposed or educated in dance.

  It's important to keep some tickets available -- especially for younger viewers -- at prices roughly comparable to a movie ticket. That's a long-term investment for the company. It establishes what will ultimately become a core of loyal fans.

This is what I don't understand about Houston Ballet in its current state. Welch wants to attract a younger audience and wants to hear more cheering from this demographic, but it can't happen if they rarely offer rush tickets (right now, they only offer it during a single matinee- which I can never go to- for each program) or raise the cost of the regular tickets (the cheapest have gone from $11.50 to $19 for seats no one wants to sit in). I don't think this was much of an issue in the past, and their marketing team (or whatever else dictates ticket prices) should know better, especially since they must compete with the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Symphony, companies that almost always offer discounts. This is limiting the younger audience to their own dancers from the school, many of whom get free entrance. I also wonder if Welch knows that most of this cheering is coming from this exact group because they're rooting for people they know performing on stage.

Apologies to BB fans for turning this into a little venting session of mine. :yahoo:

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