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How's the ballet box-office doing nowadays?


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45 replies to this topic

#16 cantdance

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 05:38 PM

I was at the Suzanne Farrell Ballet rehearsal from 230pm to ending around 520pm for $12 and sat next to the Presidential box. I am estimating that they only released 150 tickets . It was general admission and everyone sat in the box tier and rear orchestra sections. Suzanne Farrell ran the rehearsal with her narration before each Pas De Deux and two 15 min orchestra intermissions. The only other pauses were for missed stage cues and orchestra instruction. The rehearsal was for the Balanchine Couple performance at 8pm that night. Got to watch Suzanne Farrell coach Natalia Magnicaballi in Diamonds pdd. Miss Farrell performed the steps and port de bra with Momchil Mladenov and Natalia followed the instruction. Just seeing Miss Farrell do that bit of choreography herself was the best $12 spent. She is still beautiful. The ushers were clearing the theatre and I had to leave then.

I mostly go the the rehearsals and studio performances since I spend my dance budget on ballet class. Some of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet dancers are my teachers. Kristen Gallagher, Runqiao Du and Erin Mahoney Du teach in the Wash DC Richmond area. I will be at the San Francisco Ballet, ABT, Bolshoi and Royal Ballet rehearsals.

#17 bart

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 04:30 AM

What a marvellous opportunity, cantdance. I'll bet I'm not the only one to be envious! As one who saw Diamonds in the first year ('67), I'm really thrilled that Farrell can still demonstrate it to her dancers over 40 years later.

#18 Classic_Ballet

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 11:20 AM

I attend 2-3 times a week to the met /nyc during abt's spring seasson.
Friday and Saturdays usually sell very very well. Many times you have a sold out house (about 4000 seats)
Monday-thursday, depends on the performance, but in general they sell very well too (80-90%)

People in nyc know very well who they want to see. You will find, for example, Ananiashvili's performances sold out
very fast (especially after her come back). Especial performances, like a farewell, are usually sold out before the seasson begins. wed and sat matinee are usually pretty full as well.

I attended to San Francisco ballet at City Center. It was pretty bad, friday night the rear mezzanine was pretty much empty. Same thing with morphoses. Its actually the 1st time that I ve seen the city center that empty during a ballet performance (i have been here for 5 yrs now). Kirov sold very well last year and abt usually sells pretty well too. The young america grand prix gala is always sold out 1-2 months before the show.

I will be attending to abt tonight and during these 2 weeks, w'll see how it goes.

#19 4mrdncr

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 07:25 PM

I too would be most curious to see some statistics regarding bart's query. In the meantime, there are always 990's to cross-reference. Below, are my most recent experiences...

1) BOSTON
The first thing I noticed in Boston some years ago, was that BB did not make balcony tickets available for any performances at the Wang Center, only the front Mezz (same top price as front Orchestra). So a major reduction in seats available, and probably because of a lack of attendance? However, finally this past May, I was able to sit upstairs in the balcony section again, with ample opportunity to move forward if I wanted to into the front balcony. (The Mezz section was full, and at least the first 10+ rows of front balcony.) Whether BB anticipated better attendance and opened up the balcony section or saw early subscription returns and did it, I'm not sure. Or maybe it was a better rep.? I know they did a big push for Cranko's R&J, but not living in Boston now, I don't see any other media/p.r. so can't determine its impact on the b.o. The fall Gala night usually does well, as I suppose the spring Ball does too?

But despite the above, BB is leaving the Wang Center after this coming season to go to a smaller venue. They are putting a happy face on it, but it is still a demotion. Of course, two years ago (or is it more now?) the Wang Center had supplanted BB's Nutcracker, (despite it supposedly being the largest/best attended one in the USA--take that NYCB), with those NY interlopers: The Rockettes Xmas Show. Nothing new about that: A similar fate befalling other companies across the USA.

Actually, I do wonder how BB is doing financially? Their AD's previous position received accolades for rep, but also groans for excessive expense and leaving a large deficit. BB has always had a great rep, (though I could do with less Elo), and I've seen more smiles than before, so maybe they are ok. But with the state of the present economy, and MA's rather precarious finances, it may not be all smiles this year.

2) NY:
I've attended ABT regularly each summer, and 2-4 times (though this year 1-2) at City Center, and have observed the same things other BT'ers have posted.

3) EUROPE:
London (2007)- for ABT (Feb.) and Morphoses (Sept.) - I was up in the balcony for both companies, and it seemed to be quite full. The one time I was able to attend the RB at the ROH, it too was very full (I had to get a very expensive orch.ticket, which was all they had left.)

Spain (2008): At all times (Barcelona, Madrid, elsewhere on tour) the performances were either sold out or very nearly sold out. Also, there was no such thing as a "cheap" ticket; prices were DOUBLE what they are in NYC, Boston, Chicago, or Los Angeles (all of which I visited in 2007-08).

4)THE GOOD OL' DAYS:
I remember ABT filling Shrine Auditorium in L.A. at least 3/4 full (almost 5600 seats) for three weeks at a time in the late 70's - mid 80's. (sigh).

#20 Natalia

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 04:08 AM

The economic woes have definitely hit The Washington Ballet. Their shows used to fill to capacity on all nights. At last night's initial performance of their Genius2 program, the usually-packed balcony was about one-half full at the start of the evening and emptied to about one-third full by the second intermission, presumably because a lot of folks could easily move to either Box Seats or Orchestra? I was shocked by the change. I've been a Wednesday night subscriber for years -- the preview openers, usually lower priced -- and the theters were always packed in previous years. Something is definitely going on. Sad.

#21 debhig

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 07:00 PM

I can only attest to Oregon Ballet Theatre's attendance and it was a full house the night I attended in early October. They were doing "Swan Lake" and they seem to be consistent with selling out with this ballet. They have really reasonable subscription prices, which my tickets were, which makes me feel privileged to see this ballet and to hear their resident orchestra for the pittance that I pay.

Support live theatre!

#22 kfw

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 11:31 AM

This is technically :) but I think it's pertinent. The New York Times reports today that the Metropolitan Opera's board will

subsidize the cost of about 16,000 prime seats for weekend evening performances for the rest of the current season. Starting on Monday, about 16,000 seats in its orchestra and grand tier sections, which normally sell for between $140 and $295, will be sold for $25 through weekly online drawings at metopera.org.


Presumably if the Met feels the need to take an extraordinary measure to boost ticket sales, its fellow Lincoln Center constituent at the State Theater is suffering some too, although maybe not yet since it's Nutcracker season.

#23 cantdance

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 03:15 PM

The San Francisco ballet rehearsal tickets were sold out which I did attend. The Kennedy Center did send me an email offering discounted orchestra seats for their Giselle performance. Right now the Washington Ballet has some Nutcracker tickets at 50% off.

#24 PeggyR

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 05:30 PM

The good news is that San Francisco Ballet has added one performance of the full-length Jewels and two of its new Swan Lake for the upcoming 2009 season. On the down side, if you look at the available seats chart for the mixed rep programs, many look no more than half sold.

I have two ballet-loving co-workers who both gave up their season tickets this year (it should be pointed out that we work for a bank :sweatingbullets: ). I renewed my subscription this year, but next year is iffy.

#25 ggobob

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 11:46 AM

Just updating...SF Ballet has had a 50% Nutcracker offer on its website for subscribers...it might also be out to its email list.

#26 ajg

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 10:16 AM

While not a national company, a staff member at Ballet Austin told me that their Nutcracker performances are close to sold-out. The two that I attended were certainly full.

#27 carbro

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 08:31 PM

I went out this evening, arriving at the box office a few moments before curtain, to buy standing room for NYCB's Nut. I had never failed to get a stand right before curtain for the Nut -- until tonight. The man behind the glass told me that the house was sold out. Good news for the company :) (especially since there was a fair number of unsold 4th Ring seats for my earlier Nut), but not for me. :clapping:

#28 Jack Reed

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 04:07 PM

This goes back a bit, considering all the Nut-related reports here just now, but, as miliosr reported above, the first night of the Chicago Dance Festival was well attended, with 1500 free tickets going out, i.e. in the mail for callers-in, in two days, or so the box office told me when I inquired rather tardily (my guardian angel got me in, she knows who she is). The item I wish to add at this point is that we found on our seats notice of a two-for-one sale on SFB tickets for their brief appearance shortly after. (With no Balanchine at all on their program, this busy Chicagoan sat out this one.)

#29 printscess

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 11:11 AM

Whenever I read about another company canceling part or all of a season, I get a knot in my stomach. Is there any good news about any company? Any uplifting news about large, small, regional?

#30 SandyMcKean

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 01:50 PM

Is there any good news about any company?

PNB in Seattle went from 46 dancers to 52 dancers (I think those are the right numbers) this season. There were 5 promotions (I think) too this season.

Not that ticket sales and charitable contributions aren't down, because they are. Also, Peter Boal recently said that PNB picked its just announced 2009/2010 ballets in large measure based on what they thought they could sell. For example, the wildly popular Maillot R&J is coming back next season (I'm confident right about this time of year :)).


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