Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

How's the ballet box-office doing nowadays?


  • Please log in to reply
45 replies to this topic

#31 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 06 February 2009 - 01:58 PM

Re: printcess's question. Does anyone know if there is an organization (of ballet or performing arts professionals) that actually gathers this kind of data from a variety of ocmpanies and publishes it?

Sometimes it seems that each of these small companies -- and even NYCB and ABT are "small" in the context of the national market -- works pretty exclusively on its own or in its own locality. When it comes to handling ups and downs in ticket sales, subscriptions, and contributions, this must lead to a lot of "reinventing the wheel."

I have heard of Michael Kaiser's efforts to provide some sort of centeralization for expertise. For example:
http://www.nytimes.c...ing/11ARTS.html

and
http://www.nytimes.c...ing/11ARTS.html

But don't we need to collect and compare the data first?

#32 leonid17

leonid17

    Platinum Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,458 posts

Posted 12 February 2009 - 08:57 AM

Re: printcess's question. Does anyone know if there is an organization (of ballet or performing arts professionals) that actually gathers this kind of data from a variety of ocmpanies and publishes it?

Sometimes it seems that each of these small companies -- and even NYCB and ABT are "small" in the context of the national market -- works pretty exclusively on its own or in its own locality. When it comes to handling ups and downs in ticket sales, subscriptions, and contributions, this must lead to a lot of "reinventing the wheel."

I have heard of Michael Kaiser's efforts to provide some sort of centeralization for expertise. For example:
http://www.nytimes.c...ing/11ARTS.html

and
http://www.nytimes.c...ing/11ARTS.html

But don't we need to collect and compare the data first?


Here is a link to http://www.artsincrisis.org/ based at the Kennedy Centre to help those arts organisations who are feeling the pinch and a link to their Press Statement at
http://www.artsincrisis.org/press.cfm

#33 miliosr

miliosr

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,615 posts

Posted 12 February 2009 - 06:16 PM

This news from my little corner of the world (Madison, Wisconsin):

Madison Ballet has cancelled its Evening of Romance performances scheduled for this weekend (Valentine's Day weekend) at the Overture Center's Capitol Theater. The troupe has already cancelled its scheduled Pure Ballet performances in April and the next performances won't occur until next December with The Nutcracker. Madison Ballet executive director Valerie Dixon cited declining corporate giving: "We had exhausted all measures to bring in funding to make this event lucrative. Companies are either tightening their purse strings or not giving at all."

Times are tough for the arts here in Madison -- Madison Repertory Theatre has suspended its season and the Overture Center has laid off workers.

#34 printscess

printscess

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 296 posts

Posted 12 February 2009 - 06:31 PM

Finally some good news:

OBT received a $300,000.00 grant and donations in December equaled 30% of all donations since July. I don't know what that means in terms of total dollars, but when things are looking bleak, that seems like good news.

#35 leonid17

leonid17

    Platinum Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,458 posts

Posted 13 February 2009 - 07:37 AM

Ballet Talkers are everywhere. Your imput will help us put together a world picture of ballet attendance today.




HEALTH WARNING: This post carries the beginning of a tale of impending woe in respect of the ballet and other arts. Faint-hearted readers should stop now. Those who are realists will of course continue. Those of a certain age like me have seen it all happen before in some way or another. :)

The arts both sides of the Atlantic are an attraction for dollar and pound spending by local people and tourists which in turn generates employment and billions in national income.

The current recession is already impinging on the arts and news from both of our governments so far, looks gloomy. In the worse case scenario ballet companies may have to adjust programmes to perform popular works to ensure ticket sales and cuts in staff and performers may take place.

UK

Some time in the not too distant future one hopes, the arts in the UK may look back upon the current period as “Now is our winter of discontent…” or as Margo Channing says. “Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!” day, week, month, year(s) as far as some predictions go.

Our government Culture secretary Andy Burnham with an unfortunate surname in this context, has stated, that in the UK the, “Arts must prepare for 2010 funding cuts” (The Stage 9 January 2009).
“Britain's leading art galleries and museums, including Tate Modern and the Victoria & Albert, will have to scale down their exhibition and expansion plans as recession threatens millions of pounds in business sponsorship. Colin Tweedy, chief executive of the organisation Arts & Business, said that scaling down shows would be”inevitability". He said: "I'm trying to be optimistic but these are incredibly worrying times for people trying to raise money. If this recession is short and sharp and projects can be delayed or extended, all will get their money. But if it drags on, I can't see they will all do it."
“His warning came as figures revealed business sponsorship was down by 7 per cent in 2007-8.” (The Independent 9 February 2009).
The Telegraph newspaper on 28 January 2009 reported that the Arts Council of England got cold feet on a major arts project and pulled its annual funding agreement as the project had hit technical problems. But has offered a one off sum to get it on its feet.
The Royal Ballet had extreme difficulty in selling tickets for its “La Bayadere” production in the last two months and had to offer discounts. The double bill of “Isadora” and “Dances at a Gathering” opening on 11 March is woefully under selling. Ticket sales for the ABT’s visit to London next month are sticky at present. English National Opera bookings for early March for ‘Jenufa’ and John Adams ‘Doctor Atomic’ are very slow but the Royal Opera is almost sold out for everything in the next month or so.

USA

In the USA, The New York Times on 25 January 2009 carried, “Arts Leaders Urge Role for Culture in Economic Recovery” in this article, “In Congress the American Recovery and Reinvestment bill, approved last week by the House Appropriations Committee, includes a $50 million supplement for the N.E.A. to distribute directly to non-profit arts organizations and also through state and local arts agencies.”
And then, on Friday, February 6, the U.S. Senate, during their consideration of the economic recovery bill, approved an egregious amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) by a wide vote margin of 73–24 that stated, “None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theatre, art centre, and highway beautification project.”
In an interesting report The Recession & the Arts January 2009 available at http://www.alliancef..._2009report.pdf examines “The impact of the economic downturn on Non-profit Cultural Groups in New York City”
An American Chloe Schama, writing in the UK’s Guardian newspaper on 04 February 2009 makes a forceful Argument for arts funding in the USA. See http://www.guardian....g?commentpage=1

NYCB’s’Nutcracker’ has been described as “near recession proof” reporting about 90 percent paid attendance — only 2 percent down from last year, when the Broadway stagehands strike brought more people than usual to the ballet. Today I checked seats for NYCB current performances and they appear to be available in some good numbers at present (I tested purchases of 14 tickets for various performances) but the ABT next week appears to have more than 40% unsold tickets for 3 performances.

It has already been mentioned on this site Edward Villella mention of the cuts to his company's budget and just recently it has been announced that he had to lose eight dancers. The picture painted in the Palm Beach Post is enough to make local ballet enthusiasts to sit up and pay attention. http://www.palmbeach.../...=7&cxcat=76
The long established Connecticut Opera has closed down see http://ap.lubbockonl...387290246.shtml this article also reports Baltimore Opera has declared bankruptcy; Los Angeles Opera is cutting staff.

BOTH

In any times of recession, arts and culture treasured in times of plenty are seen as soft targets by both governments and funders. Taking the high moral ground that the arts are not as important as more pressing considerations. True? In part yes, but if our artistic culture is sacrificed the whole of our society suffers. I am not going to explain why as I do not think any of our readers need such an explanation.
However although the going is going to get tough for many ballet and arts organisations, it is a fact that especially in the last decade, such organisations, especially those most prominent, have adopted business practices and developed relationships with significant funders committed to the arts that should enable them to ride the current storm. But a lot will depend on how long it will take, for a return to the seemingly balanced situation of the fairly recent past.

I see every reason for optimism as there is nothing to replace the arts in hundreds of millions of people’s lives throughout the world and I hope in this there is some power. :P
What I do not want to see is a government or funders giving, at anything less than arm’s length involvement.

#36 leonid17

leonid17

    Platinum Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,458 posts

Posted 14 February 2009 - 08:31 AM

Ballet Talkers are everywhere. Your imput will help us put together a world picture of ballet attendance today.


Checking today in London ABT's Swan Lake and Birmingham Royal Ballet's Sylvia(Bintley version) both at the London Coliseum where they are offering two seats for the price of one in the top three seat price range for Swan Lake and the two top prices for Sylvia. These are performances between the first night of Swan Lake on 25 March and Sylvia's last night of April 18. That is for five Swan Lake Performances and the opening night of Sylvia. I tried to access total seat availability at the Paris Opera but it appears that you have to register to check this and Stuttgart Opera you can read in English until you want to book online or so it appears. Perhaps a German or French contributor could find out how bookings for the ballet are at the major Opera Houses. As mentioned elsewhere the Royal Ballet are up against it at the present with bookings.

#37 PeggyR

PeggyR

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 669 posts

Posted 14 February 2009 - 07:17 PM

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, SFB added two performances of Swan Lake and one of Jewels for the 2009 season.

On the other hand, on February 4 a letter was sent to 'Valued Patrons' that says in part:

"Last fall, we began to take a strategic and very thoughtful approach to reducing operational expenses through the support areas of the organization..."

"Part of this contraction involved the regrettable, but necessary, reduction of some administrative positions. While we will be making adjustments to our touring schedule in fall of this year, our 2009 Repertory season remains as scheduled."

#38 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 14 February 2009 - 07:22 PM

It's always unfortunate when someone loses his or her job. But I admire SF's decision (as of now, anyway) to focus on tightening the belt in administration rather than laying off dancers.

#39 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,275 posts

Posted 14 February 2009 - 10:45 PM

Well said.

#40 cahill

cahill

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 86 posts

Posted 15 February 2009 - 11:56 AM

I attended SFB Program I last Saturday afternoon. We decided to go at the last minute and had a choice of good seats. The downstairs had good attendance but there were some empty seats. By the lines at the ladies restrooms (always a measurement for me) it looked like a good house.

In the letter PeggyR quoted I do not see any mention of dancers employment at all. Perhaps someone with direct knowledge could comment on weather any layoffs have occurred.

#41 miliosr

miliosr

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,615 posts

Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:15 PM

Talk about adding insult to injury:

Five days after Madison Ballet's cancelled Evening of Romance performance (w/ Ethan Stiefel and Gillian Murphy) was supposed to have taken place, I received a postcard in the mail today promoting the event! Truly, this event was ill-starred!!

(On a side note, interesting that Ethan Stiefel was slated to appear with Madison Ballet given the (at least formerly) schismatic condition of ballet in Madison.)

#42 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 19 February 2009 - 06:22 PM

Truly, this event was ill-starred!!

Yikes! It sure does.

miliosr, you made me think about something I read in Opera News a few days ago concerning the now-bankrupt Baltimore Opera. It concerns their last production, Norma, with Hasmik Papian and Ruth Ann Swenson.

The company's cash-flow shortage was so severe that the staging could take place onlylafter a board member personally guaranteed salaries for the cast.


My heart really goes out to those who are struggling to keep these impoverished local and regional companies going.

WE NEED SUCH COMPANIES! ARTISTS NEED THESE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNTIES!

Imagine a future world -- after "survival have the fittest" has left us with only a small number of super-sized, wealthy Ballet Giants. Will it come down to a matter of, "Sorry there's no ballet or opera in your area, but you can always (a) fly to Paris (or New York, or Moscow, or Beijing), or, if you can't afford that, (b) buy the dvd." :o

#43 4mrdncr

4mrdncr

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 670 posts

Posted 19 February 2009 - 09:33 PM

WE NEED SUCH COMPANIES! ARTISTS NEED THESE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNTIES!

Imagine a future world -- after "survival have the fittest" has left us with only a small number of super-sized, wealthy Ballet Giants. Will it come down to a matter of, "Sorry there's no ballet or opera in your area, but you can always (a) fly to Paris (or New York, or Moscow, or Beijing), or, if you can't afford that, (b) buy the dvd." :o


Yes, for ten years I faced exactly that dilemma, except there were no dvds then, and videotapes were also nearly nil. Then, when I returned once to WNET and informed them, they were astonished that not all 380 pbs stations had chosen to show any arts programs at all; leaving me isolated, and bereft of both viewing pleasure and employment in the subject matter I cared most about. To see any ballet, I used to haunt 'master control' and look for satellite feeds when I thought a program might be airing in the more civilized world.

#44 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,320 posts

Posted 21 March 2009 - 03:26 PM

Some of you may have been following the long, slow decline of Ballet Florida this season, as posted in the BT Links column.

According to the latest story, Ballet Florida will now:
-- cancel the remainder of its performances (at three area theaters) for the season;
-- end the contracts of its 19 dancers (saving about $300,000).

According to the latest announcement, management plans to cut down to 10 dancers next year, performing smaller works in several smaller theaters onlyl. They do intend to return to the Kravis Center (2000+ seats) for their week-long run of Nutcrcker, though where they will find the dancers to perform it has not yet been explained.

My heart goes out to the talented dancers, whose work I've enjoyed and respected over the past years.

According to today's article in the Palm Beach Post:

BalletFlorida has been hurt by [the] drop in [residentss'] discretionary income, with ticket sales off 18 percent this year and donations down 12 percent.


I do not know the source if the above information, but my own impression was that the paid audience decline was much larger than 18%. This was notable from the first performance last fall. Subscribers simply didn't sign up, following last spring's announcement of near collapse. Similarly, donations -- especially at the levels high enough to be printed in the program -- were down by a lot more than 12%.

A rather striking feature of this sad story has to do with the Company's studio, located on prime real estate near the CityPlace shopping and restaurant neighborhood.

Ballet Florida had hoped for a last-minute reprieve from West Palm Beach, which was planing to by its building on Fern Street near CityPlace for $2.5 million.

But when discussing the closing, citdy officials saw that they would be on the hook to pay Ballet Florida's Realtor a $185,000 commission. City commissionrs said they wanated to help the company survive but balked at the commission. They pulled out of the deal [earlier] this month.


The Company already had the strong support of Mayor Lois Frankel, who has appeared each year in the first-night Nutcracker party scene, and a majority of Commissioners. The deal was that the city would pay the $1.5 milllion and allow the Company to remain in the studio for 5 years at a toekn $1-a-year rent. Apparently, the Company didn't bother to advise the City that it wase also expected to pay a large real estate commission for deal.

It's a sad story. In my opinion, managements own actions (financial, marketing, and artistic) played a significant role in bringing their Company to this pass. It isn't just the economy. Those who manage the arts have a responsibility, too.

So, what is the result of all this?
-- dancers lose their jobs and possibly their careers;
-- tech people, costume people, support staff, stage hands, etc., etc. lose their livelihood;
-- ticket-holders, especially subscribers, lose their money;
-- everyone (from the formerly supportive city government to potential board members to future subscribers and donors) loses their willingness to trust any longer.

Here's the Post story:
http://www.palmbeach...letflorida.html

#45 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,275 posts

Posted 21 March 2009 - 04:51 PM

It is depressing...


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):