.......given the ever-decreasing marginal utility of the Balanchine-style abstract/plotless ballet.
This takes me back to my initial comments (perhaps overly simplistic) on the Kaufman article. In spite of all the interesting and insightful comments made in this worthwhile discussion, doesn't it all boil down to personal taste? If any of the arguments in this thread uncovered some fundamental "Truth", I certainly remain unconvinced. Isn't this issue nothing more than "I like this type of ballet" whereas someone else "I like that type of ballet"?
miliosr, I may be oversimplifying your view above, but I take from your comment that you prefer ballets with a narrative rather than "abstract/plotless ballet" without a narravite. Terrific. You know what you like. In contrast, I happen to like plotless ballet (that's not to say such ballet has no meaning beyond just a series of steps). That's terrific too. I know what I like.
I bother to post this simple proposition because it hits home for me as I've watched what Peter Boal has done in the 5 years he's led Pacific Northwest Ballet. Full length story ballets have never been my favorites (even the greats such as Swan Lake). That's not to say I don't love story ballets, because I do, but I just prefer a ballet like Agon or In the Middle Somewhat Elevated. Like everyone (I presume) I want a season that includes both, but I prefer a season that emphasizes the plotless over the story ballets. So when it became clear that Boal was moving seasonal programming toward more "modern" ballets as opposed to the Stowell/Russell choices I was used to, I was ecstatic. I found myself more excited by ballet than ever before.
Now here comes the point for me personally. I pretty much go to every post-performance Q&A session when I go to see PNB. I often make comments at these sessions as, of course, do many others. My comments often express my pleasure that such and such a ballet was presented (let's say something like State of Darkness, or perhaps a Dove ballet), but invariably at these Q&A sessions someone else makes a comment to Boal that they are bothered because PNB is not presenting enough story ballets these days. Each time I hear that, I cringe because an irrational fear comes over me that Boal might actually be persuaded by such comments to cut back on the non-traditional stuff. So I want to go in one direction, but someone else wants to go in another direction. Neither of us, of course, is right or wrong.
Perhaps much of this debate reduces down to nothing more than personal taste. (I say....perhaps.)