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PNB Launches a New Website Design


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#1 Helene

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 09:43 PM

PNB's website has just changed to a more modern design:

http://www.pnb.org/

I can't find the amazon.com search box anymore. (Because I manage the Ballet Talk amazon.com commission account, nothing I buy is credited to Ballet Talk :thumbsup:; I purchased through the PNB site instead.) The website change has to be very recent, since I used the old site to buy a Kindle book very recently.

The rosters are updated (without any promotions, which Peter Boal said in a Q&A would be announced the week before the start of the season. He also said there wouldn't been a gala excerpts program this year.) Louise Nadeau is no longer on the roster, Ezra Thompson is listed as the sole apprentice, and at least several of last season's apprentices are in the corps: Andrew Bartee, Kyle Davis, and Sean Rollofson are the men. Without last year's program, I can't remember which of Amanda Clark, Emma Love, Margaret Mullin, Leah O'Connor, Abby Relic, and Carli Samuelson were corps and which were apprentices, but they are all corps for next season. I now understand the bio info on the website: Amanda Clark, Emma Love, and Margaret Mullin are the women who were promoted from apprentice to corps.

As background for the dancers and artistic directors (current and emeritus) are black and white clips of rehearsals.

By clicking on the photograph, there is a bio for each dancer, with featured and leading roles listed, and a tab for a photo gallery.

The new site looks great!

#2 SandyMcKean

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 10:18 PM

This was certainly hush-hush.....or was I the only one who didn't know this was underway??

The new seating chart is a vast improvement (and looks as if PNB might be heading toward the sort of seat-by-seat interactive internet-based ticket purchase system that the Seattle Symphony and the Seattle Opera have).

#3 Helene

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 10:24 PM

If I remember correctly, it was PNB that sent out a questionnaire about the old website. I assumed changes would be coming, but I didn't realize that it would be this quickly.

#4 kfw

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 05:45 AM

I like the new look, but it doesn't display right in the browser I usually use, Opera. The logo displays over the links on the left, other links display scrunched in between the regular text, and on some pages some of the letters display only partially, like they would on a typewriter with an ink ribbon in need of replacement.

#5 Helene

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 06:07 AM

I would not be surprised if most new websites were built to be compatible with three browsers which make up the vast majority of the market: Internet Explorer (7 & 8), Safari, including for iPhone, and Firefox. Sometimes it's a deliberate decision, as testing and development are cost-prohibitive for the last x% who use other browsers exclusively, sometimes testing and/or development for other browsers is postponed until after the launch, and sometimes there's an intention of getting to it, but it ends up in V.Never.

#6 bart

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 08:36 AM

I really like the chance to preview the performance with a video clip. (However, the clip for R&J was so heavily devoted to closeups that you couldn't get much of an idea of the dancing.)

#7 Helene

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 08:45 AM

(However, the clip for R&J was so heavily devoted to closeups that you couldn't get much of an idea of the dancing.)

(Resist temptation to respond. Resist temptation to respond :blink:)

#8 SandyMcKean

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 09:38 AM

I won't resist :blink:.

I'm going to look past the "camera angles" question. One can certainly debate how a video director "ought" to capture a ballet performance, and I can see differenct folks taking different POVs. But here is the my take on why the R&J video is all closeups......MARKETING.

From nearly the day Peter Boal got to PNB, he has been interested in increasing the numbers of the younger generation who go to the ballet on a regular basis. I can't state this as fact because I've never talked to him about it, but there are lots of signs that this is one of his objectives (however, I did once talk to a PNB board member who said as much). I think he has systematically sacrificed things the "older" patrons prefer in an attempt to interest "younger" patrons. His program choices speak volumes that this is so (and I've heard Boal defend his program choices to the complaints that PNB no longer does enough "traditional" ballet, especially traditional choreographed story ballets).

So the R&J video characteristics, I believe, are a direct attempt to appeal to the younger set. To intice them into thinking that ballet is perhaps not just what they had always thought it to be. Such at least is my speculation.

#9 Helene

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 10:30 AM

Alright, I won't either then :blink:

While I think Maillot's "Romeo et Juliette" is very good theater -- I would rather watch it 1000 times before seeing the Macmillan again -- the choreography isn't that great -- although I would rather watch it 1000 times before seeing the Macmillan again -- and the choice of clips was good marketing strategy in more ways than one, and not only to the new target audience.

#10 sandik

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 10:51 AM

The new website is indeed a surprise, I didn't get any notice of a change through the usual channels.

On first browse, it seems pretty good. I really don't like the teal -- it looks too much like the Seahawks uniform color to me (Seattle pro football team) And the images are a bit too wide for my monitor size. But those are probably just me.

In the section on history and company structure:

They've updated the standard company bio and made sure to acknowledge the early players (Janet Reed, Lew Christensen, Leon Kalimos, Melissa Hayden). I didn't click through to the PDF file, so don't know if that's been re-written as well. They've changed the repertory to an "active" list, which I assume means works that we might consider fair game for programming, which means if you want a list of stuff they've done and dropped you need to go back through your own files. They've included the PNB premiere dates, which is really helpful if you're writing about the history of a work in the company, but it's organized alphabetically by title instead of choreographer, so if you want to check to see if a particular artist is part of the group you have to page through it line by line (I know this seems like a small detail to most people, but it's something I do regularly, so I notice...) I'll have to go back and do some more looking around to see who's now missing in action.

And they've got their financial stuff on the site: annual report, audited financial report and IRS 990. Haven't looked at them yet, but that's a very nice feature.

#11 SandyMcKean

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 12:22 PM

OK Helene....... :D: :) :P

I get it (I think). You see BT'ers, Helene and I just love to talk PNB and all else ballet....and we do so often. We don't always agree of course. One of the main reasons we sometimes disagree is that my tastes are less, shall we say, informed :), than hers. I absolutely love, love, love Maillot's R&J, and damned be that it may not meet certain standards of choreography. Helene, OTOH, has the most refined ballet (and opera) tastes of anyone I know.

Helene is just far too polite to tell me that I don't know what the hell I'm looking at :blink:. I, OTOH, am working on getting her to let her heart rule her mind from time to time. (Give me time BT'ers......her mind is a formitable challenge given its incredibly high quality.)

#12 Helene

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 12:37 PM

. I, OTOH, am working on getting her to let her heart rule her mind from time to time.

(Oh, that could get ugly :blink:)

I just don't like Sturm und Drang. I'm never going to like the Friar bits, which remind me of Eifman.

By the way, I agree 100% about the new seating charts. The old ones were impossible to decipher, given how many pricing sections there are.

#13 sandik

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 03:17 PM

I'm never going to like the Friar bits, which remind me of Eifman.


Thank you for putting your finger on it. I know that it's a very satisfying role to dance, and I'm interested in how the emphasis on that part (using him as a framing device for the story as a whole) influences the construction of the ballet, but there are moments in the choreography that do feel way over the top, and, yes, very like Eifman.

Kitten with a whip.

#14 bart

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 04:44 PM

So the R&J video characteristics, I believe, are a direct attempt to appeal to the younger set. To entice them into thinking that ballet is perhaps not just what they had always thought it to be.

I can understand the wish implicit in this marketing campaign. But let's imagine that this hypothetical young marketing target -- a software design prodigy perhaps -- IS attracted by the video and buys a ticket. He (let's call him "he") gets to the theater, takes his seat, and suddenly realizes that it is not really possible to get 2 feet from Juliet's face. :pinch: Those people far away on stage are ALIVE. :blink: AND there are no big screens at the side of the stage to help him out. :huh:

Moral: some good ideas don't turn out the way you planned. :o

#15 PeggyR

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 05:58 PM

I like the new look, but it doesn't display right in the browser I usually use, Opera.

It's a good-looking, user-friendly website, and it looks fine on Safari; however, the website is driving my Symantic Anti-[whatever] crazy. Every time I click on a 2010 season ballet, I get dire warnings of 'possible fraud'. I keep telling Symantic -- It's OK, really, it's OK; they're a ballet company; ballet companies commit bad choreography, not fraud" -- but they just won't listen. :pinch:


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