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Seat advice for NYC Ballet


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8 replies to this topic

#1 shanshan

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 08:38 PM

Hi,

I will be visiting NY and would like to purchase 4 seats for my family to the NY Ballet.

However, I am not familiar with the NY Ballet seating arrangement with the rings? Besides the "sweet seats", which are the best seats? How do Orchestra compare to 1st ring? And how satisfactory are the 2nd ring seats?

I appreciate any advice. Thank you.

#2 carbro

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 09:10 AM

Hi, shanshan, and welcome to BalletTalk.

I'm not sure that anyone can answer you with 100% accuracy, because the theater is still in the process of a major reconstruction, including a total reconfiguration of the orchestra section. I have just looked at the theater's seating plan, and the rings do not appear to have been changed.

"Better" or "worse" seats depends on what you want to see in the performance. I prefer the upper rings, where it is easy to take in the action on the whole stage and see the floor patterns in the choreography, so I would suggest First -- or even better, in my opinion -- Second Rings. One of the famous moments in Nutcracker is when the tree grows, and that is obstructed once you are as high as the Fourth Ring, but you don't seem to be considering that section.

If you are bringing children and cost (except for the "Sweet Seats") is not a factor, the orchestra is probably best for them, unless someone tall is seated in front of a wee one. That's a chance one always takes. :P If I remember correctly, the plan was to increase the rake in the orchestra, so the potential for that problem may have been ameliorated.

The one warning I would offer is to avoid the seats numbered "AA", which are the extreme sides. The view from some (but not all) of those seats is obstructed.

I suppose the best advice I can offer is to call the box office. The staff will be able to help you.

I hope you'll come back to us and share your -- and your companions' -- reactions to the performance.

#3 DeborahB

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 10:30 AM

Shanshan,
I'd like to second Carbro's good advice.
One caveat -- if you do get orchestra seats make sure they are not too close. I'd go for at least 10-12 rows back.
I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time! Enjoy!

#4 shanshan

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 10:44 AM

Thank you very much for the feedback!

I went on another site and they said 1st Ring was best for hearing the Orchestra (ironic I thought). So sounds like I will lean towards 1st rings (compromise between upper rings/orchestra + acoustics) or great Orchestra level seats (may benefit the most from the rennovation?).

#5 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:22 PM

Carbro and DeborahB have given sound advice.

I prefer just about any seat in the first or second ring center sections any seat in the orchestra, even when I don't have my binocs with me. I like to see the choreography from a view higher up and further back than any seat in the orchestra can really provide. The first 10-12 rows of the orchestra are just too close for my taste. Kids might get a charge out of being up close, of course - I know I certainly did when I was little.

The first two rows of the second ring probably offer "the best bang for the buck" and if given the choice, I'd take row A or B of the second ring over row E or F of the first ring.

I went on another site and they said 1st Ring was best for hearing the Orchestra (ironic I thought).


It pains me to say this, but there are evenings when one might actually prefer not to hear the NYCB orchestra. They've gotten better under the direction first of Andrea Quinn and now Fayšal Karoui, but at least once or twice a season they contrive to sound just plain awful. The Koch theater acoustics are famously challenging in any event; I don't think there's any place in the house where they are genuinely good, and I wouldn't base my choice of seats for the ballet on them. When I go to the opera, I do try to avoid the part of the orchestra under the overhang of the rings.

Enjoy the show!

#6 hbl

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 11:09 PM

The first 10-12 rows of the orchestra are just too close for my taste.


To each his own. I ONLY like to sit in the first 5 or 6 rows in the center of the orchestra. I know of others who prefer the first ring (which is even more expensive for some reason I can't fathom). I like to see the dancers up close. I have been sitting there for over 40 years and think it is the most exhilarating place to enjoy the ballet.

In any case if you are going to see the Nutcracker with kids it will be a wondrous experience for everyone.

Enjoy.

#7 Marga

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 02:01 AM

.... I ONLY like to sit in the first 5 or 6 rows in the center of the orchestra. ...... I like to see the dancers up close. I have been sitting there for over 40 years and think it is the most exhilarating place to enjoy the ballet.

I'm with you! In fact, I stopped sitting there over 40 years ago when I moved out of the country! (You took up my mantle!). I had a front row center subscription for years. These days I can't afford tickets in those rows on the occasions when I'm in New York, but when I have the chance to see a rehearsal, that's where I sit. Nothing better, as far as I'm concerned. I've tried close sides and every ring, but I yearn for the very front of the house!

#8 Beatrice

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 02:47 PM

I noticed that you mentioned four tickets for your family. Is it safe to assume that you're bringing kids? If so, I'm sure that you've taken into account their ages and ability to sit calmly through the length of a ballet.

If you're bringing kids (or if any of the adults are petite), I would recommend getting seats in either the first few rows in the orch or the first ring. I'm 5'2 and my enjoyment of many ballets has been dimished a bit by being unable to see in the orchestra. As a rule, I don't sit in orch seats past the tenth row, if I can help it.

In terms of where you will be happiest, it depends what you're looking for. If you enjoy seeing the facial expressions and details, the front of the house is best (though if you are too close, you can sometimes miss a lot of the footwork). If you enjoy seeing the "greater picture", you'll be happier in the rings. The corps is often more satisfying from above.

#9 koshka

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 12:58 PM

I'm with Marga that the very best seats are in the front row. Occasionally I have a fit of cheapness and get tickets elsewhere, and I always regret it.
[My Kennedy Center subscription seats are front and center, and my neighbors and I can't stand sitting anywhere else.]

So...for NYCB: I've only been once recently, but I was very happy to get a front row seat. One feature that was really nice was having a great view of the conductor.
But, as others have said, you should also consider the tastes of your family and your budget.

k


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