Eileen

NYC Ballet Prices

241 posts in this topic

I am getting ready to stop posting on these boards because everything I say gets twisted. In this case, I did not say that fans in the last row are not the true fans. I said the assumption that the true fans only are in the back is false. When I was young, I had very little money - not even enough for food. I saved money, worked extra jobs, and then stayed on line for three days (at an additional cost, due to lost time at work and school) to obtain tickets to see my favorite band. I made sacrifices to get my ticket. The person in the last row did not make the same sacrifices. When I started working full time, I could not make the same time sacrifices, but knew that I could not get a good ticket without waiting on line, so I paid a large premium to a scalper to obtain the best possible seats. I sacrificed other things to have the money to pay the premium. Therefore, to put someone in the last row in a seat in front of me, on the assumption that the person in the last row was a poor but more interested or dedicated viewer, was inaccurate. The ballerina who is taught that people in the front are not true fans is being misdirected. I obtained my front row seat or my orchestra seat by making choices and placing a priority on the orchestra seat in lieu of other things on which I could spend my money. I made sure I called the theatre as soon as tickets went on sale so I could obtain the best seat available, making choices as to my schedule on the day I had to buy tickets. The sacrifices and choices I made may not have been made by someone with a last row ticket. Therefore, having a last row ticket does not demonstrate devotion. (It does not demonstrate a lack of devotion, either. If you take it that way, you are misinterpreting me.)

Please do continue to post. I understand your position perfectly. Everyone has different priorities and it's mistaken to think someone in a poor seat is more devoted than someone in the front row.

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Puppytreats please don't stop posting. I have felt my words were twisted too so I know how you feel. I understand your point better now. Perhaps we could agree that where one sits has no bearing on one's degree of fan-dom. Ardent ballet fans are all over the house front and back.

I just know that my ballet budget can't be extended any further, so if prices go up in the fourth ring I will be at that many fewer performances and there will be an empty seat where there could have been one very happy balletgoer.

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"I only know I will miss it intensely."

I wrote that yesterday. I have lost love, lost spaghetti and lost creamy cookies, and lost weight. The love I missed intensely eventually turned to indifference as I rebuilt my life. The spaghetti and creamy cookies I don't miss at all, as I have lost a lot of weight. My point is, intensely missing something is a temporary reaction to loss, and I will temporarily miss NYC Ballet. Then loss will turn to indifference as I take up new activities.

I look forward to hearing from the executives of NYCBallet to my quite temperate letter about the Strike.

Don't hold your breath waiting for that reply. I mailed a letter to Karen Girty, Director of Marketing, with a copy to Peter Martins, on June 2 and have not received a response yet. I mailed a copy of the same letter to Katherine Brown on June 15. I also e-mailed Kate Taylor at the NY Times after she wrote her Arts, Briefly item about the new prices. She's curious about whether or not subscribers are renewing.

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Don't hold your breath waiting for that reply. I mailed a letter to Karen Girty, Director of Marketing, with a copy to Peter Martins, on June 2 and have not received a response yet. I mailed a copy of the same letter to Katherine Brown on June 15. I also e-mailed Kate Taylor at the NY Times after she wrote her Arts, Briefly item about the new prices. She's curious about whether or not subscribers are renewing.

I will contact Daniel Wakin at the Times tomorrow and ask if he'd like to do a column on audience reaction to the new pricing policy. This thread already has almost a thousand views, which shows a lot of interest in the subject. He would be able to interview City Ballet executives.

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Puppytreats please don't stop posting.

Ardent ballet fans are all over the house front and back.

I just know that my ballet budget can't be extended any further, so if prices go up in the fourth ring I will be at that many fewer performances and there will be an empty seat where there could have been one very happy balletgoer.

Hi puppytreats. Don't stop posting. The only point we were trying to make is that committed fans sometimes have poor seating locations. Thank you for clarifying your point.

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Puppytreats please don't stop posting.

Ardent ballet fans are all over the house front and back.

I just know that my ballet budget can't be extended any further, so if prices go up in the fourth ring I will be at that many fewer performances and there will be an empty seat where there could have been one very happy balletgoer.

Hi puppytreats. Don't stop posting. The only point we were trying to make is that committed fans sometimes have poor seating locations. Thank you for clarifying your point.

Agreed - please don't stop posting. We all have our ticket buying habits/restrictions. Ballet fans can be found in all sections.

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And please don't forget those of us who live far from such ballet-rich localities as New York City. You have such a big and varied ballet menu to choose from.

Most of us (even when we have excellent and artistically ambitious local companies like Miami or Pacific Northwest, Arizona or Boston) get only 4-6 different programs a year, performed 3 - 10 times per venue. International guest artists are a rarity..

Going to the ballet costs a lot here too, though not of course as much as in New York City. On the other hand, we have less of it, which imposes a kind of Forced Savings Plan on us. (Kind of like war-time rationing.)

One of the difficulties of ticket buying in NYC is, essentially, TOO MANY CHOICES. We should ALL have a problem like that..:wink:

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I am new to this forum and am glad I found it. I am a very long time 3rd ring NYCB subscriber and my subscrition price is increasing 75%! It is about the only thing (apart from health care) that has increased this much in recent memory. So I cannot afford to attend NYCB anymore after 20 plus years. I realize that ballet is expensive to produce but as a fan I sat in seats now deemed the worst (based on current pricing) at the same price as the best seats and worked my way up as the years went by. An increase I understand ($10 at most per year) but 75%? I also do not understand why the prices were not sent with the first mailing and the need to call in. Then just got a second mailing with a long letter of explanation which was, in my opinion, just a post hoc way of trying to appease angry subscribers. angry not at the need for some increase, but for the way it was handled, and the unjust manner of the increase. By the way, the reasons in the letter for the drastic increases in 3rd and 4th ring appear to be a try to come up with reasons and were illogical. It is clear that NYCB is now angling for patronage from only a higher income level of persons, and time for me to explore other happenings in my local area. I enjoyed going to the NYCB ballet, may still go off and on, treasured seeing wonderful dancers and especially the Balanchine ballets in their home company, but this has opened up an opportunity for me to move on.

Cheers!

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I just got off the phone with Dan Wakin of the New York Times. I had written him on the subject of City Ballet price increases, and he is preparing an article on the subject for the Times. Keep an eye out for his article!

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Dan Wakin told me City Ballet is phasing out the use of the 3rd and 4th ring - in effect closing them. Apparently they were not filling their house. They will only open the third and fourth ring for certain performances - I guess for the big sellers, like Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Romeo & Juliet. That is NEWS.

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Dan Wakin told me City Ballet is phasing out the use of the 3rd and 4th ring - in effect closing them. Apparently they were not filling their house. They will only open the third and fourth ring for certain performances - I guess for the big sellers, like Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Romeo & Juliet. That is NEWS.

So they are trying to limit the supply of seats, thereby (theoretically) increasing demand (and ticket prices) for the seats they are willing to sell. Get rid of the cheaper seats (fourth ring) and suddenly everyone will be willing to buy expensive seats elsewhere in the house. Not happening, folks. I know they are touting all these $26 seat locations, but in reality there are very, very few such seats, and a good deal of them are in bizarro obstructed/horrible view locations. I guess I will be "phasing out" my attendance at NYCB.

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Dan Wakin told me City Ballet is phasing out the use of the 3rd and 4th ring - in effect closing them. Apparently they were not filling their house. They will only open the third and fourth ring for certain performances - I guess for the big sellers, like Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Romeo & Juliet. That is NEWS.

So they are trying to limit the supply of seats, thereby (theoretically) increasing demand (and ticket prices) for the seats they are willing to sell. I guess I will be phasing out my attendance at NYCB.

They are trying to fill the house, and it was I guess demoralizing to see swaths of empty seats. I called the subscription department and the lady very patiently explained to me exactly which rows of the orchestra constituted which price sections. She said diplomatically that they are reserving certain sections of orchestra and 1st and 2nd ring (the least desirable seats in my interpretation) at low prices - $49 - so the 3rd and 4th ring subscribers can move down. I think single ticket buyers are very disadvantaged by this system, as our prices are going up substantially.

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I am new to this forum and am glad I found it. I am a very long time 3rd ring NYCB subscriber and my subscrition price is increasing 75%! It is about the only thing (apart from health care) that has increased this much in recent memory. So I cannot afford to attend NYCB anymore after 20 plus years. I realize that ballet is expensive to produce but as a fan I sat in seats now deemed the worst (based on current pricing) at the same price as the best seats and worked my way up as the years went by. An increase I understand ($10 at most per year) but 75%? I also do not understand why the prices were not sent with the first mailing and the need to call in. Then just got a second mailing with a long letter of explanation which was, in my opinion, just a post hoc way of trying to appease angry subscribers. angry not at the need for some increase, but for the way it was handled, and the unjust manner of the increase. By the way, the reasons in the letter for the drastic increases in 3rd and 4th ring appear to be a try to come up with reasons and were illogical. It is clear that NYCB is now angling for patronage from only a higher income level of persons, and time for me to explore other happenings in my local area. I enjoyed going to the NYCB ballet, may still go off and on, treasured seeing wonderful dancers and especially the Balanchine ballets in their home company, but this has opened up an opportunity for me to move on.

Cheers!

You have perfectly expressed my own feelings. Time for me to move on. Balanchine ballet has nourished my soul for many years, but it is now too expensive for me. I think I will explore chamber music next season.

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Like many of you, I have been a loyal NYCB fan -- to the point of being exclusive -- for many years. My mother started taking me when I was 6 to City Center, and after moving back to NYC in the late 70's, I started going a few times a season ("Oh boy! Three performances! How extravagant!")

I learned about the fourth ring "AA" seats overhearing someone on the single tickets line, back in the days when the line would form very early in the a.m. the first day the Box Office opened. Some years (especially when Barishnikov was there) someone would give out numbers, so you could go get coffee while waiting for the Box Office to open.

In the 80's and 90's I went 3 to 4 times a week. When the 4th Ring society came into existence, things were a bit brighter. But I haven't been able to go as frequently for a long time now, especially since I moved out of town.

BUT STILL..... when the beauty of Balanchine (especially) has infected your soul, there's nothing that can substitute. I have long defined my passion as an addiction: I get "high" going, and I go through "withdrawal" when the Company is not dancing.... and now it looks like I'll be going cold turkey because I won't be able to cough up what it takes to get a "fix."

Someone emailed me the link to the Administration names on the website. But guess what, NO LINKS, NO EMAIL ADDRESSES!! Sure makes it seem as if they don't want to hear what we have say (good or bad)!

Here it is, just for the record: http://www.nycballet.com/company/personnel/administration.html

I can't decide whether to be angry or depressed.

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It's sad to hear this - and makes me realize how disconnected I have been from that reality for a while.

When I was a dance student, the reason I went to NYCB so much was because I could afford it. I wouldn't have the job I have today without that access - writing about the very company that is unwittingly cutting off a future generation of artists and writers.

Fall for Dance packs its house because the ticket prices are affordable. Dancers' Choice sells out in part because of the low seat prices. Even revenue on the Boston T went up when they lowered the price instead of raising it.

NYCB was originally aligned with Morton Baum - and is in the State Theater, as a "people's theater" with accessible prices. I recognize that fiscal responsibility is an issue, but a ballet company's product is the development of culture, not ticket sales. If you start making the first responsibility to make a profit, pretty soon the art is going to look that way as well, with no risks and no experimentation, except what seems trendy enough to be commercially viable.

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Someone emailed me the link to the Administration names on the website. But guess what, NO LINKS, NO EMAIL ADDRESSES!! Sure makes it seem as if they don't want to hear what we have say (good or bad)!

Here it is, just for the record: http://www.nycballet.com/company/personnel/administration.html

I can't decide whether to be angry or depressed.

There is a "Contact Us" at the very bottom of the page. It opens to the following page (an email address, street address, and lots of 'important' phone numbers):

Contact NYCB

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Dan Wakin told me City Ballet is phasing out the use of the 3rd and 4th ring - in effect closing them. Apparently they were not filling their house. They will only open the third and fourth ring for certain performances - I guess for the big sellers, like Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Romeo & Juliet. That is NEWS.

Pacific Northwest Ballet started to do this a couple of years ago, particularly for the triple bills that weren't selling like the full-lengths. I'm not sure if they did it this past season, because I saw at least a couple of performances from the Second Tier (the highest in the house).

She said diplomatically that they are reserving certain sections of orchestra and 1st and 2nd ring (the least desirable seats in my interpretation) at low prices - $49 - so the 3rd and 4th ring subscribers can move down. I think single ticket buyers are very disadvantaged by this system, as our prices are going up substantially.

I think this was PNB's intent as well -- to move the subscribers down, so that the bottom of the house would be filled.

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An article in today's Wall Street Journal highlights the long term benefits of loyalty and the negative effects of infidelity, both in marriage and at work. I draw a parallel to our relationship with NYC Ballet - many of us have long term loyalty to the company, and the raising of prices of single tickets is to me an act of betrayal of trust, of infidelity. It is healthy to stay with one long term relationship, and NYCB has added so much to my life. But I can no longer afford it. See the Wall Street Journal article at:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304887904576397801582783690.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsSecond

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Let's see. Premium orchestra seats at the Met can go for more than $200-300 depending on location. Lower box seats at a Yankees game go for more than that. Top tickets to Wicked are over $300 at the box office. Other top broadway show orchestra seats run $150-175. So the most expensive ticket at City Ballet goes for $119 for a subscriber, or $149 for single sale. Considering all that, I feel City Ballet is a good investment for seeing a world-renown performing arts company.

Let me ask you - how many times can you watch Wiched or the same broadway show. Over my 10 year in NYC, and probably over 15 broadway shows sees, only Phantom is the only one i've seen twice, and Chicago may be on a list of repeats.

HOWEVER, as a NYC dweller, i refuse to pay the full price for broadway, with tons of promotions and corporate discounts offered i never paid the full price. And Baseball? - isn't it a billion dollar industry - one doesn't think of billion dollar industries when it comes to arts. And MET has standing section, where you can get (yes a standing "Seat" sounds funny) for $20-35.

I am happy that you can afford your increased subscription... But i FEEL the pain of everyone posting here...

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There is a "Contact Us" at the very bottom of the page. It opens to the following page (an email address, street address, and lots of 'important' phone numbers):

Contact NYCB

Thanks, Marga -- I looked, and it IS there, in a very, very pale shade of grey..... and the list has only titles, and phone numbers no names, , no email addresses and no administrators. I don't consider it particularly helpful. Of course, may corporate websites are notoriously dense and obfuscate these issues as well.

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Let's see. Premium orchestra seats at the Met can go for more than $200-300 depending on location.

Very true, but the Met hasn't collapsed their pricing scheme into a narrow range.

I just subscription brochure and the MEt is still selling Family Circle tickets for a subscription price of $25 (except on Saturdays) Single ticket sales may be a bit higher. But the MEt is giving their audience plenty of options from those who can afford the $350 seats and want a really good view and those with really tight budgets who have the choice of "cheap seat" or "no seat".

Shame on NYCB. If they didn't program so many substandard pieces, they might sell more tickets and not have hundred's of seats empty. How did the Balanchine black and white sell, huh? Maybe that should give a hint to the artistic administration.

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Shame on NYCB. If they didn't program so many substandard pieces, they might sell more tickets and not have hundred's of seats empty. How did the Balanchine black and white sell, huh? Maybe that should give a hint to the artistic administration.

I took advantage of a discount program to get seats to black & white at $55. I know when repertoire is not going to sell at retail.

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When Balanchine ballets are presented by every high school (or ballet school) in the land, they will be able to charge Broadway prices. This is essentially what they have going for Nutcracker.

I'd really love to see them charge 1970s prices 6 months in advance, 1980s prices 5 months in advance, 1990 prices 4 months in advance, 2000 prices 3 months in advance, 2011 prices 2 months in advance and scalper prices the week of... With student rush for the under 27 the day of.... Seems like this would reward loyalty and fill the house while building buzz and maintaining some degree of exclusivity for those who thrive on that.

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When Balanchine ballets are presented by every high school (or ballet school) in the land, they will be able to charge Broadway prices. This is essentially what they have going for Nutcracker.

I'd really love to see them charge 1970s prices 6 months in advance, 1980s prices 5 months in advance, 1990 prices 4 months in advance, 2000 prices 3 months in advance, 2011 prices 2 months in advance and scalper prices the week of... With student rush for the under 27 the day of.... Seems like this would reward loyalty and fill the house while building buzz and maintaining some degree of exclusivity for those who thrive on that.

You reminded me of a golden moment in my younger life, when I was in college and could not afford to sit in the orchestra. I was standing in line before the performance for a ticket, and a stranger offered me without charge an orchestra ticket she couldn't use. It was for the shockingly expensive price of $20. This was probably around 1981-82. I was so grateful. Imagine - $20 for an orchestra ticket 30 years ago!

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The Yankees, like all major league baseball teams, play 162 games in a regular season, half of which are at home and all of which are televised. Yankee Stadium seats 50,000 (52,000 if you count standing room), so I don't think scarcity really explains the ticket prices at Yankee stadium. Even a seat at the tip-top of the grandstand will set you back $30.

The sad fact is, live events are expensive -- even when a lucrative television contract provides a substantial subsidy!

Although ... you can see some mighty fine dance (and bona-fide downtown dance stars) for next-to-nothing at venues like Dance Theater Workshop or, for a little bit more than next-to-nothing, at venues like the Joyce. You'll likely get recorded music and minimal sets and costumes, and yes, sometimes the choreography is just plain awful. But it can be just plain awful at Lincoln Center too ...

- I don't think this strategy has proven successful in baseball. Stadiums are routinely empty. Major revenue derives from television broadcasts. Expensive seating permits corporations or the very wealthy to buy the good seats to the exclusion of average or poorer individual fans. This way, the best seats can be obtained without competition, and interaction can be limited. These decisions occurred before the recession. Major discounts followed after the initial failure when new stadiums opened and were left with empty seats. Therefore, pricing in the sports arena does not serve as a valid or good comparison.

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