Eileen

NYC Ballet Prices

241 posts in this topic

Very interesting comments to Wakin's article (including mine!). Given the marketing mentality at NYCB, I have a great idea for an untapped resource: water! There is a water fountain on the orchestra level which is much used during intermission. Why not turn it into a spigot of money? It should be simple to add a slot for quarters, you put in a quarter, take a cup and a carefully measured 3 ounces of NYCB water pours out. This giving out free water is wasteful and leads to some patrons taking advantage and taking TWO cups of water. Charging just 25 cents a cup will discourage abuse of water resources, and provide a significant financial flow. Imagine the new Peter Martins ballets this will finance! And worth every penny.

Amen--Free water is the scourge of society!! :FIREdevil:

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Very interesting comments to Wakin's article (including mine!). Given the marketing mentality at NYCB, I have a great idea for an untapped resource: water! There is a water fountain on the orchestra level which is much used during intermission. Why not turn it into a spigot of money? It should be simple to add a slot for quarters, you put in a quarter, take a cup and a carefully measured 3 ounces of NYCB water pours out. This giving out free water is wasteful and leads to some patrons taking advantage and taking TWO cups of water. Charging just 25 cents a cup will discourage abuse of water resources, and provide a significant financial flow. Imagine the new Peter Martins ballets this will finance! And worth every penny.

Amen--Free water is the scourge of society!! :FIREdevil:

Triple AMEN - no such thing as free water, and freeloaders have no place in a free-market economy!

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I love the idea of the top ring being for students... But I suppose there need to be chaperones too or things will be damaged? Would be a great use of the top rings and certainly help fill the lower rings with audience 10 years from now

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I love the idea of the top ring being for students... But I suppose there need to be chaperones too or things will be damaged? Would be a great use of the top rings and certainly help fill the lower rings with audience 10 years from now

Well, I was assuming that they would attend in supervised groups, and arrive prepped in advance via some decent curriculum materials like the ones put together by the University of Michigan for their UMS Youth Performance Series.

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mathematics on the water:

3000 people x $0.25 = $750 per performance x 206 performances = $150,000 per year (plus or minus a few people not buying water)

not going to solve a $6million budget. There have been many times when I needed a quick fix of water, and it was lovely to have it for free, because I was either broke, or didn't have any cash - or change - on me at the moment.

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mathematics on the water:

3000 people x $0.25 = $750 per performance x 206 performances = $150,000 per year (plus or minus a few people not buying water)

not going to solve a $6million budget. There have been many times when I needed a quick fix of water, and it was lovely to have it for free, because I was either broke, or didn't have any cash - or change - on me at the moment.

$2.50 to use the ladies room?

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That's really not much, though, when you consider he's been making pieces regularly for the last 35 years. And, if you look at the companies, most of them are "in the family," so to speak. His repertory will die with him.

That may be true, but I've seen a number of pieces that AD's, house choreographers, and dancers have choreographed for their own companies that have never made it to another stage, which is a real shame, because I've looked at them and thought, "That would be perfect for Ballet Arizona. That would be great for PNB dancers. That would be a great addition for Oregon Ballet Theatre. Any number of Professional Division students would look superb in that piece, and it would challenge them."

I was thrilled to see that Kansas City Ballet did Ib Andersen's version of "Romeo and Juliet", because it is beautifully constructed. But that's a rarity.

I often wonder if there's some unspoken "no poach" policy at work.

And the SFB cast I saw in "The Waltz Project" looked wonderful in it.

I would make a distinction between Andersen and Martins. Andersen works in an off-the-beaten-path location and his company tours infrequently. I doubt most company directors have seen his work. Martins has no such excuse. He works at one of the most high-profile companies in the world, which is located in one of the world's dance capitals. Everyone has seen his work . . . and they've voted through their inaction. Peter Boal or Nikolaj Hubbe may throw their former boss a bone every so often but that will be the extent of it. All of which begs the question of why he keeps squandering resources on his own work . . .

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Many of the comments on the Times article are great. I don't know if management will listen.

I just took a look at the pricing and seating chart for 11/12 and am so discouraged. One point is that when the fourth ring was open you could get a decent seat for a low price. Yes you'd be far from the stage but seats somewhat center and not super far up were great. Fourth ring rows A & B were terrific (my favorites) and rows C through E also good (for my viewing, I know others like to sit way back).

Now the cheapest seats are way over on the sides of the 1st & 2nd ring and there doesn't seem to be a lot of them. I'm not going to take a newbie to the ballet and have them sit way over on the side.

One thing mentioned in the Times article was that eliminating the upper sections would have people seated together without a lot of empty sections, to make for a more exciting experience. I and a lot of people I know will be going less. Unless they manage to attract a new audience there will be more empty sections. Maybe they will keep eliminating seats until the performances are done for a few people in prime orchestra and 1st ring who pay a million dollars a ticket.

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Somebody is paying for the water at the State Theater; at least I have a water bill, so I'm guessing NYCB does too. And, no, I am not saying they really should charge for water! Just that they are running quite an expensive operation in ways we never give a thought to.

Basically, I don't think their problem is that they have given too much attention to their bottom line -- it's that their costs are astronomic and they have failed to generate enough revenue to keep up with them no matter what bottom line approaches they have tried.

Martins ballets? Martins' career as a choreographer has been a disappointment to most of us but I assume his ballets cost the company much, much less then hiring outside choreographers each year would do and I have to think that NYCB would have felt like a very different company without regular premiers these past years. Did the company need so many of them? Well...uh...no...

Still, I don't compare Martins' directorship too often to what I would have ideally liked to see, but to what I really feared to see (for an idea, think: Ashton at the Royal Ballet; for another idea imagine a company from which Wheeldon never had the chance to emerge and for which Ratmansky was never invited to do Russian Seasons). So he looks better to me than to others. I also think that Whelan at least may have benefited from the attention given to her in his works early in her career. It's harder for me to speak about other dancers because I did not see the company often enough...

Anyway, I think everyone is bummed by the new plans on ticket prices--including me. But I most certainly believe that the company has a real problem -- that it's not a fiction or an excuse to give up on its audience.

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To me, this entire thread is major deja vu. Three years ago, Boston Ballet did the same thing NYCB is doing. First BB subscriptions/ticketing restricted and/or closed the Upper Mezz/Balcony sections at the Wang Center (I was very upset about that), then BB was forced to move to a smaller venue (for many reasons, not just lost ticket revenue), and now, even at their 'new home' at the Opera House, the upper reaches are often restricted or priced to oblivion. (So much so, that I informed them that it was cheaper for me to pay for 8hr RT bus/train to NYC, and go to NYCB or upper altitude seats/standing room at ABT, than it was to attend BB!) I prefer elevation at the ballet, but elevation in altitude rather than prices.

Despite my 'reservations', however, BB has had good years fiscally. This may be due to choice of repertoire (though I am not a fan of Jormo Elo at all), or the fact that the Opera House is at least 1000 seats smaller than the Wang Center was and so easier to fill. BB, too, used the argument of a more "intimate" seating/venue for audiences to sell the move to the Opera House.

Lately, I've also tried to economize by choice of location for transportation: I've started driving the 40min to Hartford because, even with more expensive parking & gas prices, I save $15 every trip than if I took the bus/train from Mass., and don't have to rush from matinees in order to catch the last ride home.

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Basically, I don't think their problem is that they have given too much attention to their bottom line -- it's that their costs are astronomic and they have failed to generate enough revenue to keep up with them no matter what bottom line approaches they have tried.

This is the true issue. They don't have a revenue problem, exactly -- they have a cost problem. They have a huge roster of dancers who command very high salaries/benefits in relation to the rest of the field in the United States. They have large pension costs associated with former company members. They have a very expensive orchestra. Unless they go to the unions with hat in hand and ask for concessions, they're stuck with choices like the price increases. They can't keep making purges like the Massacre of 2009 or hope that principal dancers will keep retiring in large numbers and remain viable artistically.

Martins ballets? Martins' career as a choreographer has been a disappointment to most of us but I assume his ballets cost the company much, much less then hiring outside choreographers each year would do and I have to think that NYCB would have felt like a very different company without regular premiers these past years. Did the company need so many of them? Well...uh...no...

The New York City Ballet sees itself as an engine of choreographic innovation. Yet, in the almost-30 years since Balanchine died, how many of those new commissions have endured in repertory? You're right that the company might feel like a very different company without the premieres. But maybe it is time for them to revisit that sense of self in difficult economic times? In other words, focus on your core mission (Balanchine) and forget about all of these second, third and fourth-rate commissions.

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I received a letter from NYCB directed to Fourth Ring Society. They say that the "new program will give you similar but broader access throughout the house." If by "broader access throughout the house" they mean those seats over on the extreme sides, NO THANKS!! Why not just close the 4th ring and make 3rd ring the new 4th ring?

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I received a letter from NYCB directed to Fourth Ring Society. They say that the "new program will give you similar but broader access throughout the house." If by "broader access throughout the house" they mean those seats over on the extreme sides, NO THANKS!! Why not just close the 4th ring and make 3rd ring the new 4th ring?

This.

From Daniel Watkins' New York Times article:

The move is part of a strategy of changing ticket prices and limiting access to certain parts of the theater to help consolidate its audience in the orchestra and lower rings for less-than-full performances. This move will eliminate scattered pockets of people and create a more "vibrant performance atmosphere," the company said. [emphasis mine]

I think it speaks volumes about NYCB's artistic bankruptcy that someone in the company's administration is actually arguing with a straight face that eliminating a huge block of good seats so that they can force more of the audience to sit in poor seats (and that's what those far side seats are) will somehow "create a more vibrant performance atmosphere." What marketing consultant came up with that one?

I could see them raising the prices of the good seats in the 3rd and 4th rings by some reasonable amount and at the same time dropping the prices of the poor seats in the orchestra and lower rings by a greater percentage in the hopes of squeezing a little more revenue out of ticket sales and perhaps persuading some folks to move further down in the house. And better seats should cost more than poorer seats, But arguing that this will somehow enhance the audience's performance experience? That's about the most self-serving argument I've heard this week.

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I wish they'd have a club you could join where you buy one, get X at half price... I often try to bring someone new to ballet with me... Its going to be pretty nigh impossible with the new prices... If they really want to grow their audience, they need to start to think about those of us who do such things....

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I don't have an answer to NYCB's financial problems, or any arts organization for that matter. But I can say with certainty that closing the Fourth Ring is not it.

I find it odd that one can still purchase a 4th Ring Society Membership on the NYCB website. Why haven't they removed this page from their website?

I had a friend who was a faithful NYCB subscriber. She always purchased two extra tickets and would invite different people to join her throughout the season. After she died, her daughters kept only one of her subscriptions and then split it between the two of them. They complained that the subscription was too expensive. The sad part is that the daughters are both millionaires, so I suppose it's a question of priorities.

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I received my brochure and was surprised that the heavily promoted man of the Spring was omitted. The overall marketing scheme really becomes confusing in that light.

I like the stylish brochure and photographs but it would not encourage my attendance or parting with scarce dollars.

Does the ballet interact with dance schools or dance stores to sell tickets or create special events?

I agree, and have stated elsewhere, that students should be permitted to fill empty seats. This would accomplish the goal of improving the experience, which someone above stated was a goal in closing upper rings, by letting dancers knowing they are not performing to an empty theater.

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I wish they'd have a club you could join where you buy one, get X at half price... I often try touring someone knew to ballet with me... Its going tobe pretty nigh impossible with the new prices... If they really want to grow their audience, they need to start to think about those of us who do such things....

What a great idea. You pay a fee and after that have unlimited buy on get one at half price. I'd do that. I vote for Amy Reusch as the head of marketing for NYCB.

Again my prediction is that they will block off more and more sections until the 1st row of orchestra is the only one available and go for a million a ticket.

Is there any word on how Peter Martins feels about this ticket policy?

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I think that the generous Mr. Koch should fill the theater with his friends. Every night.

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I think that the generous Mr. Koch should fill the theater with his friends. Every night.

Indeed - how many times has that ballet loving Mr. Koch been to see NYCB?

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No solution to this pricing problem except to bid adieu to Jenny, Sara, Teresa, Chase, Sterling, Joaquin, and company, pass by the enticing Lincoln Center posters, and save my pennies toward something meaningful to me. Something more constructive than mourning, futilely, what is a fait accompli,namely, City Ballet policy. I will cherish the memories of Balanchine and Robbins, and put my energies toward saving for a visit to a foreign country, where I have not been since my student days at University. This is healthier than dwelling on the past. The future beckons me!

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Agreed. My experience with marketing/corporate decisions like this is that they will prevail since they are purely data and formula driven. Whether they are successful or not remain to be seen. It is a new world, the NYCB is taking a new diretion, and is no longer affordable to me since I would like to have a decent view if I attend and that costs too much. To all those who can still afford to go I wish many years of continued enjoyment. I myself am moving on.

Cheers!

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Agreed. My experience with marketing/corporate decisions like this is that they will prevail since they are purely data and formula driven. Whether they are successful or not remain to be seen. It is a new world, the NYCB is taking a new diretion, and is no longer affordable to me since I would like to have a decent view if I attend and that costs too much. To all those who can still afford to go I wish many years of continued enjoyment. I myself am moving on.

Cheers!

Thank you, Trini, for your validation. Every time I pass a poster for a concert or performance I'd like to attend, I note the price point for the seat I'd like, then I transfer that amount from my checking account to my savings account in order to save up for my foreign trip next year. This gives me something positive to think about, a project, a goal and a dream that I can make come true.

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Gelb at the Metropolitan Opera also did a somewhat radical rethinking of pricing, but in a way that actually makes good seats available to more people. There was a lot of grumbling at first, but the result is the auditorium is quite full most nights, top to bottom. (This is based purely on my personal observation--I'm typically there about once a week--not on any statistics I have at hand.) It seems like NYCB is just giving up. Instead of doing the work of trying to get more people into the seats, they've chosen a route that might very possibly reduce the size of the audience even further, all in order to enhance an *illusion* of there being more people.

Count me among those who would rather sit center in the fourth ring than on the far sides of the orchestra, and the irritation factor alone of being forced to do that might make me go less often.

It would be fantastic if NYCB could get a donor to recreate at the State Theater the rush ticket program the Met has, where any remaining orchestra seats in the orchestra go on sale two hours before the performance for $20.

Anthony

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Maybe they could stream the season on internet or cable and offer a subscription. That is how sports teams make their money.

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Maybe they could stream the season on internet or cable and offer a subscription. That is how sports teams make their money.

City Ballet is investigating Ballet in Cinema as such a vehicle for select performances.

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