Eileen

NYC Ballet Prices

241 posts in this topic

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

Great idea.

Good luck with the Balanchine people, the unions, etc., who have up to this point borne a great deal of responsibility for the relative invisibility of NYCB in the video market. Maybe, at last, all the "interested parties" will realize that they only gain when they make their art available to a larger public without burdening the transaction with all sorts of fees and conditions.

Speaking of a larger public, I hope that NYCB will try to obtain the largest feasible network of theaters. Fandango seems to have been doing a decent job of getting good national coverage for the Mariinsky Giselle in July. The Met's HD/Live program sets the gold standard for national publicity.

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

Great idea.

Good luck with the Balanchine people, the unions, etc., who have up to this point borne a great deal of responsibility for the relative invisibility of NYCB in the video market. Maybe, at last, all the "interested parties" will realize that they only gain when they make their art available to a larger public without burdening the transaction with all sorts of fees and conditions.

Speaking of a larger public, I hope that NYCB will try to obtain the largest feasible network of theaters. Fandango seems to have been doing a decent job of getting good national coverage for the Mariinsky Giselle in July. The Met's HD/Live program sets the gold standard for national publicity.

The broadcasted operas seem to end up on PBS, too.

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I decided to renew my 3rd Ring subscription but at the lowest price point available out of a love for the dancers and most of the choreography. I hope others will join me "on the fringe." I figure that at least eight times during the 11/12 season the 3rd Ring will be open and since the company won't want me to feel like I'm sitting in a "sparsely populated" section and not having a "vibrant audience experience" the marketing department will have to work to fill the rest of the seats (discounts on TDF, at the Atrium, High Five, Goldstar, senior centers; whoever would really spend $129 per ticket?). What a waste of their time, money and effort when, had they set reasonable renewal increases, they could have a good part of their work done for them by satisfied subscribers who would be happy to renew.

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I am also feeling “priced out” of NYCB performances now. Unlike many other posters, I am relatively new to ballet watching. Over the past year, I saw about a dozen performances not because I’m a big NYCB fan, but because I was determined to learn more about NYCB and broaden my ballet horizons. And a big reason that I was willing to do that was because I could get reasonably-priced good seats in the front and center of the fourth ring (and sometimes the third ring if I had a discount). Under the new pricing scheme, however, I don’t think I’m willing to pay so much to sample ballets I’ve never seen before and am not sure I’ll like.

For comparison, a number of other cultural institutions offer great discounts for younger patrons, something NYCB might want to consider if they want to attract new, younger audience members.

ABT, for one, has a fantastic deal—if you’re under 30 and buy 3 or more performances, the tickets are $30 each and they are good seats in the Orchestra (Orchestra balance and rear). That’s like 3 for the price of 1! And you get exchange privileges too. Thanks to this program, not only have I seen a ton of performances, but I’ve also been able to convince many of my ballet-newbie friends to see a few. “Well, I don’t know if I’ll like ballet, but it’s only $30 each? Ok, why not!”

The NY Philharmonic has a similar program—if you’re under 35, buy 3 or more (selected) performances, and they are $32.50 each.

At Carnegie Hall, if you’re under 40 and join their Notables Prelude group by paying $20, you can then buy $20 tickets to selected performances in a certain month starting on the 1st of that month.

The Met opera weekend lottery and weekday rush also allowed me to see two performances for about $25 each—and I definitely would not have gone if I had to pay full price. As others have said, it would be fantastic for NYCB (or any cultural institution, for that matter), if they had a donor to fund a program like that!

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I am also feeling “priced out” of NYCB performances now. Unlike many other posters, I am relatively new to ballet watching. Over the past year, I saw about a dozen performances not because I’m a big NYCB fan, but because I was determined to learn more about NYCB and broaden my ballet horizons. And a big reason that I was willing to do that was because I could get reasonably-priced good seats in the front and center of the fourth ring (and sometimes the third ring if I had a discount). Under the new pricing scheme, however, I don’t think I’m willing to pay so much to sample ballets I’ve never seen before and am not sure I’ll like.

For comparison, a number of other cultural institutions offer great discounts for younger patrons, something NYCB might want to consider if they want to attract new, younger audience members.

ABT, for one, has a fantastic deal—if you’re under 30 and buy 3 or more performances, the tickets are $30 each and they are good seats in the Orchestra (Orchestra balance and rear). That’s like 3 for the price of 1! And you get exchange privileges too. Thanks to this program, not only have I seen a ton of performances, but I’ve also been able to convince many of my ballet-newbie friends to see a few. “Well, I don’t know if I’ll like ballet, but it’s only $30 each? Ok, why not!”

The NY Philharmonic has a similar program—if you’re under 35, buy 3 or more (selected) performances, and they are $32.50 each.

At Carnegie Hall, if you’re under 40 and join their Notables Prelude group by paying $20, you can then buy $20 tickets to selected performances in a certain month starting on the 1st of that month.

The Met opera weekend lottery and weekday rush also allowed me to see two performances for about $25 each—and I definitely would not have gone if I had to pay full price. As others have said, it would be fantastic for NYCB (or any cultural institution, for that matter), if they had a donor to fund a program like that!

I understand most of these programs require proof of age.

Unfortunately, I'm aging out of most of these deals. :(

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I am also feeling “priced out” of NYCB performances now. Unlike many other posters, I am relatively new to ballet watching. Over the past year, I saw about a dozen performances not because I’m a big NYCB fan, but because I was determined to learn more about NYCB and broaden my ballet horizons. And a big reason that I was willing to do that was because I could get reasonably-priced good seats in the front and center of the fourth ring (and sometimes the third ring if I had a discount). Under the new pricing scheme, however, I don’t think I’m willing to pay so much to sample ballets I’ve never seen before and am not sure I’ll like.

For comparison, a number of other cultural institutions offer great discounts for younger patrons, something NYCB might want to consider if they want to attract new, younger audience members.

ABT, for one, has a fantastic deal—if you’re under 30 and buy 3 or more performances, the tickets are $30 each and they are good seats in the Orchestra (Orchestra balance and rear). That’s like 3 for the price of 1! And you get exchange privileges too. Thanks to this program, not only have I seen a ton of performances, but I’ve also been able to convince many of my ballet-newbie friends to see a few. “Well, I don’t know if I’ll like ballet, but it’s only $30 each? Ok, why not!”

The NY Philharmonic has a similar program—if you’re under 35, buy 3 or more (selected) performances, and they are $32.50 each.

At Carnegie Hall, if you’re under 40 and join their Notables Prelude group by paying $20, you can then buy $20 tickets to selected performances in a certain month starting on the 1st of that month.

The Met opera weekend lottery and weekday rush also allowed me to see two performances for about $25 each—and I definitely would not have gone if I had to pay full price. As others have said, it would be fantastic for NYCB (or any cultural institution, for that matter), if they had a donor to fund a program like that!

I understand most of these programs require proof of age.

Unfortunately, I'm aging out of most of these deals. :(

I assumed Bat's daughter got the kiddie subscription, Roberto.

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I understand most of these programs require proof of age.

Unfortunately, I'm aging out of most of these deals. :(

You’re right—unfortunately, these deals won’t help the long-time loyal subscribers. I just wanted to point out some of the steps other arts organizations have taken to attract “the audience of tomorrow.”

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I passed Peter Martins walking up the stairs to Lincoln Center late this afternoon. I wish I could have told him what people are saying - that they are being priced out. But he would not have appreciated a confrontation, and since I had nothing "nice" to say, I let the moment pass. What would you have told Peter Martins if you passed him?

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It would shock me if Peter Martins was the only decision maker - or even an influential decision maker on ticket prices. The business manager for the company is probably the main decision maker, along with the chief accountant, and all of it approved by the BoD exec board. I think you need to go through the BoD to get the results.

So ultimately, what do you want to happen?

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It would shock me if Peter Martins was the only decision maker - or even an influential decision maker on ticket prices. The business manager for the company is probably the main decision maker, along with the chief accountant, and all of it approved by the BoD exec board. I think you need to go through the BoD to get the results.

So ultimately, what do you want to happen?

I think you are totally right about the decision making.

I don't know what anyone else wants to happen. I'd like the 3rd and 4th rings to be opened up with some reasonably ticket prices. Now the inexpensive tickets are really bad seats; not a way to build an audience. I went from subscriber to the cheapest but good seats (high up, but centrally located) to subscriber to better seats, to single ticket buyer when I became picky about casting. My point is that as time went on I spent more per ticket. When I look now, I'm priced out of seats that I'd be willing to sit in. I'm just not going to sit in bad seats - I'd rather not go.

I love NYCB and will probably go once or twice and spend the bucks, but I'll be even more selective about my ticket buying.

If sections are not filled will NYCB also remove those seats from sales, until only the front of orchestra is open.

Also, I'd love for NYCB to do the HD movie performances that the Met Opera is doing. It made me give opera a try and I am becoming a fan.

I just think NYCB is heading in the wrong direction in terms of building and audience for the future. Older fans like myself won't be bringing newbies or their kids or grandkids - too expensive.

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Even if they open up the fourth ring for events that are selling well, I don't think those tickets will sell. They are too overpriced considering the distance from the stage. I would never pay $103 (subscriber price) or $119 (regular price) to sit in any seat in the fourth ring, no matter who was performing. NYCB is going to price itself out of business.

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Do they pay a lower labor fee or less in rights for a smaller audience? I can't understand why they are going to such lengths to shrink their audience... Even if it is an audience of only expensive ticket holders.

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It would shock me if Peter Martins was the only decision maker - or even an influential decision maker on ticket prices. The business manager for the company is probably the main decision maker, along with the chief accountant, and all of it approved by the BoD exec board. I think you need to go through the BoD to get the results.

So ultimately, what do you want to happen?

I think you are totally right about the decision making.

I don't know what anyone else wants to happen. I'd like the 3rd and 4th rings to be opened up with some reasonably ticket prices. Now the inexpensive tickets are really bad seats; not a way to build an audience. I went from subscriber to the cheapest but good seats (high up, but centrally located) to subscriber to better seats, to single ticket buyer when I became picky about casting. My point is that as time went on I spent more per ticket. When I look now, I'm priced out of seats that I'd be willing to sit in. I'm just not going to sit in bad seats - I'd rather not go.

I love NYCB and will probably go once or twice and spend the bucks, but I'll be even more selective about my ticket buying.

If sections are not filled will NYCB also remove those seats from sales, until only the front of orchestra is open.

Also, I'd love for NYCB to do the HD movie performances that the Met Opera is doing. It made me give opera a try and I am becoming a fan.

I just think NYCB is heading in the wrong direction in terms of building and audience for the future. Older fans like myself won't be bringing newbies or their kids or grandkids - too expensive.

Precisely what I said in my letter to Mr. Martins:

I wonder if you realize that many of the young people you want as your future audience first come to see NYCB as guests, children, nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors of the same middle-aged and older people of limited income that have now been alienated and angered by this new “initiative.” Read the responses to the article about the price rise in the New York Times and see what people feel.

I am surprised that you and the Board of Directors think this strategy will increase income, audience and loyalty. I hope you will be flexible enough to make changes that will welcome us all back to the home we feel we have been thrown out of.

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In a way I feel sorry for Peter Martins. Don't wait for the punchline; I'm not joking! Martins is the public face of NYCB and thus the one at whom the brickbats are hurled in this whole price rise controversy, but I suspect he has absolutely nothing to do with it. The rather abrupt appointment of Katherine Brown and Martins' rather stilted rhetoric of its announcement at the time suggested to me that the company's governance was unhappy with his stewardship of NYCB's finances and yanked his responsibility therefor when the extent of the company's financial woes became clear in 2008/2009. Not all of his financial management might have been bad, you understand. By way of example, the New York Times noted in its recent article on the dancers' union dispute that the company in practice had disregarded the cap on weeks for which an injured dancer would be paid and I thought that Martins, being a dancer himself, may have winked at the cap and paid injured dancers for far longer. This is nice for dancers, but not for penny-conscious board members. At any rate, if my suspicions are correct, it must be frustrating for Martins to be Katherine Brown's whipping boy. While only time will tell whether Brown will put NYCB in the black, the company's marketing efforts over the last year strike me as merely thrashing about in a desperate attempt to find the silver bullet solution, and this seat-pricing scheme is yet another manifestation of this, though far more disruptive for audience members that last year's "Meet the Principal Dancers" nonsense.

May I take the opportunity here to ask for help with a misconception I may have concerning NYCB's governance? I am of the impression that the Board of Directors is largely a ceremonial body, a place for celebrities and ladies-who-lunch to hob-nob with one other, but that the real decision-making power lies with the advisory board, a much smaller body composed of influential business people. Certainly this is the case for other arts institutions, but I don't know if it is so for NYCB. Does anyone have any insight?

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I am of the impression that the Board of Directors is largely a ceremonial body, a place for celebrities and ladies-who-lunch to hob-nob with one other, but that the real decision-making power lies with the advisory board, a much smaller body composed of influential business people. Certainly this is the case for other arts institutions, but I don't know if it is so for NYCB. Does anyone have any insight?

I don't know anything about the decision-making structure at NYCB, but the New York Times had an interesting story last year about the boards of prestigious New York cultural organizations, including NYCB:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/03/arts/03center.html

It appears that making a huge donation (in the multi-millions) is a big help in getting on those boards, but that persons of stature for other reasons are included.

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California, thank you for that link; I had completely missed that article. I wonder how many of NYCB's board members really are balletomanes?

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I agree with you. I have no idea about the decision making process but I do believe that one of the best promotions was the bring a friend with a free ticket sent to subscribers a couple of years ago. I brought a friend who has since attended a number of programs at NYCB but now will not with the single ticket price increase for decent view of stage seats in 3rd and 4th ring. I still think that instead of drastically increasing the prices in 3rd and 4th ring, dropping the prices in orchestra would have filled the house. Then, when times get better financially folks who had the opportunity to see NYCB for decent prices in the lean years will pay more and continue to come, but not if outrageous increases ocntinue. Sad all round. Hopefully, someday in the future prices will readjust....not holding my breath, but always hopeful.

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I will always be grateful for the many years I had the chance to absorb the great Balanchine-Robbins repertory by watching this sublime company of dancer-artists, that I followed so many great dancers from their earliest days in the company to their retirement, that now when I listen to "Stars and Stripes" on the 4th of July I see the Balanchine corps de ballet, led by a dancer in blue with a baton. That when I listen to many pieces of music I now hear the music and SEE in mind's eye the choreography. That my ballet period is at an end for me is not a time to mourn, though I do, but to be grateful for so many years with City Ballet. My life has been profoundly enriched, and I will cherish Balanchine's ballets now that I cannot see them onstage. I am forced by the new pricing policy to turn my attention elsewhere, to other idealistic goals, in my case, toward saving for a trip to the country close to my heart, where I have not been since my student days. But these great ballets played a central part in my aesthetic development, as I believe great art is not "entertainment", but that it directs you toward something higher, something of the sublime, the spiritual.

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I will always be grateful for the many years I had the chance to absorb the great Balanchine-Robbins repertory by watching this sublime company of dancer-artists, that I followed so many great dancers from their earliest days in the company to their retirement, that now when I listen to "Stars and Stripes" on the 4th of July I see the Balanchine corps de ballet, led by a dancer in blue with a baton. That when I listen to many pieces of music I now hear the music and SEE in mind's eye the choreography. That my ballet period is at an end for me is not a time to mourn, though I do, but to be grateful for so many years with City Ballet. My life has been profoundly enriched, and I will cherish Balanchine's ballets now that I cannot see them onstage. I am forced by the new pricing policy to turn my attention elsewhere, to other idealistic goals, in my case, toward saving for a trip to the country close to my heart, where I have not been since my student days. But these great ballets played a central part in my aesthetic development, as I believe great art is not "entertainment", but that it directs you toward something higher, something of the sublime, the spiritual.

:tiphat:

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The Albany newspaper today has a story about the Saratoga season, with some discussion of NYCB's funding problems. Ironically, they are urging that an economical balcony be opened with some deals to attract younger audiences:

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Ballet-a-jewel-of-SPAC-season-1452699.php

Fantauzzi suggested that SPAC institute a balcony society to increase crowds and dollars. Society members would pay an initial fee to join, and could receive in return an option to buy two tickets in the balcony at a discounted rate.

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I will always be grateful for standing room @ $2.50 when I was in graduate school.

Ironically as airlines have been cutting the number of fares, the "LA Times" reports a trend for using variable, demand-based pricing and premium seat prices for tickets:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-dynamic-pricing-20110706,0,2760675.story

It's interesting that they mention PNB:

Experts say Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Chicago Symphony were among the early nonprofit users during the early 2000s.

When PNB moved into McCaw Hall it took on a pricing scheme from Seattle Opera, by assigning a mandatory contribution to the best seats, which may have included entire sections, raising the price substantially for loyal subscribers who had similar seats before the auditorium was re-configured, which was a different flavor.

I do remember sitting out for hours on a blanket in Central Park to line up for Shakespeare in the Park tickets, and happily handing over a relatively low donation to be able to get a pair of tickets in advance. I also remember the years when NYCB's "Nutcracker" would sell out for every performance before Christmas, and how someone had the clever idea of reserving some snazzy seats -- I think First Tier -- for each performance and selling them for quite a premium to people who didn't mind throwing money at it to know that they were guaranteed seats, but hadn't been able to stand on line when the box office opened. (NYCB fans will remember the poster board in the lobby of the New York State Theater with a list of all of the performances and colored dots to show what tickets were available and what was sold out.)

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So we have Peter Boal to thank for this pricing scheme? :angry2:

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So we have Peter Boal to thank for this pricing scheme? :angry2:

The pricing scheme to which the article refers -- i.e., adding a substantial mandatory contribution -- was instituted when PNB moved into McCaw Hall after the renovation, when Francia Russell and Kent Stowell were still Artistic Directors. However, they were originally going to retire after 25 years, not 27, and only stayed on because there was a very large deficit after many subscribers, ticket-buyers, and donors bailed during the seasons when the company was forced to perform in a hockey arena, which still had a level of ugly, stained, permanently mounted seats that faced what had been the ice in the center, not the stage at one end. I'm not sure how much they had to do with the decision to follow the opera's example. They were very busy trying to get the company back to solid financial footing and re-translating the company's rep to the new facility.

Under Peter Boals' tenure, there was an attempt a few years ago to move everyone down from the Second Tier and close it for the triple-bills, probably the equivalent of the Second and Third Rings, but I don't think they jacked up the prices when the section was open, like the Seattle Symphony did, doubling the price over two years. I think the Second Tier Center (in Seattle) seats had always been pricier, but they're more like sitting in the Third Tier (in NYC), and even a little farther back was like being in Fourth Tier A-B.

He started before the financial collapse, when the full-lengths, mostly "Nutcracker", could subsidize the rest of the season. (PNB had two devastated "Nutcracker" seasons since he took over, one when wind storms took down area electricity went out the weekend before Christmas and took up to a week to get back up, and a year or two later, when there was a big snowstorm the weekend before Christmas, and the city nearly shut down.) However, there were quite a number of cheaper seats in the Orchestra with quite fine sight lines, which were a treat for those who had sat up top for cost, but preferred sitting up close, and there are seats that start at the far sides of the Orchestra and ramp up, widening from 2-3 seats to 6, and then becoming the side extension of the front of the first tier, the most expensive seats in the house. (Equivalent of Met Opera Grand Tier.)

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I just received the beautiful Fall season brochure and there are many gorgeous shots in it... There is something strange in it too though... Does anyone else feel the dancers in the non dancing shots look like they are being portrayed as children? I feel it strongly but can't lay a finger on what makes this so. By contrast, the photos of the principals opposite the company listing look like artists. The earlier ones almost look like a middle school yearbook... What is it? The smiles? The poses? And why would one want them to look like kids? Is this like a glorified dance school approach? Very strange... And yet the dancing photos are stunningly beautiful.

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I received a very formulaic reply to my (emailed and snail mailed) letter to Mr. Martins.

It repeats everything else that they've said, and does not leave room for revision. In part:

Thank you for taking the time to write regarding the Fourth Ring Society at New York City Ballet. We truly appreciate your loyal support, and want to make sure you know how grateful we are to have you as part of our audience.

We hope you received our recent letter letting you know that we are developing a new program that will replace the Fourth Ring Society and offer similar benefits..... we are taking your comments into consideration as we formulate the new program.

We recognize that some of the recent changes may alter the ways in which you have grown accustomed to attending NYCB. ....

We sincerely hope that you will continue to support New York City Ballet as we work through the launch of the new program, which will continue to offer you access to NYCB’s extraordinary performances at very affordable prices. You will be hearing more about this from us in the coming weeks.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We look forward to welcoming you back to the theater next season.

Warm regards,

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