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American Ballet Theatre to Leave City Center

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http://online.wsj.co...0435632626.html

According to the Wall-Street journal, ABT is officially leaving City Center and moving operations to the NY

American Ballet Theatre signed a three-year agreement to perform at the David H. Koch Theater, above, at Lincoln Center.

The game of musical chairs launched by New York City Opera last year when it left Lincoln Center is going at least one more round: America Ballet Theatre will announce Wednesday that it has signed a three-year deal to perform at the David H. Koch Theater, starting in October 2013 with a two-week season.

The change means that the company will terminate its fall seasons at New York City Center, on West 55th Street, which it began in 1997. It does not, however, affect ABT's eight-week spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House (also on the Lincoln Center campus), nor its run of "The Nutcracker" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

[Admin Note: quotes are limited to 250 characters of a long article, due to copyright, and to less for brief articles and material limited to subscribers.]

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I think this is a good thing. Two full weeks is better than whatever they've been able to cobble together at CC for the past few years, and if it goes well there should be the potential to do additional weeks, I assume. Do they get custody of NYCB's orchestra too?

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Great news. The sight lines at City Center, while improved since the renovation, are still not wonderful. Koch is a much better theater.

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Here's the official release:

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE ANNOUNCES

2013 FALL SEASON AT DAVID H. KOCH THEATER

MULTI-YEAR ENGAGEMENT TO BEGIN

WITH 12 PERFORMANCES

SCHEDULED OCTOBER 30-NOVEMBER 10, 2013

New York, NY – American Ballet Theatre will perform a Fall season, October 30-

November 10, 2013, at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, it was announced

today by Rachel S. Moore, ABT’s Chief Executive Officer. The engagement begins a

multi-year agreement with the Koch Theater, the terms of which include two weeks of

performances each Fall through 2015.

“We eagerly look forward to performing at the Koch Theater next Fall,” said

Moore. “The Koch Theater is a wonderful venue for dance and its larger stage will

broaden the scope of the repertory that we can perform. Our engagement is especially

meaningful given ABT’s history of memorable performances at the venue during the

1960’s and ’70’s.”

American Ballet Theatre held regular engagements at the venue, then the New

York State Theater, from 1965 through 1976.

“American Ballet Theatre is a performing arts company that I have supported for

nearly 30 years as a member of its Board of Governing Trustees,” said David H.

Koch. “To have a ballet company that I love, perform in the David H. Koch Theater –

which bears my name – that I am proud of, is a dream come true.”

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Great news. The sight lines at City Center, while improved since the renovation, are still not wonderful. Koch is a much better theater.

I agree! As much as I want City Center to thrive, it's not an ideal theater for dance. Neither is the Met, frankly -- I'd be happy to see ABT decamp from there, too, although shoehorning their spring season into the Koch is probably a scheduling bridge too far.

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Here's the official release:

...SNIP....

“American Ballet Theatre is a performing arts company that I have supported for

nearly 30 years as a member of its Board of Governing Trustees,” said David H.

Koch. “To have a ballet company that I love, perform in the David H. Koch Theater –

which bears my name – that I am proud of, is a dream come true.”

Given that there is already a world-renowned company in residence there, did anyone else find this statement a bit surprising?

It could just be that it is out of context, and of course it does reflect his long relationship with ABT. But not, perhaps, a terribly politic statement?

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Here's the official release:

...SNIP....

“American Ballet Theatre is a performing arts company that I have supported for

nearly 30 years as a member of its Board of Governing Trustees,” said David H.

Koch. “To have a ballet company that I love, perform in the David H. Koch Theater –

which bears my name – that I am proud of, is a dream come true.”

Given that there is already a world-renowned company in residence there, did anyone else find this statement a bit surprising?

It could just be that it is out of context, and of course it does reflect his long relationship with ABT. But not, perhaps, a terribly politic statement?

Yes, aurora, it struck me exactly the same way.

And, Kathleen, I agree completely about the Met. Over the years I've sat in every section trying to determine the best seats in the house. To my mind, just about every seat is a compromise in one way or another (too far back in center parterre, part of stage cut off in side parterre, too many heads in orchestra front rows before the raking begins, feet cut off in Orchestra Row A, etc., etc., etc.) Maybe J 101 and others around there are ideal, but there aren't many of those and they're almost impossible to get.

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and kicking around in the background here is the occasion at Brooklyn Academy of Music when DHK took the stage to accept thanks for supporting ABT's NUTCRACKER by addressing McKenzie as "Peter," until he caught himself amid much audible audience reaction....

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That was pretty hilarious, rg. McKenzie probably doesn't care whether Koch calls him Peter or Kevin, as long as there is big a check payable to ABT.

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I loathe his politics but Mr. Koch can continue to write all the checks he likes, the more and the larger the better. He won't fool anyone into thinking that he possesses any real appreciation of culture; he's trying to buy respectability. ABT can hold its nose and deposit the checks, and likewise Kevin, regardless of his inadequacies as an artistic director, can laugh off being called "Peter." And I'll continue to refer to it as the State Theater, which if its stage facilities allow ABT to revive a wider range of pieces, I say good for ABT. (Even though City Center is, especially after its recent renovation, a vastly more beautiful venue.)

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Many BalletTalkers probably just received the same e-mail I just did, addressed to NYCB Friends:

Dear Circle of Friends Member,

We are delighted to share with you the news that American Ballet Theatre has decided to move its fall season to the David H. Koch Theater. With the recent departure of New York City Opera, New York City Ballet has focused on making our theater one of the greatest centers for dance in the world, and a company of ABT's caliber is an ideal partner in this effort. Please see below for the Wall Street Journal article on this exciting development. . . .

Best regards,

Member Services

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He won't fool anyone into thinking that he possesses any real appreciation of culture; he's trying to buy respectability.

Well clearly he is not succeeding in this endeavor---at least not on this board, where he is treated quite brutally. I find it quite astonishing, given his long history of support of great ballet companies and wonderful productions (e.g., Ratmansky's recent 9th Symphony) that most of us are so enthusiastic about.

If he really only wanted to buy "respectability" with this crowd, he would have noticed a long time ago that it's not working and he would have stopped. It's quite clear that his contributions to the arts and healthcare do not have the power to soften the hearts of those who are intolerant of his political views.

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Well clearly he is not succeeding in this endeavor---at least not on this board, where he is treated quite brutally. I find it quite astonishing, given his long history of support of great ballet companies and wonderful productions (e.g., Ratmansky's recent 9th Symphony) that most of us are so enthusiastic about.

If he really only wanted to buy "respectability" with this crowd, he would have noticed a long time ago that it's not working and he would have stopped. It's quite clear that his contributions to the arts and healthcare do not have the power to soften the hearts of those who are intolerant of his political views.

Well, they are also tax writeoffs, I assume. I wouldn't know. I'm broke. :)

He's problematic to talk about as politics are not acceptable for discussion on here. Understandable, but difficult in this case.

Quite frankly disagreeing with what the Koch brothers stand for is not what I would call being "intolerant" of his political views.

Intolerant is a loaded word, and I think incredibly poorly applied in this case. I'd love to say more but I don't want to cross the line.

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I may be reading the release in a paranoid manner but the way Koch is quoted in the release, “To have a ballet company that I love, perform in the David H. Koch Theater – which bears my name – that I am proud of, is a dream come true,” reeks of ego and a desire to make it appear that he owns the building and everything in it. It's a horrifying contrast to funders such as Lincoln Kirstein who served the art and not the ego.

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Quite frankly disagreeing with what the Koch brothers stand for is not what I would call being "intolerant" of his political views.

Among many things that Mr. Koch "stands for", it seems to me that the most (and perhaps the only) relevant one to this discussion board is that he stands for the prosperity of ABT and NYCB, and has been instrumental in enabling countless great performances that these companies have put on. Yet, somehow every time he makes a large donation to ballet he gets skewered on this board. I find this incomprehensible.

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I find myself wishing that he would take a lesson from Nancy Walton (Walmart) Laurie and her relationship to Cedar Lake Ballet. It's a matter of philanthropic style, not politics. There's no need for him to stick his name all over everything.

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I find myself wishing that he would take a lesson from Nancy Walton (Walmart) Laurie and her relationship to Cedar Lake Ballet. It's a matter of philanthropic style, not politics. There's no need for him to stick his name all over everything.

But if he didn't stick his name on it, what would be the point??

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That's exactly it. He loves his name better than the art form.

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Among many things that Mr. Koch "stands for", it seems to me that the most (and perhaps the only) relevant one to this discussion board is that he stands for the prosperity of ABT and NYCB, and has been instrumental in enabling countless great performances that these companies have put on. Yet, somehow every time he makes a large donation to ballet he gets skewered on this board. I find this incomprehensible.

actually i disagree; i don't think he stands for ABT's and NYCB's prosperity but for the perceived benefit that a grand effort to bolster their stability does for him,i.e., the publicity.

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Does this translate to mean he doesn't "love" NYCB? Is he not proud to have them in "his house"? What an odd statement to make.

Also, I'm hoping that in going to the "State" (Koch) Theater ABT will finally deem it OK to participate in the Atrium discount ticket booth. They don't participate while they are at the Met. NYCB has always participated and I believe it's a valid resource for those who wish to see ballet at the last minute and can't afford sky high prices. We'll see.

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Several months ago on another thread, we had a lengthy discussion along these lines. We have a long history in the U.S. of uber-wealthy industry titans who were despicable in many ways starting foundations that we now treasure for the enormous good they do. Andrew Carnegie was vicious to his workers, but he gave us the Carnegie libraries all over the country and a foundation doing great things today. Henry Ford was a terrible anti-Semite who promoted The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, yet the Ford Foundation in modern times has done enormous good (including important support to Balanchine). Yes, many of the good things happened later after the founders were long-deceased, but not all of them. Whether these people were simply trying to buy good will for their own legacies or genuinely cared about making amends, society at large has benefitted. The Pew Charitable Trust is a well-regarded moderate force for good today, but it started as a far right-wing family foundation (not unlike the Koch family activities). Koch seems to be following in a long line of wealthy Americans who have done some despicable things to society at large but also greatly benefitted that society. We all might wish that super-wealthy people only did good things with their money, but that seems a fantasy we can't have in reality.

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Among many things that Mr. Koch "stands for", it seems to me that the most (and perhaps the only) relevant one to this discussion board is that he stands for the prosperity of ABT and NYCB, and has been instrumental in enabling countless great performances that these companies have put on. Yet, somehow every time he makes a large donation to ballet he gets skewered on this board. I find this incomprehensible.

actually i disagree; i don't think he stands for ABT's and NYCB's prosperity but for the perceived benefit that a grand effort to bolster their stability does for him,i.e., the publicity.

ITA with you, Mme. Hermine. Koch is an egomaniac...just like that other guy whose name was all over theaters 10 years ago but is now in jail (Vilar).

Koch said (quote from above article): “To have a ballet company that I love, perform in the David H. Koch Theater – which bears my name –..." Gag me. Even Vilar never talked like this.

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Let's just say the only thing I know about David H. Koch is that he's rich. whistling.gif

Publicity and egocentricity aside, he does give money to ballet companies. He does give money to the PBS show NOVA (and I know this, 'cause his name's at the beginning of every show! Oops, wasn't going to talk about visibility). Basically, he's doing the right thing, even if it's for the wrong reasons.

He'll die and be forgotten, or perhaps remembered through rose-coloured glasses, as California above pointed out, but the donations he made will help worthy endevours grow and prosper into the future, regardless of his original intent.

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Remember this point, Koch did not build this theater or establish the companies that perform there. He paid for renovations, he did not buy the building. He acts like an owner, not a contributor. You have to wonder if he personally contributed enough to close off the 4th and 5th rings. A few years down the road I can imagine him saying that he does not see the need for two large major ballet companies and somehow manipulating a merger between ABT and NYCB. (This is just a nightmare scenario. I will continue to indulge in this horrible fantasy until it's clearly far outside the realm of possibility.)

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