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MCB meets the Heat


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#1 checkwriter

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:25 PM

Some great pics here of MCB dancers and Miami Heat stars. Clever marketing!

#2 bart

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:35 PM

This is one of a number of interesting and imaginative publicity initiatives that MCB has undertaken recently. Getting the dancers out of the studio and into the community -- making them better known among average Miamians -- is a great idea. MCB is a big asset -- financially and in terms of cultural prestige -- to Miami. It is something to be proud of.

I only wish it were possible to make similar appearances in MCB's other regular venues (West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Naples), where the company sometimes seems to be thought of as a touring company that pops into town everyone once in a while, dances a couple of shows, and departs as soon as the final curtain falls.

#3 Birdsall

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:05 PM

Now that "Miami City Ballet" is a brand I do not advocate changing the name at all, but since it performs regularly in 4 cities now (Naples is the 4th), it is sort of a shame that its name keeps the idea in mind that it is located in Miami. If it had had the name Ballet Florida (like the now defunct West Palm company) it would not be considered a "touring" company, I don't think, in the other places. At the same time South Florida is such a megalopolis that I think it still sort of works leaving the name as it is.

I will say that Greater Miami Opera changed its name to Florida Grand Opera years ago when it merged with the Ft. Lauderdale opera company. Part of me thinks it was a wise move to get donor buy-in in Ft. lauderdale, and I sometimes think it should merge with Palm Beach Opera and then better opera overall would be produced with the resources from all 3 cities and the ability to offer star singers a longer run of performances if that is what they desire (or multiple casts).

But I have to say it could backfire too now that Miami City Ballet is a recognizable "brand".....change the name and tourists might wonder, "What is this ballet company?" I have no idea whether a name change would be a good or bad move.

#4 checkwriter

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:28 PM

I only wish it were possible to make similar appearances in MCB's other regular venues (West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Naples), where the company sometimes seems to be thought of as a touring company that pops into town everyone once in a while, dances a couple of shows, and departs as soon as the final curtain falls.


Baby steps . . .

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:07 PM


I only wish it were possible to make similar appearances in MCB's other regular venues (West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Naples), where the company sometimes seems to be thought of as a touring company that pops into town everyone once in a while, dances a couple of shows, and departs as soon as the final curtain falls.


Baby steps . . .


If Lourdes reads this...

#6 Birdsall

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:42 AM

One of the things I like about Cecilia Bartoli is that she says her version of "crossover" is to bring the masses to Vivaldi and not the other way around. She is a top selling opera singer, one of the few who can sell like Pavarotti did (and still does after his death). She says she does not want to do stadium concerts like he did despite many offers. She would probably sell them out here in the U.S. Her goal is not to come to the masses but to entice them to come into her world of discovering Vivaldi, Gluck, etc. And each CD she releases seems to sell very well for a classical artist.

I think part of the allure of opera and ballet is the fact that they are refined, gorgeous art forms that have withstood the test of time. I think people who are attracted to these art forms are attracted to the fact that they take us out of the normal everyday and help us view the world/universe/life as something special.

I could be totally wrong but I think making opera or ballet seem as "cool" as basketball or rap music or whatever is the wrong direction. I don't think anyone is convinced. The truth of the matter is that most people who like ballet already have the personality to enjoy finer things in life like good wine, gourmet meals, etc. I have my doubts about the success of going out to malls or basketball games. With all that said I hope it helps MCB, and I hope the audience expands. I just don't know about this way. I think it would be most ideal for the arts to be stressed in all schools despite budget cuts. We need to think of the luxuries in life as essential to us as human beings as air is to breathe. I took inner city kids to ballet and opera when I taught, and they loved it. The other teachers thought I had lost my mind. Even children with no background in the art forms recognize excellence when they see it, and they applauded like a Cuban audience. It was delightful. I think taking them into the world of theatre is much more effective than trying to bring theatre out to malls, fairs, and bus terminals. I think the essential experience is totally watered down and degraded when it is made to seem like something it is not. But this is all my opinion. Shoot away at me! LOL

#7 checkwriter

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:19 AM

I think the point of the campaign is that you can do both - enjoy a Heat game AND a ballet performance. See the poster examples here. Who knows, there might be a balletomane or two who sees the ads and decides to try attending a Heat game. And vice-versa. I don't think the goal is to bring ballet to "malls, fairs, and bus terminals" (Really? - "bus terminals"?). I think the goal is to consciousness-raise, and to get more of the community enthused about the cultural benefits of living in the Miami area.

As Lourdes Lopez puts it in the last line of the "Story" section of the website: "No Miami City Ballet dancer stands alone just as HEAT players can’t win alone. It requires team work—and that's Miami! We are talking about tremendous pride in the place we call home and being the best together."

#8 bart

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:18 PM

One of the things I like about Cecilia Bartoli is that she says her version of "crossover" is to bring the masses to Vivaldi and not the other way around.


Birdsall, thanks for that wonderful quote. I think that it is quite compatible with the Miami Heat publicity. What I get from this campaign is .... "There are all sorts of 'cool' in this world. This is ours. We think you might be surprised at how much you like it." This can function as a reminder to the larger community that MCB is in the major leagues for dance just as the Heats are for basketball.

Edward Villella struck me as ambivalent about new directions in company publicity. It seems that MCB never fully capitalized on the big stories of his last seasons -- the triumphs in New York and Paris, and the Dance on America national telecast. Lopez has had first-hand experience of the kind of publicity that New York City Ballet has used to make potential audiences identify the company --and its wonderfully photogenic dancers -- with "New York" itself.

#9 Birdsall

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:06 PM

I do hope that you guys are right and that this is a good direction to expand audiences.

As far as bus terminals, I was sort of joking with that one. A good friend of mine who is an opera lover is always saying that a certain opera company must be picking up their singers at bus terminals. And recently I just got an email about an opera company that claims to be performing in NYC and then down below when you read further you find out that they will be performing at one of JFK's airport terminals. So "terminals" are stuck in my mind, and I used that term as sort of a joke and exaggeration of what things can devolve into.

I don't pretend to have any answers here, and Lourdes Lopez or whoever is making marketing decisions may know much more about how to sell ballet. In fact, I'm sure they know more than I do. I guess I just hate to see such a beautiful art form seem to grovel for audiences, but this is 2013 and the Age of Madonna and reality shows, so I guess I can't blame them. They have to do what they have to do to survive and thrive. I really shouldn't knock them for trying new ways.

#10 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:55 PM

Heats or no Heats, masses can't pay the prohibited prices of ballet. When I say "masses" I'm even excluding the professional middle class. Unless their parents pay for it, high school students-(and even college ones)-see those ticket prices beyond their range. I remember a full house of young people during my past ballet viewing life, but that's not the case during my current one.

#11 Jayne

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:24 PM

how much are tickets to see the Miami Heat?

#12 bart

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:35 PM

Jayne asked:

how much are tickets to see the Miami Heat?


I just checked the Heats site. Ticket pricing seems to be much more variable and complicated than tickets in a ballet or opera theater. Top price (individual tickets) for 4 listed games in January was $450.00 for the best seats. Lowest prices were $10-20.00. There seemed to be an awful lot of seating options for over $100.00.


Top price (individual tickets) for Program III at the Arsht Center was $175.00. Lowest price: $20.00. Seats in the orchestra -- the most expensive section -- are sold out for opening night. I don't know about the Arsht, but the Kravis Center has half-priced rush tickets available for purchase on the day of the performance.

#13 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:17 PM

I don't know about the Arsht, but the Kravis Center has half-priced rush tickets available for purchase on the day of the performance.


It varies, depending on the performance...Nutcracker is not the same as a season ballet, and different again from things like the Cleveland paired with the ballet company. But certainly-(for what I remember from my days at Miami Dade College)-more than $20.

#14 sandik

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:12 AM

As far as bus terminals, I was sort of joking with that one. ... I guess I just hate to see such a beautiful art form seem to grovel for audiences, but this is 2013 and the Age of Madonna and reality shows, so I guess I can't blame them. They have to do what they have to do to survive and thrive. I really shouldn't knock them for trying new ways.

Your comment about bus terminals isn't as off the wall as you might think -- Oregon Ballet Theater did a publicity campaign a few years ago with profiles of the dancers in the company -- some of the ads were placed in bus kiosks around town. The general theme was getting to know the individuals in the company, and although I wasn't really impressed with some of the profiles, I had to admit that it was taking advantage of the current emphasis on personality in our culture.

And as far as the connection to sports figures is concerned, Balanchine used to compare dancers to race horses all the time...

#15 Birdsall

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:19 AM


As far as bus terminals, I was sort of joking with that one. ... I guess I just hate to see such a beautiful art form seem to grovel for audiences, but this is 2013 and the Age of Madonna and reality shows, so I guess I can't blame them. They have to do what they have to do to survive and thrive. I really shouldn't knock them for trying new ways.

Your comment about bus terminals isn't as off the wall as you might think -- Oregon Ballet Theater did a publicity campaign a few years ago with profiles of the dancers in the company -- some of the ads were placed in bus kiosks around town. The general theme was getting to know the individuals in the company, and although I wasn't really impressed with some of the profiles, I had to admit that it was taking advantage of the current emphasis on personality in our culture.

And as far as the connection to sports figures is concerned, Balanchine used to compare dancers to race horses all the time...



A year or two ago MCB had its pamphlets calling the dancers "superhuman" or something like that. I actually liked that marketing tactic, but maybe it did not work. I do think there is a sports connection, but the difference, in my opinion, is that ballet dancers are artists as well as athletes which puts them higher up in the food chain in my own view of the world. I was at a local dance performance last night in which there was a Question and Answer session, and audience members felt the need to keep bringing up that they were like athletes. I liked one dancer's comment that the difference is that a football player can grunt when he hurts himself. They have to continue to smile and pretend they are not hurt if possible. Another audience member said he was amazed they get the same injuries as football players, and a dancer made a great come-back, "Well, we have the same human body, so a knee injury is a knee injury however you get it!" That made me laugh!

They are very athletic, and maybe for younger generations it is a good tactic to present them as athletes since athletes seem to be Gods for the U.S. My own personal feeling is that I want them seen as artists, but that is just me.

Too bad I am not Tsar!!!! LOL I would not let my dancers have posters in bus terminals!!! LOL


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