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MCB meets the Heat


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#16 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:28 AM

Can we consider the fact that Miami has the particular distinction that you will NEVER walk pass the Arsht Center where an attractive programme-(whatever the genre is)-may captivate your eye...? This is a driving city...one HAS to has a driving plan for everything...you can't just go walk and do stuff. Going to se a ballet performance requires a pre-existing knowledge of the place and the performance, multiple driving/parking plans and a strong desire to beat the endless expressways and horrifying traffic to get there and out of there. A Miamian will NEVER see a ballet performance by chance, as a walking NY'er can do by approaching the Lincoln Center out of a relaxing walk by curiosity.

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#17 bart

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:09 PM

Off topic: Posted Image . .Posted Image No wonder I get lost whenever I try to drive down to Miami.

#18 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:03 PM

Off topic: Posted Image . .Posted Image No wonder I get lost whenever I try to drive down to Miami.


Yes...the ballet is enclosed in an isolated venue, very far away from residential Miami. I'm lucky I live right across the bridge in Miami Beach-(which on can see right at the left of the venue in the next pic)- but I know that for the mojority of the non beach residents, getting there is a total pain in the neck.

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#19 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:10 PM


Off topic: Posted Image . .Posted Image No wonder I get lost whenever I try to drive down to Miami.


Yes...the ballet is enclosed in an isolated venue, very far away from residential Miami. I'm lucky I live right across the bridge in Miami Beach-(which on can see right at the left of the venue in the next pic)- but I know that for the majority of non beach residents, getting there is a total pain in the neck.

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And still...a couple of times I haven't even been able to make it thru the bridge on time for a given performance...

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#20 Birdsall

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:14 PM

When I used to go to FGO's operas I never had trouble getting there from either West Palm (when staying with my parents) or from Marco Island (where a good opera friend lives and where I would sometimes stay). I am sure there are times when the traffic is crazy, but there is an exit that lets you off right near it.

#21 Jack Reed

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 02:57 PM

Reminds me of the time when I spent the afternoon snorkeling on Key Largo with the intention of seeing MCB's Jewels at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach that evening. I had allowed for one of Miami's notorious traffic jams, but I encountered two, and arrived so late I was not allowed in until the applause for the opening ensemble in Emeralds. (I had to stand at the back, from where "La Fileuse" (the Spinner) was so true, a voice in the back of my mind said, "Verdy"; it was Catoya, of course, maybe the first time I saw her dance, but Verdy had coached her.)

Anyway, cubanmiamiboy makes a good point. In New York, one can attend casually, if not quite by walking by Lincoln Center, maybe by going over and seeing what's on, or what last minute bargains there are at HotTix. And maybe even when MCB still used Gleason, just a block from the Lincoln Road pedestrian strip, you could do that. But I gather Arsht seems to be something of a pedestrian desert.

#22 Birdsall

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:59 PM

I don't mean this as an argument, just food for thought. I tend to think the days of walking by and saying, "Oh, wow! Maybe I will get a ticket to that right now!" are over. I could be wrong. But I think most people look online for what is happening in their city or if they follow ballet or opera, they go repeatedly back to the websites and buy tickets or even get emails about it. Even if you have gone ONCE to something you get bombarded with that company's email announcements. I get notified about L.A. Opera and SF Opera quite often b/c I went to Ring Cycles out there. So if I lived in those cities I would know what is playing even without walking past.

#23 Jack Reed

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 05:56 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. ...

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.

[size=4]... 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. [/size]


Bartoli not only has a ravishing voice, she understands what she's doing! Wonderful!

That concept of visiting a special world is what it's all about. The idea keeps recurring in my experience. The critic J.W.N. Sullivan wrote that to listen to "late" Beethoven is to set sail on strange seas of thought where you encounter unsuspected islands and even continents. (Getting on well with "middle" Beethoven years ago, I found at first I could not make the voyage, but Beethoven himself didn't "go there" - as we say today - right away, either.) More recently I have heard Suzanne Farrell explain that she sometimes changes some steps to preserve the world of a ballet (emphasis hers). Farrell knows what she's doing, too.

Degrading it seems to come naturally to some marketers - to increase sales, go downmarket. What angers me is the willingness - eagerness - to deprive people of the experience of leaving the everyday world for that special one. The idea seems to be, as one put it to me once, "Get 'em in and hope they like it!" Some of them who come in are prepared for something else. "That didn't look hard," said the man next to me one evening. "You thought it would?" "Yeah, they told us it was hard." (Got that? "They told us") "Well, it is hard, but they're so good, they make it look easy." "Oh." I'm sorry I was too stunned to take it from "easy" to "graceful" and "beautiful."


... The general theme was getting to know the individuals in the company, ... and 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...


Is the current emphasis on personality healthy? No big ideas, no great adventures? Just what this person happens to say, or that one, it doesn't matter, right?

As for Balanchine and horses, I think it was, "Dancers are like horses, they don't think, they just go." He feared his dancers would think, or look like they were. Horses aren't self-conscious and don't ham or show off, either; linking dancers to personalities may be another way to present their art as something it is not.


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. ...

My own personal feeling is that I want them seen as artists, but that is just me.


I'm glad you liked that word, Birdsall; I thought at the time they might have lifted it from one of my "reviews." (Susan Reiter, a real reviewer, took issue with their use of it, saying MCB was very good, excellent even, but not superhuman, IIRC.) My point back then (and now too) was yours, I think, part of how I see dance and how I am drawn into it: That these people are human, made of the same kind of flesh and bone as I am, but they do, with evident ease, what I can't do. (Want to see me get up there and try? Just imagine.) What humans generally don't - can't - do.

So they are human, but better than human, superhuman. So there is - apparently, and we are talking about what we see and how we feel about it when we see it - a little miracle here, a nice mystery, perhaps akin to religious mystery. How can what we are seeing actually be? We know without a doubt that it is. Yes, they are higher up for me too - maybe not up the food chain as higher up that stairway to Paradise we build "with a new step every day." (Apologies to Ira Gershwin.)

Is the experience of dance watching alone? I think all art experience is akin to spiritual experience. (I wonder sometimes if those marketers resort to zany promotional strategies who deny the spiritual.) Anyway, I want anyone susceptible to this experience to have it, pure, undiluted, and strong; let them see artists wholly, as the artists they are; let them come come to the world of each work of art. So it's not just you, Birdsall.

And kids, with fewer preconceptions to interfere, perhaps, get on their way more easily.

#24 Birdsall

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:25 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. ...

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 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.


Bartoli not only has a ravishing voice, she understands what she's doing! Wonderful!

That concept of visiting a special world is what it's all about. The idea keeps recurring in my experience. The critic J.W.N. Sullivan wrote that to listen to "late" Beethoven is to set sail on strange seas of thought where you encounter unsuspected islands and even continents. (Getting on well with "middle" Beethoven years ago, I found at first I could not make the voyage, but Beethoven himself didn't "go there" - as we say today - right away, either.) More recently I have heard Suzanne Farrell explain that she sometimes changes some steps to preserve the world of a ballet (emphasis hers). Farrell knows what she's doing, too.

Degrading it seems to come naturally to some marketers - to increase sales, go downmarket. What angers me is the willingness - eagerness - to deprive people of the experience of leaving the everyday world for that special one. The idea seems to be, as one put it to me once, "Get 'em in and hope they like it!" Some of them who come in are prepared for something else. "That didn't look hard," said the man next to me one evening. "You thought it would?" "Yeah, they told us it was hard." (Got that? "They told us") "Well, it is hard, but they're so good, they make it look easy." "Oh." I'm sorry I was too stunned to take it from "easy" to "graceful" and "beautiful."


... The general theme was getting to know the individuals in the company, ... and 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...


Is the current emphasis on personality healthy? No big ideas, no great adventures? Just what this person happens to say, or that one, it doesn't matter, right?

As for Balanchine and horses, I think it was, "Dancers are like horses, they don't think, they just go." He feared his dancers would think, or look like they were. Horses aren't self-conscious and don't ham or show off, either; linking dancers to personalities may be another way to present their art as something it is not.


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. ...

My own personal feeling is that I want them seen as artists, but that is just me.


I'm glad you liked that word, Birdsall; I thought at the time they might have lifted it from one of my "reviews." (Susan Reiter, a real reviewer, took issue with their use of it, saying MCB was very good, excellent even, but not superhuman, IIRC.) My point back then (and now too) was yours, I think, part of how I see dance and how I am drawn into it: That these people are human, made of the same kind of flesh and bone as I am, but they do, with evident ease, what I can't do. (Want to see me get up there and try? Just imagine.) What humans generally don't - can't - do.

So they are human, but better than human, superhuman. So there is - apparently, and we are talking about what we see and how we feel about it when we see it - a little miracle here, a nice mystery, perhaps akin to religious mystery. How can what we are seeing actually be? We know without a doubt that it is. Yes, they are higher up for me too - maybe not up the food chain as higher up that stairway to Paradise we build "with a new step every day." (Apologies to Ira Gershwin.)

Is the experience of dance watching alone? I think all art experience is akin to spiritual experience. (I wonder sometimes if those marketers resort to zany promotional strategies who deny the spiritual.) Anyway, I want anyone susceptible to this experience to have it, pure, undiluted, and strong; let them see artists wholly, as the artists they are; let them come come to the world of each work of art. So it's not just you, Birdsall.

And kids, with fewer preconceptions to interfere, perhaps, get on their way more easily.



I like everything you say. For me the marketing should be about how beautiful or amazing these dancers are, not how much they are like other things. I do think the "spiritual" element should be stressed as you say.

As for the person who thought it looked easy.....ironically, that type of thing usually comes out of mouths of people who can't even touch their toes! People with no idea of body movement think it is easy. People who do any type of body movement (I do yoga) knows how hard it is to Ardha Chandrasana. Yes, it just looks like you are standing on one leg and letting your torso fall to the side.....but those of us who do it KNOW how $%&ing hard it is to do!!!! Ballet is probably 100 times harder.

#25 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:39 AM

I don't mean this as an argument, just food for thought. I tend to think the days of walking by and saying, "Oh, wow! Maybe I will get a ticket to that right now!" are over. I could be wrong. But I think most people look online for what is happening in their city or if they follow ballet or opera, they go repeatedly back to the websites and buy tickets or even get emails about it. Even if you have gone ONCE to something you get bombarded with that company's email announcements. I get notified about L.A. Opera and SF Opera quite often b/c I went to Ring Cycles out there. So if I lived in those cities I would know what is playing even without walking past.


I still do old school whenever I go. I never buy tickets in advance-(at least ever since I got out of Cuba). I have NEVER been in a sold out ballet performance anywhere I've been here, and so I just wait for my days off and right in the morning I decide where I want to go...say opera, ballet, concerts, etc. Actually when I went to see the non show performance of Vishneva/Osipova in Bayadere, I got to my hotel just an hour before that evening performance-(Seo/Muntagirov), and just took the subway and got to the MET right in time to buy an excellent discount ticket in orchestra, waaaaaaaaay cheaper than the Arsht Center. I was still wearing my ripped out traveling jeans. In Miami that would be a cute fantasy to dream about.

#26 Amy Reusch

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 07:13 AM

I don't think the dancer looks great next to the basketball player... The height of the player tends to dwarf the dancer. The interactions look a little canned, almost as the dancer stood in front of a cut out, not quite but almost. I don't get it, the appeal. They might have done better to crop the player, partial shot of player with full shot of dancer... as if the player were interested in the dancer instead of self promoting. Maybe lie the player down on the floor on his side and have the dancer leap high over him? Everything in the photos seem to make the dancer superficial. The player looks natural, the dancer interaction looks forced. I don't think the campaign works.


The behind the scenes video is way better than the resulting photos. I don't think the 'can you believe you were right next to those famous players?' moment (not a direct quote) did the ballet any favors.

#27 Birdsall

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:59 AM


I don't mean this as an argument, just food for thought. I tend to think the days of walking by and saying, "Oh, wow! Maybe I will get a ticket to that right now!" are over. I could be wrong. But I think most people look online for what is happening in their city or if they follow ballet or opera, they go repeatedly back to the websites and buy tickets or even get emails about it. Even if you have gone ONCE to something you get bombarded with that company's email announcements. I get notified about L.A. Opera and SF Opera quite often b/c I went to Ring Cycles out there. So if I lived in those cities I would know what is playing even without walking past.


I still do old school whenever I go. I never buy tickets in advance-(at least ever since I got out of Cuba). I have NEVER been in a sold out ballet performance anywhere I've been here, and so I just wait for my days off and right in the morning I decide where I want to go...say opera, ballet, concerts, etc. Actually when I went to see the non show performance of Vishneva/Osipova in Bayadere, I got to my hotel just an hour before that evening performance-(Seo/Muntagirov), and just took the subway and got to the MET right in time to buy an excellent discount ticket in orchestra, waaaaaaaaay cheaper than the Arsht Center. I was still wearing my ripped out traveling jeans. In Miami that would be a cute fantasy to dream about.


Yeah, but don't you already know (from online) what is playing and you simply decide at the last minute and drive over there and get a ticket at the last minute? I just don't think people walk by a theatre nowadays and get surprised and buy a ticket. I could be wrong.

Even if I lived in NY I would know from online sources what is playing. I would never walk past the Met and be surprised and decide to buy a ticket b/c I just saw a poster in front of the theatre.

I think most people are already looking online for things to do. I don't think most people walk by the Met and scream, "OMG! They are playing La Bayadere tonight! Let's buy a ticket and see it right now!" Maybe this happens, but I have my doubts. Maybe tourists who are totally out of it or on drugs might do this. I don't know.

#28 Birdsall

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:00 AM

I don't think the dancer looks great next to the basketball player... The height of the player tends to dwarf the dancer. The interactions look a little canned, almost as the dancer stood in front of a cut out, not quite but almost. I don't get it, the appeal. They might have done better to crop the player, partial shot of player with full shot of dancer... as if the player were interested in the dancer instead of self promoting. Maybe lie the player down on the floor on his side and have the dancer leap high over him? Everything in the photos seem to make the dancer superficial. The player looks natural, the dancer interaction looks forced. I don't think the campaign works.


The behind the scenes video is way better than the resulting photos. I don't think the 'can you believe you were right next to those famous players?' moment (not a direct quote) did the ballet any favors.


I wouldn't even know the dancers. When I taught Pilates we had the Bucs quarterback training there (and it was the year they won the Superbowl I believe) and I had no idea who he was. I found out later and still didn't care. LOL


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