Helene

National Companies with One Home

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In the "Other Performing Arts" forum we've been discussing reports about how the Met in HD broadcasts have been affecting live performance. Today I read the following tweet by tenor Michael Fabiano, who been performing in Norway.

Final Performance of the Verdi Requiem with the Oslo Philharmonic Today. In countless movie theaters in Norway.

I'm sure many here share the frustration of National companies, whether they be ballet, opera, or symphony or theaters that get large public and private subsidies, but rarely venture out of their home cities, and when they do, it's to travel abroad, like Paris Opera Ballet, or National Ballet of Toronto Canada which occasionally does very limited tours west.

If the Oslo Philharmonic concert is being broadcast throughout Norway, could this be at least some of the answer to sharing the wealth across the country? If I can get up for a 9am "Francesca da Rimini," surely I can go to an 11am showing of most of NBoC's reps. I suspect there would be an audience in France, where time zones aren't an issue, for Paris Opera Ballet HD broadcasts.

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If the Oslo Philharmonic concert is being broadcast throughout Norway, could this be at least some of the answer to sharing the wealth across the country? If I can get up for a 9am "Francesca da Rimini," surely I can go to an 11am showing of most of NBoC's reps. I suspect there would be an audience in France, where time zones aren't an issue, for Paris Opera Ballet HD broadcasts.

The Paris Opera does HD transmissions to movie theaters, about 45 cinemas domestically and about as many in Austria, Belgium and Germany. This season's schedule includes Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Carmen, Don Quixote, Falstaff, The Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler, Hänsel und Gretel, La Gioconda and La Sylphide. http://www.fraprod.fr/index.php

Unfortunately, the transmissions' reach is not as international as I'd like, and frankly they could do more ballet. Perhaps we should encouraged by the fact that this year's Royal Opera House HD season features 6 operas and 3 ballets, while next season's will have 5 of each.

The big potential downside of this model is that it could eventually replace broadcasts on state television. Perhaps cinema broadcasts are more viable financially, but inevitably, they're going to have a smaller audience. I would guess that the chance of the uninitiated forking over a fairly substantial sum of money to go see a ballet or symphonic concert at a movie theater is pretty slim, whereas there's probably a better chance of someone stumbling upon opera for the first time on (more or less) free television and getting hooked that way.

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The big potential downside of this model is that it could eventually replace broadcasts on state television. Perhaps cinema broadcasts are more viable financially, but inevitably, they're going to have a smaller audience. I would guess that the chance of the uninitiated forking over a fairly substantial sum of money to go see a ballet or symphonic concert at a movie theater is pretty slim, whereas there's probably a better chance of someone stumbling upon opera for the first time on (more or less) free television and getting hooked that way.

You make a good point, one that I hadn't really considered since I live in Seattle where public broadcasting shows the bare minimum of dance programming. I think the transitional period may be messy, but in the long term, these kind of broadcasts have great potential, and I'm hoping to see more rather than less.

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I don't know why they'd have to replace broadcasts on TV: Public Broadcasting (PBS) in the US airs the Met HD's. There's usually a lag between the Encore performances and the free TV dates, although I'm not sure if they are a season behind and after the handful of re-runs we get at the beginning of every summer here in Vancouver (where Seattle Public TV is one of the basic cable stations). The Met even produces DVDs of many of the offerings.

I go to the Met in HD's as often as I can, for the big screen and the big sound system, and then I watch them at home. For some, I buy the DVD's.

Ballet's DVD inventory could change drastically if POB, the Mariinsky, the Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, etc. made transmit more often or at least as often as the Bolshoi and released the transmissions to DVD and digital downloads, which would make them readily available worldwide, without having physical inventory.

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I live in Seattle where public broadcasting shows the bare minimum of dance programming.

There is a PBS spot I find really irritating. If memory serves, it features Desmond Richardson relating that as a child he saw Rudolf Nureyev (I think) dance on PBS and how this inspired him to become a dancer. I wanted to shout back at the TV: "And what are the chances of a kid from small-town South Carolina seeing Desmond Richardson dance on PBS today?!!"

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I don't know why they'd have to replace broadcasts on TV: Public Broadcasting (PBS) in the US airs the Met HD's. There's usually a lag between the Encore performances and the free TV dates, although I'm not sure if they are a season behind and after the handful of re-runs we get at the beginning of every summer here in Vancouver (where Seattle Public TV is one of the basic cable stations). The Met even produces DVDs of many of the offerings.

Yes. In fact I suspect that one of the reasons the Met turned to movie theaters in the first place was because its PBS broadcasts had dwindled to a trickle, down from highs of 7 or 8 broadcasts per season in the 1970s and '80s.

2000-01: 3 telecasts

2001-02: 2 telecasts

2002-03: 1 telecast

2003-04: 1 telecast

2004-05: 0 telecasts

2005-06: 1 telecast (the Volpe retirement gala)

But once the cinema series began, PBS was more than happy to broadcast an already finished product. Typically, the performances are aired with a delay of about 4 months. But it may also be that the opera broadcasts have reached a point of diminishing returns. I think I mentioned on the Met HD thread that the two PBS stations I get no longer air all the Met transmissions, and the number of productions that don't air seems to increase with each season.

There have been complaints in the UK that performing arts programs on the BBC are becoming less frequent, and there is some irritation that having already paid taxes that go toward subsidizing the Royal Opera House, people are being asked to pay again to see performances at movie theaters, rather than being able to see the fruits of their taxes on television as in years past. On the other hand, as with the Met, the number of performances being filmed has increased.

So I suppose it could go either way.

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I live in Seattle where public broadcasting shows the bare minimum of dance programming.

There is a PBS spot I find really irritating. If memory serves, it features Desmond Richardson relating that as a child he saw Rudolf Nureyev (I think) dance on PBS and how this inspired him to become a dancer. I wanted to shout back at the TV: "And what are the chances of a kid from small-town South Carolina seeing Desmond Richardson dance on PBS today?!!"

Alas, I'm afraid they are almost nil.

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There have been complaints in the UK that performing arts programs on the BBC are becoming less frequent, and there is some irritation that having already paid taxes that go toward subsidizing the Royal Opera House, people are being asked to pay again to see performances at movie theaters, rather than being able to see the fruits of their taxes on television as in years past. On the other hand, as with the Met, the number of performances being filmed has increased.

So I suppose it could go either way.

I pay for the HD in the movie house knowing that there's a great chance I'll see it again on PBS because in the movie theater, it's on a big screen with a much better sound system than I have. That's what I always thought I was paying for. It's like the difference between seeing "Star Wars" in the theater vs. on TV: it's just not the same. I'm not someone who happily gets up before 8am on a weekend,but I've found the Met in HD worth it, apart from the communal feeling of watching something live at the same time as people halfway across the globe.

I would think if PBS was willing to air Met in HD operas because they were ready-made and they didn't have to have a producer, there's little reason why British TV wouldn't come to the same conclusion.

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I pay for the HD in the movie house knowing that there's a great chance I'll see it again on PBS because in the movie theater, it's on a big screen with a much better sound system than I have. That's what I always thought I was paying for. It's like the difference between seeing "Star Wars" in the theater vs. on TV: it's just not the same.

I absolutely agree about the difference between a screen in the theater and the screen on my 10-year old television! But the analogy gets more complex when we talk about a performing art, since we add another option to the mix. There's the performance on my television, whether it's broadcast or DVD -- it's convenient (especially for people who aren't very mobile, or have transportation challenges), it's inexpensive, but the image and sound quality is often mediocre. There's the performance at the movie theater -- it's all bigger (image size, volume, space in general), and in many cases it's work that you otherwise would not be able to see. The price point is in between, which is a deciding factor for some people, but it's not the live thing. And then there's the performance in the theater -- no need to list the pros and cons on this.

I see all of the above, sometimes to see the same work, but I don't look for the same experience in each. And that might be part of the trouble with how they're currently marketed -- I think the assumption from live presenters is that people will always default to the easier (or cheaper) option, but the marketing that I've seen tends to emphasize the equivalence of it -- it's all "Aida," not often "Aida live," "Aida in HD," or "Aida in your living room."

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I think the Met does the opposite and that's why it's always "Met in HD" in the cinema, and Great Performances for the TV versions. "Met in HD" is the brand, and, if anything, I think they're trying to sell a season, not specific operas.

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I think the Met does the opposite and that's why it's always "Met in HD" in the cinema, and Great Performances for the TV versions. "Met in HD" is the brand, and, if anything, I think they're trying to sell a season, not specific operas.

I didn't make myself very clear, but you've tidied up my loose ends here -- you're likely dead right that the Met is hoping to sell the series subscription, but they're still emphasizing the equivalent part -- it's the Met, no matter where you see it.

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From an interview with David Bintley and other artistic directors in the New York Times (emphasis mine)

"There is no doubt that new media and the technology that makes HD screening possible has given us a whole different kind of exposure. We’ve done a few screenings, and are trying to strike agreements with the dancers and the musicians so that it can happen more often. Even though there is no money in it, it is a fantastic marketing tool, and we have found that it actually brings audiences in, rather than taking them away, as many people feared."

This year the Canadian Opera Company had to cease its RADIO broadcasts on the CBC because paying the artists was more than it could afford and the CBC was no longer paying for it. And radio is a lot cheaper medium than live HD transmission.

"National Ballet of Toronto Canada which occasionally does very limited tours west."

Is this NBOC bashing necessary? EVery other year to Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Vancouver Island is not what I would call "occasionally" and "limited".

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"National Ballet of Toronto Canada which occasionally does very limited tours west."

Is this NBOC bashing necessary? EVery other year to Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, and Vancouver Island is not what I would call "occasionally" and "limited".

The biennial tour which should have taken place this fall is not happening, and the tour before last was cancelled at the last minute, leaving local presenters in a real bind. I agree with Helene on this one. It's not a question of bashing the company per se, just wondering whether it should really be called "National" when its reach is anything but.

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I do the Ballet Alert! calendar, and I know where the company has been and has not been. NBoC's idea of a domestic tour is a run in Ottawa.

NBoC has canceled this year's Western Tour because of funding, but it's bringing the Ratmansky "Romeo and Juliet" to London and "Giselle," "The Four Season," and "Emergence" to Saratoga Springs. The biennial tour in 2009 was canceled as well, after having dropped Winnipeg and Saskatoon from the original itinerary. According to the press release for the 2011 Western Tour, Winnipeg was added for the first time in 14 years, and it skipped Saskatchewan. In Nanaimo, Victoria, and Vancouver only, Karen Kain brought a small group primarily for a benefit for Ballet BC, which was in danger of never re-opening.

I would be much more interested in seeing three or four broadcasts of the Toronto performances in a movie theater, so I could see what London and Saratoga Springs are seeing, and so could the people in Regina, Saskatoon, Quebec, Charlottetown, Halifax, etc.

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In order to have a properly informed discussion of this question of how better the NBOC could serve its Canadian audience, I think we need answers to the following questions. I don't have them, but perhaps helene and volcanohunter can provide them.

Re: "three or four broadcasts of the Toronto performances in a movie theater"

1) How much would the dancers' and orchestra unions require that their members be paid for each one of these over and above their salary (because they would require it)

2) How much would it cost to acquire the equipment to film the broadcast, install it in the opera house in Toronto, pay the technicians to operate it, book the satellite time to transmit it, and whatever other costs are involved?

3) Would the Canadian Opera Company, which owns the opera house, charge more for this (as I understand it, they charge the NBOC for just about everything they can)

4) Is Alexei Ratmansky even willing to have his Romeo filmed for live broadcast? how much would he charge extra for the rights to his production for a live broadcast? How about the designer, Richard Hudson? The same questions apply for James Kudelka and Santo Loquasto regarding Swan Lake and Cinderella.

5) Once we have a costing for this undertaking (times "three or four"), can anyone suggest the names of people who would be willing to cough up the money (in addition to the huge amount of fundraising the NBOC has to do already every year just for its operating expenses and new productions). As I understand it, when the NBOC did a live broadcast of its Nutcracker a few years ago, it had to raise something over $100,000 to pay for it and then took a bath financially. And that was Nutcracker, a relatively easy sell to movie theatres, funders etc.. And I believe there was resistance from the other Canadian ballet companies who felt that NBOC was poaching their own audience. How easy or otherwise would it be to convince a movie theatre in Regina that they should have a showing of "Emergence"?

Look at how few ballet companies actually do live broadcasts: the Bolshoi, the Royal B, and the Paris Opera B, all hugely subsidized. Occasionally Dutch National Ballet. Doesn't that tell us something?

Re: the fact that the NBOC has in fact started touring this year, but not in Canada (other than to Ottawa):

1) Can someone provide a budget comparing the cost of transporting and providing accommodation and per diems for flying a 70+-dancer company plus orchestra plus artistic staff from Toronto to Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria for two weeks to the same cost for transporting them 7 hours by bus to Saratoga Springs for 4 days? If Saratoga Springs came calling offering an opportunity to provide dancers with extra employment in the middle of July, should the company have refused?

2) If a prestigious theatre in London invites the NBOC to perform there, should the NBOC refuse, saying "Well actually we have to fundraise so we can go to Saskatoon instead?" I have nothing against Saskatoon, I grew up on the prairies myself, but seriously.

I'm sorry, but I do consider a comment like "NBOC's idea of a domestic tour is a run to Ottawa" to be NBOC-bashing. As I have said before on this topic, I think this kind of negativity is a case of blaming the victim.

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If NBoC needed $100K to produce one HD "Nutcracker" transmission, the company ended last season with a $154K surplus, and, presumably, it could have shared the riches with an HD broadcast of "The Sleeping Beauty," "La Fille Mal Gardee," or "Romeo and Juliet"? As far as permissions are concerned, Ratmansky allowed cameras into the rehearsal process for a documentary called "Romeos and Juliets," which gives some indication of his willingness to embrace the goal to increase audience interest, and he did it from a more vulnerable place than showing the final work.

The Metropolitan Opera, which has more unions than NBoC to worry about, and whose stakeholders have far more power, reached an agreement with all of them to broadcast a third of the season. Private fundraising is up for the company including funds from donors who've been engaged by the broadcasts, and at least in the West, while some major house like San Francisco Opera or Houston Grand Opera might be upset that they were left behind as the Met acted fast and furiously and established themselves further as "The Brand," according to Speight Jenkins of Seattle Opera, just like opera houses fretted over records, over the Metropolitan Opera Saturday broadcasts, opera on PBS's Great Performances, CD's, DVD's, internet streaming from all over the world, and HD transmissions (live and on tape delay from Europe, each technology brings more interest and money from the audience through donations and attendance.

Looking at the 2011-12 annual report, over 33% of NBoC's attendance that season was for "The Nutcracker," and this is the only ballet where companies large and small, professional and semi-professional, make their annual budget with the participation of many children from local ballet schools, a much higher percentage than NBoC's substantial 1/3. At the same time, HD transmissions were still in the baby stage; the Met Opera was beginning just its 3rd season of broadcasts. NBoC also picked the same day for the transmission as San Francisco Ballet's transmission, and they had direct competition in the theaters nationwide on 13 December 2008, shown on a prime weekend for local companies performances. Is it any wonder that they took a bath and incurred the wrath of local companies with this gross miscalculation instead of broadcasting during a downtime for the major companies (Alberta, Winnipeg, Quebec) and with rep that was rare for those companies? Ballet companies have been dying to find a way to maintain interest in ballet beyond an annual '"Nutcracker" and we can put ballet in the drawer for another year."

NBoC's latest published annual budget for 2011-12 was $29 million, and doing the math from articles/press release announcing Kevin Garland's departure, was up 61% from when Garland took over in 2002. According to the annual budget, 24% of revenue came from grants, but there is no breakdown of federal vs. provincial. 4% of revenue came from the endowment with $40 million assets, of which $10 million was contributed in matching funds by the Canada Cultural Investment Fund. The 2010-11 annual report also thanks Canadian Heritage and a federal minister. There is substantial federal investment in the company. If I were the company, I'd perform in Ottawa, too.

NBoC chooses to spend it's money primarily on its season in Toronto. It chooses to tour outside Canada when opportunities arise. These are the Company's prerogatives. However, it is not a national company by any stretch of the imagination except, perhaps, in the percentage of funds raised through the federal government, and it should not be mis-named "National" of anything.

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I'm trying to follow this discussion, so forgive the teenager who's struggling to acclimate to this site a bit. I started following the thread because NBoC was mentioned, and am just now figuring out the whole meaning of the title. Sorry. flowers.gif

As I understand it, then, Ballet Jorgen would be more deserving of the title of "national" because it tours all over Canada, including small towns, and really brings ballet to Canada's people? The issue being discussed here is the limited accessibility of a company calling itself "national" (NBoC or not), correct?

Sorry to intrude, I just want to make sure I'm understanding this right.

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Some houses like the Met and the ROH invested in their own HD equipment, but this isn't necessarily required. When performances of the Bolshoi Ballet are filmed, Bel Air Media trucks in the equipment and crews from France for the occasion.

The reasons why the National Ballet of Canada pays for the use of the opera house in Toronto are well known. When the house was being built, the Ballet opted out of a proposal to become co-owner of the facility, leaving the Canadian Opera Company to do all the fundraising and investing on its own; COC director Richard Bradshaw felt abandoned and betrayed by the NBoC and remained bitter about it to the end of his days. The Ballet pays rent because it made a strategic decision to become a tenant rather than a co-owner of the Four Seasons Centre.

Besides the behind-the-scenes Romeo and Juliet program, Ratmansky has permitted the filming of The Flames of Paris, Bolt and The Bright Stream, and productions of Le Corsaire and Don Quixote that he worked on have also been filmed, so there's every reason to believe he would approve the filming of his Romeo and Juliet. Likewise, Kudelka's Nutcracker, Firebird and Four Seasons have also been filmed, so he's not opposed to the idea either.

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I'm trying to follow this discussion, so forgive the teenager who's struggling to acclimate to this site a bit. I started following the thread because NBoC was mentioned, and am just now figuring out the whole meaning of the title. Sorry. flowers.gif

As I understand it, then, Ballet Jorgen would be more deserving of the title of "national" because it tours all over Canada, including small towns, and really brings ballet to Canada's people? The issue being discussed here is the limited accessibility of a company calling itself "national" (NBoC or not), correct?

Sorry to intrude, I just want to make sure I'm understanding this right.

Damn, the best questions come up when I have to leave the house. So, a couple thoughts till I get back.

"National" is a flexible term with many different applications. There is the idea of a "national" style (French, Russian, English) that may or may not be exemplified by a particular company, period, choreographer, teacher, etc. There is the idea of a "national" company as one that is the official representative of a country (or of a national style -- see how messy this is), like the Royal Ballet, the Bolshoi and/or the Maryinsky, the Paris Opera Ballet. And there is the idea of a "national" company as one that receives support from the entire country, with the expectation that it include the country (supporter) in its work. In the US, this issue comes up occassionally in reference to whatever support that companies like ABT and NYCB get from the NEA -- it's national money, so the logic goes, and so they should make an effort to be seen by a national audience. I think this is part of the frustration that western provinces in Canada (especially BC) have with the National Ballet of Canada. I'm not bashing the company -- they are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to decisions about touring -- but I can see the logic of the argument.

This is a cousin of the French discussions about the direction of their nationally funded companies -- several years ago many of the companies in the regions gradually shifted their repertories towards a more contemporary direction, with the justification that the POB was the repository of the classical style and repertory, but for audiences in those other cities, who cannot afford to travel to Paris, this was a difficult transition.

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As I understand it, then, Ballet Jorgen would be more deserving of the title of "national" because it tours all over Canada, including small towns, and really brings ballet to Canada's people? The issue being discussed here is the limited accessibility of a company calling itself "national" (NBoC or not), correct?

Ballet Jorgen's mission statement:

To connect with Canadian communities and audiences, making ballet a familiar, ongoing and shared experience. Ballet Jörgen Canada wants to become a national company anchored by its links to communities across the country and built on a foundation that reflects various regions of Canada; a company that makes ballet relevant, comfortable, part of growing up, part of the fabric of regular life, as community friendly as hockey or curling."

"[A]s community friendly as hockey or curling" makes me teary. I don't think just touring or accessibility makes a company a national company; the branches of Ballets Russes became worldwide touring companies, but they weren't national companies, per se, nor were eponymous modern dance companies, like Paul Taylor or Merce Cunningham that toured extensively. I think there are two parts to being considered a national company. The first is presenting to the nation on the whole and the second is representing something about that country's approach to the art. The eponymous companies promised no more than dedication to a particular choreographer.

New York City Ballet became the closest thing to a national company in terms of style, due first to Ford Foundation grant money in the 1960's, which Balanchine was central in distributing for training academies and then to the proliferation of companies run by his dancers as neoclassical companies that performed his work. When there was federal money, it got a lot of it, but it never claimed to be a touring company or a national company. The closest thing to a national company in which Balanchine participated was American Ballet Caravan, which was a touring company funded by the US government to create goodwill in Latin America. NYCB is not "American National Ballet," though, although it has created outreach recently with its NYCB Moves program, which tours with a sub-set of the company in chamber-sized rep, this season to Vail, Jackson Hole, Minneapolis, Detroit, Las Vegas, and St. Louis.

The Joffrey Ballet was the closest thing to an American national ballet company, due to its extensive touring and its commitment to a wide range of repertory, including 20th century ballet classics, a sub-group of which was the Ballets Russes rep. It may have been dismissed as the 3rd ballet company in NYC, but to the rest of the country, the Joffrey was Ballet in America, much the way Winnipeg Ballet Club/Royal Winnipeg Ballet was Ballet in Canada. What it didn't have was a discernible style -- it was far too eclectic -- nor were Joffrey and Arpino considered top-notch choreographers for the ages.

sandik wrote about "national style," and that's true in some cases, like Paris Opera Ballet (still), the Royal Ballet (traditionally), and Royal Danish Ballet (unfortunately, now very "who"-dependent). (The Bolshoi might argue against the Mariinsky representing a Russian national style.) Countries with strong stylistic traditions, like POB and/or tied to specific choreographers like Royal Danish Ballet and the Mariinsky Ballet, tend to maintain the legacy to a degree, with dips and very low points. Other countries without a basis in either style or a specific choreographer change their style and missions more frequently, like Swedish Royal Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, and whatever the national company of Spain is at any given time.

There's a difference between being a Royal ballet and a national ballet: there's no question that a Royal ballet was created for a court and distributed an occasional scrap to the rest of the country at the will of the court or government administrators. The Bolshoi Ballet was a small, relatively remote regional company for more than the first century of its history; it became dominant when Moscow became the government center and a perk. Paris Opera Ballet, for all of the lip service to using part of its huge federal subsidy for the rest of the country is still Paris Opera Ballet, and while, more than any other company in the world -- sad to say -- it is the best exemplar of national style, it's not the National Ballet of France.

National Ballet of Canada is not a national company by anything but name.

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In most countries the "national" designation is given to institutions by the government. For example, in France, besides the Paris Opera, the "national" title is also held by the Opéra national du Rhin, Opéra national de Bordeaux, Opéra national de Lorraine and Opéra national de Lyon, which prefers to go simply by Opéra de Lyon. I don't know why these particular opera houses have been given the title. If the central government were going only by population, the designation should have gone to Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Lille and Toulouse. Perhaps it's a desire to give the highest official ranking to opera houses spread throughout the country, in which case at the moment, the south (Marseille?) and the northwest (Nantes?) are underrepresented.

In North America, the term tends to be bandied about much more loosely.

The National Ballet of Canada was not a project initiated by the federal government of Canada. Rather, it was the brainchild of ballet-loving socialites from Toronto, who invited Celia Franca to come from England to start a private company from scratch. Under the circumstances, to adopt the name "National Ballet of Canada" was audacious to say the least, and along the way Franca was symbolically "punished" for this hubris. When time came to hand out Governor General's Awards for lifetime contribution to the performing arts in Canada, the first batch of inductees in 1992 included Royal Winnipeg Ballet co-founder Gweneth Lloyd (by then Betty Farrally had died), in 1993 they included Les Grands Ballets Canadiens founder Ludmilla Chiriaeff, and only then was it considered proper to induct Celia Franca in 1994.

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It was only in 2006 that Congress designated ABT as "America's National Ballet Company": http://www.abt.org/insideabt/news_display.asp?News_ID=160

I'd love to know the behind-the-scenes machinations that led to this designation, rather than NYCB.

I thought ABT added the "American" long ago to clarify their status before they went on tours during the Cold War, but that is different from the "National Ballet Company" designation and I don't see any explanation on the company's web site: http://www.abt.org/insideabt/history.asp

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Wow, such articulate and interesting responses to my question!

Thank you, everyone, I now have a much clearer idea of what's being bandied about.

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interesting note about the congressional recognition, considering how few Americans dance in the company, particularly in starring roles.

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