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AOL On: Cityballet.comexecutive produced by Sarah Jessica Parker


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#46 Ray

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 07:34 AM

 

. . . I got the feeling watching the videos that NYCB is definitely trying to talk to Middle America as well. Whether or not the videos speak effectively (and responsibly) to the general public is another matter, but I do think this is a kind of outreach effort - beyond the dance community.


At the Friends luncheon last winter, when Parker made a presentation about this series, she said that she is trying to figure out how to get tourists who always take in a Broadway show to venture a little farther north to Lincoln Center and take a look at the NYCB. I do think that was the primary audience for the AOL series.

 

I don't know; the "middle America" argument is as old as a Life Magazine feature on the masculine dancing of Villella.  Middle America (whatever that means) has been watching a lot of stuff about gay life in the past decade or so (Will & Grace, Modern Family, Reality TV, etc., etc.). 



#47 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 07:38 AM

 

. . . I got the feeling watching the videos that NYCB is definitely trying to talk to Middle America as well. Whether or not the videos speak effectively (and responsibly) to the general public is another matter, but I do think this is a kind of outreach effort - beyond the dance community.


At the Friends luncheon last winter, when Parker made a presentation about this series, she said that she is trying to figure out how to get tourists who always take in a Broadway show to venture a little farther north to Lincoln Center and take a look at the NYCB. I do think that was the primary audience for the AOL series.

 

 

Then shouldn't they be making a fuss over what goes on in the THEATER? The tourists don't make pilgrimages to Broadway because they've seen a few featurettes showing actors putting on their make-up or rehearsing in their street clothes. They go because they're going to see a SHOW -- the kind of show they can't easily see in their hometowns, either because there are famous stars in the cast, or because the production values outstrip what a regional theater or touring company can manage, or because the local venue doesn't have the perceived cachet of a Broadway theater.

 

And they know what they're going to get -- the most successful Broadway shows build the "let's go see a show!" experience around some known quantity -- a famous actor, a "franchise" of some sort (Lloyd-Webber, e.g.), familiar pop songs bundled into a juke-box musical, or a storied classic. In this respect, ballets that are not Swan Lake or The Nutcracker are like off-off-Broadway. 

 

The AOL series is a worthy effort, but I'm not convinced that it sells ballet as a theater-going experience. As many others have said: show some dancing!



#48 California

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 09:50 AM

It does seem that the focus on Swan Lake was directed toward newbies, as that got so much attention with the Black Swan film. I gather that the NYCB ticket office in recent years gets calls asking when Natalie Portman is dancing (!).

Do remember that NYCB is also trying to attract hip, young New Yorkers with the fashion designer galas the last two fall seasons and the furniture designers from last spring. And then there was the Paul McCartney score to attract aging baby boomers writing their wills. Whether any of that is working, well...we don't really know.

More traditional outreach includes, of course, things like student/senior/veterans rush the hour before curtain and 2/1 discount offers. I don't know if NYCB (or ABT) does much of that or how successful it is around the country. I hate to see empty seats in a theater -- once the performance is over, they're gone forever. Aggressive outreach to people who are currently on very tight budgets (but might not always be) just seems important to me for all kinds of reasons.

#49 Buddy

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 01:41 PM

 Aggressive outreach to people who are currently on very tight budgets (but might not always be) just seems important to me for all kinds of reasons.

 

'Aggressive outreach to people who are currently on very tight budgets *and might never be able to easily afford a ticket* just seems important to me for all kinds of reasons.'

 

I remember seeing a Mariinsky "Swan Lake" in Chicago put on for free (I paid) for students (maybe four thousand or more) and completely financed by a very generous lady. I thought it was a very fine gesture. I think that a lot of young folks may have upped their appreciation of ballet and orchestra considerably that afternoon.



#50 puppytreats

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 07:48 AM

What theater is the earlier episodes filmed in?  The Koch does not have green seats.



#51 California

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 09:21 AM

What theater is the earlier episodes filmed in?  The Koch does not have green seats.


It looked like much of the series was filmed at Saratoga Springs - the outdoor theater with green seats, outdoor landscaping, horse stables, etc.

#52 Amy Reusch

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 10:36 PM

It seems liie they keep adding new behind-the-scenes clips... Or did I just miss them my first time through?

#53 California

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 06:39 AM

It seems like they keep adding new behind-the-scenes clips... Or did I just miss them my first time through?


From the NYCB e-mail and Facebook postings, it sounds like they are adding a new "extra" each week. They also refer to the regular videos as "Season 1," so let's hope more is in the works.

I also found that photo of the ballerina in purple on the regular NYCB web site -- again, uncredited. But as Sarah Jessica Parker was never a member of NYCB (wasn't she only in the ABT corps?) it seems very unlikely it's her.

#54 ABT Fan

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 10:32 AM

I am pretty certain that SJP was never a professional ballet dancer.  She studied at SAB, but that's it.



#55 California

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 11:05 AM

I am pretty certain that SJP was never a professional ballet dancer.  She studied at SAB, but that's it.


At the Friends luncheon panel a year ago, she mentioned that she was briefly a member of the ABT corps. She made a comment about being in awe of Baryshnikov as a dancer during that time. But she apparently didn't stay long and I can't find exact dates anywhere. I was looking for an on-line source and this one mentions the ABT experience: http://www.aceshowbi.../biography.html

#56 Amy Reusch

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 08:52 PM

I find that bio confusing... Says she was born in '65 and the family moved to Nj in '76 when but shegot a part in a Broadwaybshow, but she joined Cincinnati Ballet before following her family to NYC? Hunh? She joined Cincinnati Ballet when she was 11? Her wikipedia entry makes more sense and does not mention ABT. Probably some reporter got SAB & ABT mixed up? ABT used to have open classes at their school but I suspect she was too young to have studied there and certainly not while she was at SAB. (?)

#57 lmspear

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 07:54 AM

Maybe she was one of the little girls demonstrating the five position at the opening of Etudes or a child extra in Petrushka.



#58 ABT Fan

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 01:57 PM

 

I am pretty certain that SJP was never a professional ballet dancer.  She studied at SAB, but that's it.


At the Friends luncheon panel a year ago, she mentioned that she was briefly a member of the ABT corps. She made a comment about being in awe of Baryshnikov as a dancer during that time. But she apparently didn't stay long and I can't find exact dates anywhere. I was looking for an on-line source and this one mentions the ABT experience: http://www.aceshowbi.../biography.html

 

 

I find that bio confusing... Says she was born in '65 and the family moved to Nj in '76 when but shegot a part in a Broadwaybshow, but she joined Cincinnati Ballet before following her family to NYC? Hunh? She joined Cincinnati Ballet when she was 11? Her wikipedia entry makes more sense and does not mention ABT. Probably some reporter got SAB & ABT mixed up? ABT used to have open classes at their school but I suspect she was too young to have studied there and certainly not while she was at SAB. (?)

 

That's what I thought.  I've sometimes seen journalists write that a dancer danced or is dancing with "ABC" company when in fact that dancer is/was only a student with the ballet company's school.  Unless back in 1976 Cincinnati Ballet was a pre-professional ballet company, she wouldn't have joined the company at the age of 11.  (This isn't the Diaghilev era!)  That bio was poorly written anyway, which leads me to think that the writer was most likely confused.

 

SJP's bio on Wikipedia says she was a student at SAB: http://en.wikipedia...._Jessica_Parker.

I don't find Wikipedia the most reliable source, but I've read that in several other places.

 

This is the first time I've heard that she was actually a professional ballet dancer.



#59 vipa

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 04:43 PM

 

 

I am pretty certain that SJP was never a professional ballet dancer.  She studied at SAB, but that's it.


At the Friends luncheon panel a year ago, she mentioned that she was briefly a member of the ABT corps. She made a comment about being in awe of Baryshnikov as a dancer during that time. But she apparently didn't stay long and I can't find exact dates anywhere. I was looking for an on-line source and this one mentions the ABT experience: http://www.aceshowbi.../biography.html

 

 

I find that bio confusing... Says she was born in '65 and the family moved to Nj in '76 when but shegot a part in a Broadwaybshow, but she joined Cincinnati Ballet before following her family to NYC? Hunh? She joined Cincinnati Ballet when she was 11? Her wikipedia entry makes more sense and does not mention ABT. Probably some reporter got SAB & ABT mixed up? ABT used to have open classes at their school but I suspect she was too young to have studied there and certainly not while she was at SAB. (?)

 

That's what I thought.  I've sometimes seen journalists write that a dancer danced or is dancing with "ABC" company when in fact that dancer is/was only a student with the ballet company's school.  Unless back in 1976 Cincinnati Ballet was a pre-professional ballet company, she wouldn't have joined the company at the age of 11.  (This isn't the Diaghilev era!)  That bio was poorly written anyway, which leads me to think that the writer was most likely confused.

 

SJP's bio on Wikipedia says she was a student at SAB: http://en.wikipedia...._Jessica_Parker.

I don't find Wikipedia the most reliable source, but I've read that in several other places.

 

This is the first time I've heard that she was actually a professional ballet dancer.

 

I'm almost 100 % sure she wasn't a professional ballet dance. My husband worked with her on the Broadway revival of Once Upon a Mattress, and she never looked like a highly trained dancer.  Also if she had been in ABT - I think they'd be mentioning it.



#60 California

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 05:03 PM

I was discussing this today with somebody who was affiliated with ABT in that era and doesn't think SJP was ever in the corps -- but might well have taken some classes at the ABT school on 61st street (the building they show in The Turning Point, long since torn down) and seen Baryshnikov in class or rehearsals that way. If I understand correctly, ABT was running open classes in that building, so even if a student were admitted to SAB (as some of the bios suggest SJP was), she might conceivably have dropped in on some ABT classes (or done so before or after her time at SAB).


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