abatt

2014-2015 Season

72 posts in this topic

This is not a good road for NYCB to go down - the road of high fashion with incidental music and choreography. Sad

Share this post


Link to post

This is not a good road for NYCB to go down - the road of high fashion with incidental music and choreography. Sad

I believe this is the third year now that the fall season is opening with the fashion show. I'd be interested in knowing if this is attracting new audiences to regular performances. Are they tracking this somehow? Has anybody seen any data? They do seem to raise a lot of money at the fall gala, which isn't a bad thing.

Share this post


Link to post

They do seem to raise a lot of money at the fall gala, which isn't a bad thing.

The gods know it is a necessary thing.

Share this post


Link to post

The fashion slant for the past 3 galas is because SJ Parker is in charge of (chairperson) of these galas. Her connections seem to be in fashion. No objection to raising money from rich people who want to rub elbows with designers, but their contributions have been less than thrilling, Most of these costumes are not impressive and not well suited to ballet. Examples are the plastic costumes they used for Millepied's ballet that made noise when people moved, as well as Tiler Peck's Altazurra costume in which the strap on her top reportedly came undone mid show.

Share this post


Link to post

The fashion slant has also gotten the gala more celebrities and more press coverage from a variety of sources. If it takes one night with awful costumes and pi├Ęces d'occasion to get the ballet more coverage (and to get new tushes into the seats), I'll take it.

Share this post


Link to post

Instead of going after fashionistas and athletic-event lovers who will most likely never take to ballet as a serious art form, why don't they go after the thousands of symphony-goers who like good music?

Share this post


Link to post

Galas are not particularly about audience-building -- they're about pr and fundraising.

Share this post


Link to post

Instead of going after fashionistas and athletic-event lovers who will most likely never take to ballet as a serious art form, why don't they go after the thousands of symphony-goers who like good music?

Given the difficulties most American orchestras have raising money and building audiences, targeting symphony-goers probably isn't the most fruitful avenue for a ballet company to pursue.

Why wouldn't fashionistas take to ballet as a serious art form?

Share this post


Link to post

No objection to raising money from rich people who want to rub elbows with designers, but their contributions have been less than thrilling, Most of these costumes are not impressive and not well suited to ballet. Examples are the plastic costumes they used for Millepied's ballet that made noise when people moved, as well as Tiler Peck's Altazurra costume in which the strap on her top reportedly came undone mid show.

I gather I am the only person in the world who enjoyed both Benjamin Millepied's choreography and Iris Van Herpen's costumes for "Neverwhere." I enjoyed "Spectral Evidence" too, although I gave Olivier Theysken's costumes higher marks than Angelin Preljocaj's choreography, which is a guilty, guilty pleasure. Sigh. It is very lonely over here.

In all seriousness, NYCB's costume shop may be tip-top, but many of the company's costume designs -- most done by theater professionals -- leave a lot to be desired. They STILL haven't gotten "Who Cares" right, and the company's propensity to put its ballerinas in variations on the 50's cocktail dress drives me around the bend. ("Walpurgisnacht" in particular looks like it should be renamed "Debs Gone Wild," and don't get me started on "Les Carillons.") I've got 99 NYCB problems, but the Rodarte costumes for Millepied's "Two Hearts" ain't one.

So really, I'm pretty much OK with the couturiers, but I do wish NYCB would let Marc Happel do more on his own. I loved the crinkled paper tutu he did for "Les Bosquets" as well as the ruffly skirts for "Luce Nascosta."

Share this post


Link to post

What would fashionistas pay attention to when watching Balanchine's Black and White ballets?

I think symphony audiences might be a rich pool. They like music and a lot of ballet since 1890 uses really good music and often makes it (the music) more interesting.

Share this post


Link to post

Abatt, many thanks for this article. Not only was Balanchine historically placed to work with Stravinsky, Stravinsky was unbelievably fortunate to have his music set by Balanchine. (As an aside, last spring while teaching an adult ed class about Balanchine's ballets and the music he used, after watching Serenade one of the participants said "I had no idea Tchaikovsky's music was so beautiful!). For an upcoming video series on Balanchine's ballets when people who are new to ballet ask about it I tell them, if they like "classical" music, they'll like the class.

Share this post


Link to post

What would fashionistas pay attention to when watching Balanchine's Black and White ballets?

I think symphony audiences might be a rich pool. They like music and a lot of ballet since 1890 uses really good music and often makes it (the music) more interesting.

The steps, of course, just like everybody else. wink1.gif I don't think an enthusiasm for fashion and a taste for ballet are mutually exclusive. In fact, I suspect that they might complement each other: ballet is visual and stylized, much as high fashion is.

Sure people who enjoy attending orchestral concerts might also like the ballet and it wouldn't hurt to let them know that they'll hear something besides 19th century theater music. And of course they already know that buying a ticket and showing up at the theater for a live performance is a thing, so there's that battle already won. But given that they are apparently shrinking in number and graying along with the rest of us, I don't think crafting a marketing campaign that specifically targets them would materially ratchet up audience growth, which is what every arts organization is scrambling to do. And frankly, I wouldn't want to compete with Carnegie Hall's board for gala dollars.

Some music lovers won't like what they hear at the ballet, though. They might object to the quality of the playing or to the adjustments in tempo and phrasing that are required to make concert music danceable. And a lot of them would blanche at the thought of having to listen to anything composed after 1890.

Share this post


Link to post

Some music lovers won't like what they hear at the ballet, though. They might object to the quality of the playing or to the adjustments in tempo and phrasing that are required to make concert music danceable. And a lot of them would blanche at the thought of having to listen to anything composed after 1890.

Some years the NYCB orchestra played a greater percentage of music composed in the 20th century than any other orchestra in NYC

Share this post


Link to post

What would fashionistas pay attention to when watching Balanchine's Black and White ballets?

Good-looking, extremely toned young men and women, many of whom could double as models themselves. Seems like a fit to me.

Share this post


Link to post

NYCB just sent out information on their Adult Movement Workshops for 2014-15. Tickets go on sale August 11, same day as single tickets for performances. Last year they did just one class, which sold out quickly, so it's nice to see this expansion. As I posted earlier, these really are fun, especially when they teach a brief excerpt from their actual repertory. As you can see from the picture, nobody is out of place!

http://www.nycballet.com/Educate/Public-Programs/Ballet-Essentials.aspx?utm_source=wordfly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=F15EducationSATBWGBalletEssentials&utm_content=version_A

Share this post


Link to post

NYCB just sent out information on their Adult Movement Workshops for 2014-15. Tickets go on sale August 11, same day as single tickets for performances. Last year they did just one class, which sold out quickly, so it's nice to see this expansion. As I posted earlier, these really are fun, especially when they teach a brief excerpt from their actual repertory. As you can see from the picture, nobody is out of place!

http://www.nycballet.com/Educate/Public-Programs/Ballet-Essentials.aspx?utm_source=wordfly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=F15EducationSATBWGBalletEssentials&utm_content=version_A

What an excellent project -- the slideshow is great!

Share this post


Link to post

NYCB used to partner with New York Sports Club in offering beginner classes in ballet movement. Not sure if that partnership still exists, but this seems like a similar type of class.

Share this post


Link to post

NYCB used to partner with New York Sports Club in offering beginner classes in ballet movement. Not sure if that partnership still exists, but this seems like a similar type of class.

I've looked around on the NYSC schedules and could never find anything. One nice thing about these NYCB workshops is that they are held in the Rose Building, in the actual NYCB rehearsal studios with principals and soloists from the company. It's fun to take a look at what the place looks like and see these dancers demonstrate and explain. A company pianist accompanied the class, another treat compared to the usual adult classes. I gather these have been held in recent years at the Kennedy Center, but never before in NYC.

They did raise prices (from $15 to $22) and added the reception. At the one last January, a lot of people hung around asking for autographs and photos with Ulbricht, so the reception seems a better solution. If they raise a little money for the company, that's fine, too.

Share this post


Link to post

Total Body Trifecta in Ballston Spa near Saratoga does something similar every year with Andrew Scordato when NYCB is in season there and I cannot TELL you how much fun it is! So far I've learned bits of Rubies ("Emeralds is romantic, Diamonds is classical, and Rubies is hot and sexy... and so are you ladies so we're going to do Rubies" dixit Andrew smile.png ), the opening corps part for the last movement of Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and this year, the arms for Justin Peck's Everywhere we go. LOVED it.

Share this post


Link to post

Total Body Trifecta in Ballston Spa near Saratoga does something similar every year with Andrew Scordato when NYCB is in season there and I cannot TELL you how much fun it is! So far I've learned bits of Rubies ("Emeralds is romantic, Diamonds is classical, and Rubies is hot and sexy... and so are you ladies so we're going to do Rubies" dixit Andrew smile.png ), the opening corps part for the last movement of Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and this year, the arms for Justin Peck's Everywhere we go. LOVED it.

Daniel taught us the opening movements of Concerto Barocco and a jazzy segment from Who Cares, along with some brief arm movements from Rubies. And "performing" these to live music by a NYCB rehearsal pianist was such a treat. No matter how klutzy and out of shape you think you might be, there are others who are even klutzier and more out of shape. But nobody cares -- we were all working so hard at doing those steps. I think these classes are great and if they make a little money for the company, even better!

Share this post


Link to post

A few years ago the Times sent its chief music critic to some ballet performances, and his thoughts were pretty interesting. He felt that ballet audiences were more adventurous when it came to music than the audiences for the symphony.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/arts/music/13martins.html?pagewanted=all

Years ago I listened to a radio documentary about Stravinsky, and one of the interviewed scholars mentioned that once upon a time he and his fellow students would attend NYCB performances to hear Stravinsky pieces, especially from his serial period, that were never performed in concert halls.

Share this post


Link to post