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looking for a ballet

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10 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_DaNzMaNiAc123_*

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 06:36 PM

My mother said she would take me to a ballet going on by the New York city ballet. The only concern is the price. We would like to get good cheap tickets. Any ideas for this one? Thank you!

#2 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 07:41 PM

I'm afraid my answer to this one would have to be pick one: Good, or cheap are the choices. Although no tickets are cheap these days! :)

#3 Morris Neighbor

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Posted 20 April 2002 - 08:19 PM

Hey, pick a date and a program and go for it. The cheapest seats in the house (5th ring) are amazingly close to the stage, though your perspective is mostly straight down. (This is experience speaking.)

I have two additional suggestions: buy the cheapest seats you can find, then do an "instant upgrade" at intermission. Few performances sell out, so you can probably find empty seats toward the back or side of other seating areas. Hint: if you have an overcoat (or a large package or anything that might be conspicuous), check it. It's worth the $1.75, plus the quarter tip.

I've always assumed that this was passed on in the student folk culture, but I'm not sure today.

Alternatively, arrive half an hour early and ask for tickets from the nice ladies at the NYCB Guild desk. They have access to unused subscription tickets. While they give you no discount, they give you prime locations. There's no discount, but the locations are prime.

#4 Guest_DaNzMaNiAc123_*

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 04:52 AM

Thank you! Have you ever heard of the fourth ring society thing? How does that work?

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 08:02 AM

The Fourth Ring Society is a promotional device used by City Ballet to provide OK seats to members. The initial membership is $15, but thereafter, tickets for fourth ring seats may be purchased for $12 each (maximum of 2 tickets per performance). It's worth it if you plan on going several times for the winter and spring repertory seasons. Otherwise, I'd say forget it. You wouldn't realize any saving at all.

#6 Estelle


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Posted 21 April 2002 - 09:24 AM

DaNzMaNiAc123, perhaps you already know that, but the NYCB has a web page about ticket booking, with information about ticket prices and availability, at:


From what is written on the site, the ticket prices range from $28 to $76 (the prices for the 5th ring are not written, I don't know if it's different).

Mel, with one Fourth Ring society card ($15) one can purchase Fourth ring two tickets ($12 each), so it seems that it still would be a bit less expensive than buying two normal Fourth ring tickets (15+12+12= $39 instead of 28+28=$56)?

#7 Guest_DaNzMaNiAc123_*

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 09:26 AM

Thank you.

#8 ShesnoFonteynsMom



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Posted 23 April 2002 - 07:09 AM

Student Rush tickets are only $10. Sometimes they are orchestra seats, sometimes 4th ring. You can buy them on-line on the web site or the day of the performance. You must have a school ID when you pick up the tickets. According to the web site you must be in high school or college, but my two ballerinas have purchased rush tkts with elememtary and middle school IDs. They are not available for all performances and you will not be able to sit with your mom unless the seat next to you is unsold.

#9 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 23 April 2002 - 08:20 AM

Fourth Ring Society pays for itself very quickly; the thing is it takes time to join and order, so a little planning is required. The savings are excellent though and the good news is that the State Theater has very good sight lines. You'll certainly be farther away in the fourth ring, but your view of the stage is very good. You should be able to get reasonably priced tickets by at least one of the methods mentioned here; good luck!

#10 Morris Neighbor

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Posted 23 April 2002 - 10:07 PM

Just a quick note on the Fourth Ring Society.

As Leigh points out, you do get great sight lines to the stage. Philip Johnson, the architect, saw to that. But, as one of the theatre's elevator operators used to joke, "oxygen masks and nosebleed treatments are under your seat."

As a former marketing executive, I see the Fourth Ring Society as a classic "sampling" campaign. Give people a chance to sample the company at a steeply discounted price with an added value -- an explanatory chat with a member of the company -- and, if they come to love the company as much as we do, they might become regular buyers at standard prices.

In my student days, on more than one night with vacant seats, I did my own research and discovered that the Third Ring is close enough to make faces recognizable but high enough to save a substantial amoung on a subscription. This is my recommendation to Fourth Ring Society members.

#11 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 23 April 2002 - 10:31 PM

Frankly, I couldn't afford to go to NYCB on a regular basis if there wasn't Fourth Ring Society, so I'm very happy it exists and would not talk about it so disparagingly. Third-ring seats are three times the price. I've never really found the height or distance to be a real issue either, though I know it is for some. At $12 per ticket, I can afford to go more than once a week. I do think it's a marketing tool to get people to trade up, which is why most of the marketing for 4RS is aimed towards 20 and 30-somethings. (Although, frankly, I never had any desire to have better seats than those in the fourth until I sat in my parents' seats in the second ring!) Even so, what NYCB has also done (and in one way or another, the State Theater has done all along in contrast to the Met) is made sure that the people who wanted to go three and four times in a week could afford to.

To return to the original question of Danzmaniac, if you are buying tickets for a repertory performance (as opposed to Nutcracker), especially on weekday nights, the fourth ring usually does not sell out (although it has for all-Balanchine evenings - which I think should tell us something. . .) and the seats closer to the stage (up to around row G) are probably available even on the day of performance. These are about $25. With 4RS, they are $12, but again, you need to order that from NYCB and it takes some time. (Can you do it on their website?)

Another time-honored tactic is standing room. The State Theater is reasonable about their standing room policy. It costs $15 dollars, you stand behind the back seats in the fourth ring, but you are almost always able to sit just as the ballet begins, and the ushers are quite tolerant of this, as opposed to the Met, where they stay to prevent people from sitting. Another reason that in my student days I went to NYCB all the time and almost never went to ABT. . .Sometimes I think these contrasting audience policies are why NYCB's core audience is so different than ABT's.

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