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mussel

Length of Ballet Seasons at Top Companies?

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In yesterday's Times ballet review, Anna K. mentioned of all the top ballet companies (RB, POB, ABT, Kirov, Bolshoi, Royal Danish) NYCB has the longest season at its resident city. NYCB performs 23 weeks in NYC which translates into about 165 performances; while ABT gives 80 perfs over 10 weeks at the Met and City Center.

I am wondering how many performances does each of the top companes give at its home town?

If tours are included, my impression is that Kirov has the most performances.

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Mussel, I thought her comparison was that only NYCB had a resident choreographer, that the other companies mentioned depended on bringing in nonresident choreographers or importing works. (I might add that I don't understand the distinction between the Diamond Project's use of nonresident NYCB choreographers and ABT or the Royal bringing in a choreographer to do a ballet.)

[Edited to say: Sorry, mussel smile.gif I missed that sentence. She made both points!]

The Kirov splits itself into several companies and seems to be everywhere at once! I don't know how much they actually perform at home -- I'm sure it's for a year-long season, as do the Royal Ballets in London and Copenhagen. Yes, they alternate with the opera and don't do 23 weeks back to back, or broken in two chunks, as NYCB does, but they dance from September to June. Paris dances from September to June in two houses.

[ January 08, 2002: Message edited by: alexandra ]

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Originally posted by alexandra:

The Kirov splits itself into several companies and seems to be everywhere at once!


The Kirov performs at the Maryinsky Theatre every season from October till August. I am amazed by the large repertory that they do at home. They do about 5 different programmes every month, which offers a good variety for a visitor who is in St. Petersburg for a short time. When I was there several months ago, I managed to see 3 different programmes in 4 days.

The Royal Ballet nowadays seems to do only one programme per month at Covent Garden on average. They used to do 2-3 different programmes per month.

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This season, the POB season lasts from October 3 to July 15. Sometimes it performs simultaneously in both Paris Opera Houses (Opera Garnier and Opera Bastille), but there also are some empty periods (sometimes because of tours abroad). I don't know the total number of performances (and feel too lazy to count it now on the calendar on the web site) but it should be of the same order as the number of NYCB performances, I think (and probably far fewer than the Kirov).

There seem to be two kinds of programming: one with long runs of a given ballet or mixed bill, as the POB or the Royal Ballet, and one with many works alternating each evening, as the NYCB or the Kirov. If I remember correctly, the POB used to have such an "alternance" until the 1960s or 1970s, and it was modified then (the Comédie-Française still has such a programming). I wonder about the pros and cons of each sort of programming. Alternating many works is more interesting for the people who spend a few days in the city, as Kevin wrote, and a schedule as the NYCB's one is such that there never is exactly the same program. On the other hand, it might be more difficult technically to handle the sets and costumes, and it can only work with a company with a large and steady repertory (Petipa for the Kirov, Balanchine and Robbins for the NYCB), and performing some works only a few times in a season might be a bit too little to enable new dancers to master fully the roles...

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Kevin brought up a very good point, I think, about the fact that the Royal Ballet does only one program a month, where in the past they would do two or three. Program variety is another thing that has diminished over the years. An older colleague frequently bemoans the fact that even as late as the 1980s he could see several programs in a week during a trip to Europe; now it would be a week of Swan Lakes. Supposedly, this has something to do with cost cutting. But it ossifies the dancers and means that princpals, especially, have less stage time.

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I think it depends on when you watch the RB in London just now. This season so far there has only been programme running at a time but later on there are a few ballets being performed over the same period! Both La Bayadere and Giselle are being peformed in March as well as a mixed bill.

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