Jump to content
California

School of American Ballet Workshop 2014

Recommended Posts

KCTS (main Seattle PBS station) has a British time of day (they call it Tea Time Television) for re-runs of Brit shows from Masterpiece and Mystery.

I agree, the rights element would be the most difficult piece, but I'm afraid that they've looked at the other cable networks that started out as arts programming (A&E, Bravo, Encore) and either transitioned to celebrity television or withered on the vine.

I've been wishing for years for a kind of cafeteria menu with cable television -- I've absolutely no interest in sports, and so am not at all interested in the sports channels, and yet all of the premium bundles (that include programming from Showtime, HBO, etc, and would likely include a specialty arts channel) are stuffed with sports. I'd be happy to pay a premium fee for specific channels, but we can't pick and choose.

Share this post


Link to post

I agree, the rights element would be the most difficult piece, but I'm afraid that they've looked at the other cable networks that started out as arts programming (A&E, Bravo, Encore) and either transitioned to celebrity television or withered on the vine.

I presume this is because they attempted to survive as commercial channels and couldn't. This sort of degeneration isn't limited to arts channels. What passes for "science" and "history" on specialty channels often makes my hair stand on end.

For a number of years I did have a satellite service that allowed me to pick and choose thematic packages, so I had no sports, no lifestyle or home improvement channels and no music videos, but I can't say that what was left over gave me a stupendous television experience either.

Share this post


Link to post

You mean you don't think paranormal mysteries are the heart of science ;)

Share this post


Link to post

I don't doubt that re-negotiating rights would be complicated, but at least PBS could start by making the locally produced content more widely available. It's absurd that KET's documentary about Wendy Whelan, for example, wasn't given a national audience.

And obviously I wouldn't expect the BBC to give PBS anything for free.

PBS doesn't have its own production arm. Virtually all of its programing is sourced from other producers -- either local PBS affiliates such as WGBH (the folks responsible for Antiques Roadshow) or from independent production companies. PBS then distributes the content it acquires to local PBS affiliates on a program by program basis for a fee. (Local PBS affiliates pay a fee for every bit of PBS content they broadcast, even though PBS is owned as a cooperative by local affiliates.) The local PBS affiliates pick and choose from PBS' menu and most, if not all, acquire at least some of their programming from sources other than PBS itself. Presumably any local affiliate would have been free to acquire "Moments of Grace" from KET had they been interested -- as Colorado Public Television apparently was.

Fortunately, we can all watch it here.

Local PBS affiliates have a lot more control over their programming than, say, the local CBS affiliate. That's why some of the programs we Ballet Alerters are interested in never make it to our local PBS affiliates or show up at oddball times.

Share this post


Link to post

I wonder if a PBS affiliate pays less for a program they are going to broadcast once in the middle of the night vs.showing it in prime time.

Share this post


Link to post

Argh, I was hoping for a Hannukah gift of Taylor Carrasco (Discord and War) still being at SAB and Peter Martins having a senior moment and calling up Peter Boal to tell him he has this kid he can't use, but not only is Carrasco in Cincinnati, according to his bio, he went to the PNB Summer Intensive, and PNB knew his dancing.

http://zylopho.blogspot.com/2014/12/pbs-airs-sabs-workshop-performance-this.html

Share this post


Link to post

I wonder if a PBS affiliate pays less for a program they are going to broadcast once in the middle of the night vs.showing it in prime time.

A good question, and not one I have a solid answer to, but friends in other cities and I used to wonder years ago why the main Chicago PBS station would often show Dance in America days later than in New York, for example, and I remember picking up here (in Chicago) that later show dates - not necessarily in the middle of the night - were indeed cheaper.

And presumably, continuing this kind of thinking, it may well be that those PBS stations that aren't carrying this at all don't carry it because they don't perceive it's the kind of thing that pays off when they ask for money. How they decide what their audience will pay for isn't clear to me, though, except for advertising the sale of DVD's of the program just broadcast.

If you want to understand why or why not, then, as the old saying goes, "Follow the money."

Share this post


Link to post

Even though they don't have the same kind of advertising sales metrics to deal with, PBS does extensive research on viewers. Certainly part of that information comes from the donation patterns during pledge drives, but they also survey watchers/donors in various fashions, follow their viewer mail and use other tools. Part of the equation is their organizing mandate from the government - they are not charged with making money but instead on serving the public while not losing too much -- it's a tricky equation.

Share this post


Link to post

One of the things I learned when I did a deeper dive into PBS affiliate funding and scheduling yesterday is that local affiliates are sometimes able to acquire and broadcast material at essentially no cost. It works like this: an independent producer approaches the affiliate and says "Would you like to broadcast a documentary about X?" The local affiliate says "Sure, but you have to find the funding, because we can't pay you for it." "Fine!" says the independent producer, "It just so happens that company Y & foundation Z have agreed to underwrite the production in exchange for a funder credit announcement at the beginning and the end of the program." "No problem!" says the local affiliate, "So long as your content complies with our guidelines, our charter, etc etc." And the thing gets done.

Also, re fees: I believe that the fee schedule takes the size of the market into account as well, so that say, New York's affiliate might pay a higher fee than an affiliate in a smaller market would. I need to confirm this.

Share this post


Link to post

... local affiliates are sometimes able to acquire and broadcast material at essentially no cost...

Very interesting. Keeping in mind the decentralized nature of PBS described above, when that happens at a local affiliate, can other affiliates pick up that material?

Share this post


Link to post

... local affiliates are sometimes able to acquire and broadcast material at essentially no cost...

Very interesting. Keeping in mind the decentralized nature of PBS described above, when that happens at a local affiliate, can other affiliates pick up that material?

I don't see why not as long as they can secure the rights and sort out the funding.

Share this post


Link to post

Even though they don't have the same kind of advertising sales metrics to deal with, PBS does extensive research on viewers. Certainly part of that information comes from the donation patterns during pledge drives, but they also survey watchers/donors in various fashions, follow their viewer mail and use other tools. Part of the equation is their organizing mandate from the government - they are not charged with making money but instead on serving the public while not losing too much -- it's a tricky equation.

It is. Years ago there was a big fuss when NPR began to abandon its concert broadcasts in favor of more and more talk. One reason was that the music lovers were quick with complaints but less quick with donations. The talk show fans were also big donors. PBS should certainly be supporting dance on general principle, but the tricky equation should be kept in mind. Send money and tell them why.

The major PBS affiliate in my area, KQED, shows little in the way of dance. I usually see the dance programs, including the show under discussion, on PBS Life, a cable channel not accessible to everyone.

Regarding the show - enjoyed it hugely. What great kids, and so nice to hear from Kistler, Pilarre, and Schorer. I agree with Amour that Serenade in particular was wonderful, although the ballet is not suited to television (and even less to a computer screen). Martins had good things to say too, as he did in the Jerome Robbins documentary.

Share this post


Link to post

Since HBO is going to stream direct to computers with TV screens attached, I wonder if there might be some hope for The Dance Channel or a PBS Culture channel in the future to do the same?

When I had cable, I realized I only watched about 12 channels out of the 200 available to me. It would have been cheaper for me to subscribe to individual channels, but cable doesn't offer that option. As I understand it, the big stumbling block is the sports channels - ESPN pays billions in Major Sports broadcast fees, and the packaging of various studio owned networks makes it impossible to design packages that keep the premium channels you want, but omit ESPN.

Share this post


Link to post

I've seen Balanchine's version many times, without the Four Cygnets and with Valse Bluette (changed in 1959), with a different ending in the Pas de deux, and I don't remember seeing a male variation. Did they go back to the 50's and re-stage earlier versions to attribute this to Balanchine? I've only seen the magnificent sissone coda entrance in the coda in Balanchine -- Merrill Ashley was always majestic here -- instead of the horrific musical slowdown for a pirouette diagonal, but on the whole it looked different from what I remember.

Share this post


Link to post

the workshop staging of SWAN LAKE is only what Balanchine arranged in part. the cygnets quartet was probably eliminated by the move in '64 to Linc. Cent., or so Arlene Croce once suggested to me. Kistler must have gotten her sense of the choreography for this ubiquitous number from videos of other productions - i don't know of any films of Balanchine's version.

here's what the Balanchine cat. on line says about Balanchine's own revisions:

<<

Revisions: New York City Ballet, changes from first years in repertory: 1956, traditional ending of pas de deux replaced by coda for corps de ballet (to Tchaikovsky's original score rather than the traditional Drigo interpolation); 1959, PAS DE TROIS omitted and new Prince's solo added to that music (Grand Waltz from Act II), replacing original Prince's solo to fourth variation of pas de six (Act III), traditional entrance of Swan Queen in coda rechoreographed; 1964, traditional Swan Queen solo replaced by new choreography (to Un Poco di Chopin, Op. 72, no. 15, 1893, orchestrated by Drigo) and subsequently changed several times, Prince's solo rechoreographed (to music from Act I pas de trois) and subsequently changed several times and often omitted, pas de quatre (DANCE OF THE FOUR CYGNETS) replaced by WALTZ BLUETTE for 12 Swans (to orchestrated version of Valse Bagatelle, Op. 72, no. 11 in E-flat), role of Benno omitted; 1980, traditional Swan Queen solo and entrance in coda restored.

>>

the climactic ending of the segment staged by Kistler finishes not with Balanchine's own moment for Odette flanked and supported by two swan maidens but with a version of the moment - a turned, shoulder lift - that Peter Martins's devised to for his staging of SWAN LAKE.

Share this post


Link to post

Thank you rg -- I missed the "1964" before the change from Cygnets to Valse Bluette, a lovely dance that maintains the mood, as opposed to the Four Cygnets.

I asked because this seemed to me to have Martins' imprint on it.

Share this post


Link to post

I've seen Balanchine's version many times, without the Four Cygnets and with Valse Bluette (changed in 1959), with a different ending in the Pas de deux, and I don't remember seeing a male variation...

I've seen the ballet numerous times, always WITH a variation for Siegfried, immediately following Odette's solo. Most recent NYCB revival, as part of all-Tchaikovsky/Balanchine program, had it. So did Miami City Ballet in its Oct 2008 revival; however, Miami included an earlier Balanchine version of the male solo, to music from the A1 Pas de Trois. Current NYCB version of the Siegfried solo is to the traditional Grand Valse (waltz of the large swans) from the main lakeside scene.

Share this post


Link to post

I hate the Four Cygnets dance performed right after such a sublime pas de deux sets a very different mood. A friend posted this playful version to another board:

The mood is no less playful, but it was very clever.

Share this post


Link to post

"This just in" - in my mail yesterday - in The School of American Ballet Spring 2015 NEWS, bottom of p. 3 under the heading "Workshop Goes National,"

Live from Lincoln Center's presentation of the 2014 Workshop Performances will be rebroadcast on PBS this August 7, 2015 (check local listings for details), making it the first Workshop in history to be presented to audiences in spring, fall and summer.

"check local listings." Yes. Here we go again.

Share this post


Link to post

Here's the PBS Live from Lincoln Center link: http://www.pbs.org/live-from-lincoln-center/home/

"For the first time on Live From Lincoln Center, the curtain will be drawn back on one of the world’s premier ballet academies—the School of American Ballet—with the presentation of SAB’s 50th Annual Workshop Performances. The broadcast features an all-Balanchine program (including Serenade, and excerpts from Coppélia, Swan Lake, and Western Symphony) from its 50th annual showcase as well as rare behind-the-scenes footage, offering a close-up look at the ballet stars of tomorrow."

Share this post


Link to post

I attended the Saturday night program where they taped this show. I was thunderstruck at how gorgeous Serenade looked. Much better than when NYCB performs it, IMO. During intermission an SAB student (who was not performing due to injury) told me that Suki told the students she was teaching it differently than Peter. It shows.

I was amazed by the first soloist to come out in Coppelia (Lyrica Blankfein). Rock solid technique and the poise of a seasoned professional. Also the lead male in Western Symphony (Christopher Grant) was outstanding. Both these dancers received the Mae L. Wien awards. I look forward to hearing more about them in the future.

Does anyone know if any of these dancers made it into NYCB?

Amour, I was particularly taken by what you said about Lyrica Blankfein. Having just seen the video of the 2014 Workshop, I was stunned that not only Blankfein but the lovely Addie Tapp, and Christopher Grant, AND Taylor Carrasco (dazzling in 'Discord and War') were all left off the NYCB apprentice list. I have never been a Martins fan but this was particularly disgraceful and clueless, even for him....and you are right. Serenade bore no resemblance to what NYCB currently does--it was light years better.

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×