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2017-2018 season

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12 hours ago, Kaysta said:

This whole “NY friends of PA Ballet” is ridiculous.  Apparently NYers get advanced notice of casting, before those of us who live in and regularly support the company.  

I think I’m done with PAB.

On their website, it says that "New York Friends of PA Ballet was created to recognize these dance lovers who receive casting news before the general public, in order to make their travel plans...."

That explanation might fly if this was Houston Ballet or Miami City Ballet or.....or...., but not when you're less than 90 minutes away on Amtrak with plenty of trains running daily.

That's a slap in the face to Philly ballet go-ers.

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14 hours ago, Kaysta said:

This whole “NY friends of PA Ballet” is ridiculous.  Apparently NYers get advanced notice of casting, before those of us who live in and regularly support the company.  

It's very peculiar. If you look at their Friends levels, nobody gets advance notice of casting or even an opportunity to buy tickets before the general public! The Development Office needs to take a serious look at that!

http://paballet.org/support/giving-levels-benefits/

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It is definitely a slap in the face to those of us who regularly support the company.  Apparently, Angel thinks the NY audience is more important than his Philly audience.  Guess what, Angel?  I care about casting too.  I wait until casting is up before I buy my tickets, so now I get second pickings for seats after NYers select?  That's a bunch of crap.  I think I'm going to be frequenting Washington Ballet and NYC much more now.

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I took a look at Pennsylvania Ballet's 2015 and 2016 form 990 filings, which are publically available at Guidestar. For the 2015 filing, revenue exceeded expenditures by slightly more than $2 million. But for the 2016 filing, year-to-year revenue declined by close to $3 million while year-to-year expenditures increased by slightly over $1 million. (For the 2016 filing as a whole, the company ran a deficit of $2 million.)

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On 11/27/2017 at 1:13 PM, Kaysta said:

It is definitely a slap in the face to those of us who regularly support the company.  Apparently, Angel thinks the NY audience is more important than his Philly audience.  Guess what, Angel?  I care about casting too.  I wait until casting is up before I buy my tickets, so now I get second pickings for seats after NYers select?  That's a bunch of crap.  I think I'm going to be frequenting Washington Ballet and NYC much more now.

I am just seeing this.  This is nonsense. Cannot believe their pr department would allow this.

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3 hours ago, its the mom said:

I am just seeing this.  This is nonsense. Cannot believe their pr department would allow this.

They've made several poor choices lately that make me think that they're not talking through the long-range consequences of their decisions. 

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I've emailed them letting them know of my displeasure a few days ago, but I've heard nothing back.  Because of this, I'm discontinuing my monthly donation to them and going to give it to NYCB instead.  If NY is more important than Philly, I may as well give my money to NY too.

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Is Philly-area donor-ship really down that much that they're courting NY?

Do they figure NY isn't as disgruntled as Philly over the slash-and-burn tactics (and continuous re-hashing in the news) that Angel has displayed so they'll be more likely to support them?

Or, is there an ulterior motive hidden somewhere?

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On 11/27/2017 at 5:30 PM, miliosr said:

I took a look at Pennsylvania Ballet's 2015 and 2016 form 990 filings, which are publically available at Guidestar. For the 2015 filing, revenue exceeded expenditures by slightly more than $2 million. But for the 2016 filing, year-to-year revenue declined by close to $3 million while year-to-year expenditures increased by slightly over $1 million. (For the 2016 filing as a whole, the company ran a deficit of $2 million.)

Alarming - a $4 million swing in one year, even allowing that there might be some timing oddities that make it seem even worse than it is. (e.g., perhaps a super-big gift that came in one year, instead of being spread out over two)

But signs of trouble have been there for a long time. E.g., the 2017-18 rep includes Sleeping Beauty in the fall and Swan Lake in the spring. Most 2nd and 3rd tier companies program two guaranteed money-makers a year -- Nutcracker + a reliable warhorse (often Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty). The fact that Pennsylvania was scheduling both in the same year is ominous -- they need the money, need to rebuild audiences, etc.? What blockbusters do they have for next year? Don Q again, so soon after last year?

Another trouble sign this year: the frequent flash sales, last-minute bargain prices on orchestra seats, etc.

I have seen several of their programs since Corella took over and always enjoy them. This is not NYCB or even ABT, but worth seeing. I hope they can work through these problems.  

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1 hour ago, California said:

But signs of trouble have been there for a long time.

Another trouble sign this year: the frequent flash sales, last-minute bargain prices on orchestra seats, etc.

I have seen several of their programs since Corella took over and always enjoy them. This is not NYCB or even ABT, but worth seeing. I hope they can work through these problems.  

Glancing at Nutcracker availability, it looks to be selling better than their Sleeping Beauty and other Fall programs did, but that's to be expected (one would hope anyway).

Let's see if they have any Nut flash sales. That would be ominous.

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Well, I officially just cancelled my monthly recurring donation.  I'll likely still go to a few performances a year, but I'm going to cut back and try to branch out and start seeing the Washington Ballet.

I don't understand why they are doing what they are doing with this NY friends thing.  It's easy to fix the problem, just give all donors advanced notice of casting.  Maybe they figured us locals should just be happy to see whatever cast they throw out and that we just don't care about casting.  And who knows, maybe most patrons don't care.   But it angers me.  And if there is one thing I've learned about Philadelphians in general, is they do not appreciate being seen as less important than New Yorkers. 

Hope Angel raises lots of money from his NY friends.

Edited by Kaysta

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1 hour ago, Kaysta said:

Well, I officially just cancelled my monthly recurring donation.  I'll likely still go to a few performances a year, but I'm going to cut back and try to branch out and start seeing the Washington Ballet.

I don't understand why they are doing what they are doing with this NY friends thing.  It's easy to fix the problem, just give all donors advanced notice of casting.  Maybe they figured us locals should just be happy to see whatever cast they throw out and that we just don't care about casting.  And who knows, maybe most patrons don't care.   But it angers me.  And if there is one thing I've learned about Philadelphians in general, is they do not appreciate being seen as less important than New Yorkers. 

Hope Angel raises lots of money from his NY friends.

People always care about how they are treated. If I lived in the Philadelphia area, then I likely would never give the company another dime in donations. Even if the policy changed (as I hope it does and quickly), it would leave a bad taste in my mouth for quite some time.

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Well if finances are as dire as that report suggest then one can surmise that Angel is betting that NY'ers have deeper pockets? 

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48 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Well if finances are as dire as that report suggest then one can surmise that Angel is betting that NY'ers have deeper pockets? 

"New York friends of Pennsylvania Ballet" is an excellent idea. Giving New York donors privileges unavailable to Philadelphia area donors is not. The donor privilege should be based on the dollar amount--at least in our current economic system where money buys privileges--not the location.  I don't blame Corella exactly because he is not the fundraising professional--but what are his fundraising professionals telling him?

Philadelphia has long supported a number of outstanding cultural and educational institutions. It's reasonable to look beyond local wealth when times are tough for arts organizations, but to slight one's traditional and presumably one's main donor base seems inexplicable to me.

Edited by Drew
Edited to sound less pissed off.

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Thanks, Drew, you state it much more eloquently than I ever could.  I’m not opposed to them wooing NY donors.  I’m just opposed to those donors receiving perks that I, as a loyal donor, don’t receive because of my zip code.

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Finally received a response to my email. They said that advanced casting notice is available to Philadelphians who donate 2500 or more a year.  And that only NY friends who donate the same amount will receive the same benefit.

 

if that’s true, great, but that isn’t what they have on the website.  Still not going to restart my donation to them.

Edited by Kaysta

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Also, let me know if anyone sees anything about advanced casting as a benefit for an above 2500 donation.  I don’t see it, but I’m on my iPad so maybe it’s not on the mobile site.

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23 minutes ago, Kaysta said:

Finally received a response to my email. They said that advanced casting notice is available to Philadelphians who donate 2500 or more a year.  And that only NY friends who donate the same amount will receive the same benefit.

if that’s true, great, but that isn’t what they have on the website.  Still not going to restart my donation to them.

The fact that they haven't updated the web site is telling -- I wonder if they have gotten a lot of complaints, especially from major donors:

http://paballet.org/support/giving-levels-benefits/

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Just now, Kaysta said:

Also, let me know if anyone sees anything about advanced casting as a benefit for an above 2500 donation.  I don’t see it, but I’m on my iPad so maybe it’s not on the mobile site.

Nothing yet. And $2500 is pretty steep for that perk. I'd rather get the opportunity to buy tickets at least a week before general public -- something many companies do.

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Now I just received this email:

 

Quote

The order in which we release casting is dancers, Board, donors and the public, often these list are released within 30 minutes of each other.  Best wishes, Name Redacted

Oy vey.  That is all I have to say.

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2 hours ago, Kaysta said:

Now I just received this email:

 

Oy vey.  That is all I have to say.

Glad the policy has been ‘clarified’ and all donors giving the same dollar amount get the same perks. That sounds right. Perhaps it is what they intended all along and they screwed up the messaging or perhaps not and they have made a quick course correction.

But was the abrupt sounding email you quoted the entire text they sent you? I hope not and they just cut the bit where they thanked you for your continued support and care about the company. Or, that when explaining the policy, they began by saying they were happy to be sure you knew that...etc. etc. 

I would like to see Pennsylvania Ballet be a huge success. It’s been around a long time with a fine reputation. (I saw them once as a child, but have no real memories of the performance.) Bringing in Corella was obviously a bold move and, given his star status, MEANT to be a fundraising coup. Perhaps it will prove so...if he has top notch professionals and staff working with him.

Edited by Drew

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Nope, that was the whole email.  Except it had my name at the top.  I agree it sounded very abrupt and I am quite offended, though I admit I was already mad before she sent the email, so I'm not sure if I'm being hypersensitive.

To clarify, that was the ENTIRE second email with which they responded, after I asked if the donation dollars for both NY friends and PAB donors was the same amount, as that was not clarified on the website.  To be fair to them, they did thank me in the original email for being a donor.

No where on the donor website page does it mention advanced casting notification for donors above 2500.  I think they are trying to cover themselves at this point.  I did tell them that they should list all of the perks available at a given donation, as maybe I would have boosted my donation so that I could get the perks that I wanted.  

Oh well.  The whole process has left me with a very sour taste in my mouth.  It would probably be a good idea for me to just stop going there for a while and branch out and see other companies.

 

 

 

Edited by Kaysta
clarify comments

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On ‎11‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 9:29 PM, Drew said:

"New York friends of Pennsylvania Ballet" is an excellent idea.

What I question is how deep that well may be. It's not like Pennsylvania Ballet is a new company. In addition, New York dancegoers can see ABT perform the multi-act story ballets every spring and summer and can see City Ballet perform the Balanchine repertory year round. Is Pennsylvania Ballet under Angel Corella distinctive enough in either area that it will produce a stampede from New York to Philadelphia? I don't know.

On ‎11‎/‎30‎/‎2017 at 12:01 PM, Drew said:

if he has top notch professionals and staff working with him.

Based on the 2016 Guidestar filing, it would appear that revenue vs. expenditures is a problem. And they definitely need to get a better press person in place.

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