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Is Balanchine losing fans at NYCB?


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On the "No Balanchine on Opening Night" thread, Oberon asked

on a nightly basis, what % of the audience has come because of Balanchine and because it's "Balanchine's company"? How many people on a given ticket line want to be sure they'll see a Balanchine work on the programme they plan to attend? Do people choose their subscription series because it has more Balanchine or because Wednesdays are the most convenient night for them to go? Will people avoid going to the opening night because there is no Balanchine; and if TARANTELLA hadn't been dropped would that make a difference?

and answered

My feeling is that on a given night there is a large % of the audience who are not particularly concerned about whether they are seeing Balanchine or not. They have come to be entertained and possibly to be enlightened or inspired;

if they enjoy themselves, are moved or impressed or forget their troubles for a couple hours, they'll count the evening as a success and, hopefully, come back for more. They might find Balanchine's works especially gratifying without really knowing why. Or they may think AMERICAN IN PARIS is the cat's pajamas.

Canbelto wondered rhetorically

when was the last time anyone went to a NYCB program just to see a Martins ballet?

There are a number of interlocking questions here and I'd love to hear more people offer opinions. Are the all-Balanchine bills not selling as well as the new works bills? Is the audience for the all-Balanchine bills older than for other bills? Does the glamour of a premiere seem to be a bigger draw for younger NYCB ticketbuyers than a work advertised as a masterpiece by a genius?

Even more, I'm wondering why Balanchine isn't a bigger draw nowadays. Are the ballets too familiar? Are the newer works better danced? Is (my pet theory) Balanchine too much the romantic in an unromantic age? Is the audience on the whole less educated about the arts and correspondingly less serious and thus less discriminating? In other words, is the audience too dumbed down to note a difference in quality between the latest Martins leotard ballet and Agon?

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I think that in this instance it has more to do with Martins wanting to say "twenty years later--my company--deal with it". This is anecdotal, but in my experience all-Balanchine programs tend to nearly sell out, while at programs leaning more heavily on Martins, and even Robbins, one tends to see a sizable number of empty seats, sometimes a third or more.

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I'd agree with Roma, jut based on my experiences trying to get tickets. Now, I'm aiming for 2d ring which ain't cheap, so this may not tell you anything about what newer/younger fans, who I'm guessing have less disposable income, want to see.

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I'm 29, and I buy tickets specifically on Balanchine evenings. It's that repertory that interests me. But I'm a dancer. And I've always had a strong interest in 20th century modernism in the arts.

I don't want to offend Mr. Martins, but none of my friends (all in their 20s--mostly younger than me, and dancers) enjoy Martins ballets.

The Stroman thing was popular. Personally, I thought it was fluff, but entertaining. I'd bring a date or friends to see it.

My non-dancer coworkers, also all young artists types, prefer City Ballet over ABT. They like to see a mixed bill. A variety of programming in an evening. When they give me feedback, it's usually about the dancers, rather than the content of the work.

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