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ABT to perform at Avery Fisher Hall, October 7-10, 2009


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Release by the company:

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE TO PERFORM AT

LINCOLN CENTER’S AVERY FISHER HALL, OCTOBER 7-10, 2009

Five Site-Specific Performances Planned

American Ballet Theatre has announced plans to perform at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, October 7-10, 2009. The engagement was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. ABT will give five performances of repertory work uniquely tailored to Avery Fisher’s stage, including World and Company Premieres.

Avery Fisher Hall is part of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. It is home to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Lincoln Center Presents and is one of the world’s most famous concert halls. Designed by architect Max Abramovitz, Avery Fisher Hall was the first venue at Lincoln Center to open in 1962. Originally named Philharmonic Hall, it was renamed in 1973 after Avery Fisher.

“We are thrilled to appear at Avery Fisher Hall and to continue our presence on the Lincoln Center campus,” said Rachel S. Moore, Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre. “These performances offer a wonderful opportunity for audiences to see dance in a new way.”

Commented Reynold Levy, President, Lincoln Center, Inc, “It is most appropriate that one of the world’s leading ballet companies is able to appear in one of the world’s premier halls.”

American Ballet Theatre’s performances at Avery Fisher Hall will be the first for the Company.

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This is a very curious announcement. Will ABT not perform at City Center in the fall of 2009? Contract up or something? Avery Fisher is a strange theater to perform a "visual" art. The seats are not as raked as they should be for everybody to see the dancer's feet. The stage is not very deep. The balcony seats are very far away from the stage. There's no pit. If ABT can't perform at City Center for its Fall season, maybe it would be better to perform at BAM or even Juilliard's theater space. I hope we find out the explanation for this, maybe in the NY Times.

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This is a very curious announcement. Will ABT not perform at City Center in the fall of 2009? Contract up or something? Avery Fisher is a strange theater to perform a "visual" art. The seats are not as raked as they should be for everybody to see the dancer's feet. The stage is not very deep. The balcony seats are very far away from the stage. There's no pit. If ABT can't perform at City Center for its Fall season, maybe it would be better to perform at BAM or even Juilliard's theater space. I hope we find out the explanation for this, maybe in the NY Times.

In the Times article, it mentioned that CC will be closed for the delayed renovation during 2009.It also mentioned that ABT will have a 3 week fall season in 2008. Could this be a typo error or is ABT extending thier 2008 fall season?

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Thanks bringham, I just read the NY Times article. It would be nice if ABT would do something the City Ballet used to do - bring programs of dance to the other boroughs. ABT could perform at BAM, Purchase, Tilles, and either NJPAC or McCarter. ABT used to have a one-week run when NJPAC first opened.

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In the ABT News article announcing the Tudor Celebration at City Center during Fall '08

http://abt.org/insideabt/news_display.asp?News_ID=221

a two week schedule at City Center is included.

This article is from April and may no longer be current but if it is still accurate then perhaps ABT will perform 10/21/08 thru

11/02/08 at City Center (just 2 weeks) and a batch of performances at AFH earlier in October. This will give them approximately the same number of Fall performances that they have been putting on during the three week City Center seasons.

Hope this makes sense!!!!

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If ABT can't perform at City Center for its Fall season, maybe it would be better to perform at BAM or even Juilliard's theater space. I hope we find out the explanation for this, maybe in the NY Times.

I agree. They are missing a tremendous opportunity for audience building if they don't take the company "on the road" to BAM. It would be perfect for the mixed rep fall season and it would seem that it would be a lot cheaper than renting out AFH.

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I'd guess that if ABT looked at the residences of its subscribers it would find many living on Long Island, Brooklyn and New Jersey. I would have done something around that. Look where the company has the most non-Manhattan subscribers and then offer up a special package around them. And then another one around bringing your Manhattan viewers out to BAM or NJPAC or McCarter (I'm picking venues that are easy to get to from the subway or trains - the Tilles is a trek from the Roslyn station).

Of course, we haven't seen the site-specific rep being created, but since the CC season is really the only time NY gets to see the one-act ballets (the Met season featured just one "mixed bill"), it seems a real shame to use AFH.

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AFH is a terrible hall for the type of performance it was built to accomodate- orchestral performances. That's why the NY Philharmonic tried its best to strike a deal a few years ago with Carnegie Hall. Unfortunately, that deal fell through. As bad as AFH is for orchestral performances, it must be AWFUL for dance performances. In fact, I don't remember ever seeing a dance performance of any kind at AFH. As bad as the sight lines are at City Center, that venue is far superior to AFH for dance.

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I wonder if ABT considered, for 2009, a tri-venue season in the manner of Miami City Ballet and LA Ballet. They could do a week at BAM or Tilles, a week at NJPAC, a week at Purchase (just as examples), perhaps even expanding their ticket-buying base. They could pull in out-suburbs for whom a trek to the city is too difficult for something expensive which they are afraid they won't understand. This could introduce them to the company, cultivate new fans. Inconvenient for the company? A little. But I think it could reap big benefits.

In fact, even after the completion of City Center's renovation, they could possibly institute a three-year schedule of visiting each of the suburban venues on a rotating basis. It may be too late to withdraw from the Avery Fisher commitment, but maybe not to add a week or two in the surrounding counties. Just an idea.

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Each of those sites caters nicely to geographic audience transportation vectors... The Connecticut & Upstate NY fans would travel easily to Purchase... the Long Island fans to BAM... the NJ & Philadelphian fans to NJPAC... Manhattanites would make the trek to BAM without too much complaint.... Choosing one venue would be a mistake, but hitting all three could possibly increase their audience.

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As I wrote above regarding those sites, you can tap into existing subscribers fro those areas. I wonder how many different avenues the company looked into before setting with the one to perform at AFH.

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Here's the latest news on this engagement (from the company):

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE TO PRESENT

THREE PREMIERES AT AVERY FISHER HALL,

OCTOBER 7-10, 2009

Season to Include New Works by Aszure Barton,

Benjamin Millepied and Alexei Ratmansky

American Ballet Theatre will present three premieres in its first-ever performances at Avery Fisher Hall, October 7-10, 2009, it was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

Choreographers Aszure Barton, Benjamin Millepied and Alexei Ratmansky will present new works during six performances at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. All three works will be given their New York City premieres at the Opening Night Gala performance on Wednesday, October 7 at 6:30pm. The works will receive their World Premieres during ABT’s engagement at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, New York, October 2-4, 2009. ABT’s World Premiere works have been generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.

Performances at Avery Fisher Hall will also include Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances and Clark Tippet’s Some Assembly Required on alternating programs.

Aszure Barton will present a new work set to the music of Maurice Ravel. Barton, who previously created Barbara for ABT II, was named the Altria/ABT Choreography Fellow for 2008. She is the Resident Choreographer for Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal and has been an Artist-in-Residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) since 2005.

Benjamin Millepied’s new work will be set to music by David Lang. The premiere at Avery Fisher Hall marks Millepied’s second work for American Ballet Theatre. Millepied is a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. His previous work for ABT, From Here On Out, premiered at New York City Center in 2007. Additional support for Benjamin Millepied’s new work has been generously provided by Cosby W. and Timothy M. George. Millepied's new work is generously sponsored by Michele and Steve Pesner.

Alexei Ratmansky will premiere a new work set to Keyboard Sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. The former Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Ratmansky was named ABT’s Artist in Residence in January 2009. Ratmansky’s new work is his second for ABT; he previously choreographed On the Dnieper for ABT in June 2009. Additional support for Alexei Ratmansky’s new work has been generously provided by Leila and Mickey Straus.

Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances, set to music by Frederic Chopin, will be presented Thursday evening, October 8 at 7:30pm, Friday evening, October 9 at 8pm and Saturday matinee, October 10 at 2pm. Other Dances, a plotless, classical character pas de deux, set to a waltz and four mazurkas by Chopin, was created by Robbins for a gala evening for the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center at the Metropolitan Opera House on May 9, 1976. It received its Company Premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House on June 22, 1976. Other Dances will be staged for ABT by Isabel Guerin. The ballet was last performed by ABT in 2006.

Clark Tippet’s Some Assembly Required is scheduled for performances Friday matinee, October 9 at 2pm, Friday evening, October 9 at 8pm and Saturday evening, October 10 at 8pm. Set to music by William Bolcolm, Some Assembly Required received its World Premiere by American Ballet Theatre on April 14, 1989 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D. C., danced by Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner. McKerrow and Gardner will stage the ballet for ABT. Some Assembly Required was last performed by ABT in 1997.

Superfund Asset Management, Inc. is the sponsor of American Ballet Theatre’s Fall Gala at Avery Fisher Hall. Saks Fifth Avenue is the Leading Corporate Sponsor of American Ballet Theatre's Costume Fund. J.P. Morgan is the Official Sponsor of Make a Ballet. American Airlines is the Official Airline of American Ballet Theatre. Northern Trust is the leading underwriter of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onnasis School at American Ballet Theatre. The 2009 Fall Season is also made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. ABT acknowledges The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund for its generous support of the 2009 Avery Fisher Hall season.

Tickets for American Ballet Theatre’s Fall season at Avery Fisher Hall, priced $20-$135, are on sale beginning July 20 at Avery Fisher Hall’s box office or by calling 212-721-6500. Avery Fisher Hall is located at the northern end of the Lincoln Center Plaza, at the corner of Broadway and 65th Street. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.abt.org <http://www.abt.org> .

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I think this part is pretty interesting:

The works will receive their World Premieres during ABT’s engagement at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, New York, October 2-4, 2009. ABT’s World Premiere works have been generously supported through an endowed gift from The Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.

So this means they'll continue their association with Bard. That's good news, especially with no City Center season.

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As I wrote above regarding those sites, you can tap into existing subscribers fro those areas. I wonder how many different avenues the company looked into before setting with the one to perform at AFH.

Doesn't it sometimes depend on availability of any particular site for a particular time frame? Theaters tend to book their spaces months if not years in advance. Perhaps nothing appropriate was available for the time frame. It will be a challenge, but we can hope the choreographers will rise to the occasion and something wonderful could come out of the venue change.

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I still wonder what these pieces will look like on the AVH stage. I actually did see a ballet performance set on the stage many years ago - May 1972 - to be specific. But I can't remember how they did it except that I vaguely remember clustering the musicians to the back and sides of the stage with the dancers

(Villella and McBride) dancing in the center of the stage. But I remember more the singing portion, Lily Pons(!) was the featured soprano.

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I still wonder what these pieces will look like on the AVH stage. I actually did see a ballet performance set on the stage many years ago - May 1972 - to be specific. But I can't remember how they did it except that I vaguely remember clustering the musicians to the back and sides of the stage with the dancers

(

I'm guessing that each of the new works will have the musicians on stage with the dancers because there is no pit. What an awful hall for a ballet company!

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I still wonder what these pieces will look like on the AVH stage. I actually did see a ballet performance set on the stage many years ago - May 1972 - to be specific. But I can't remember how they did it except that I vaguely remember clustering the musicians to the back and sides of the stage with the dancers

(

I'm guessing that each of the new works will have the musicians on stage with the dancers because there is no pit. What an awful hall for a ballet company!

Several years ago a production of "Pacific Overtures" (Sondheim) from Japan played at Avery Fisher. It was a stunning production and utilized the space in an amazing way. It had an enormous cast, a full orchestra (that I believe was above the playing area), and used a ramp down the middle of the orchestra seating, as well as the full stage. The sets were gorgeous as was the entire production. It had quite a bit of generous movement in it and for that everything fit quite nicely. I'm not advocating a ramp for ABT, but sometimes odd spaces and venues can provide a clever and inventive choreographer a new way of looking at movement. We are so used to the usual stage arrangement. I for one look forward to the possibilities. By the way, I saw this Japanese production on three occasions, each from a different seat in the house (orchestra, side tier box, and way in back upstairs.) Each seating had a perfect view of the stage. Given the right repertoire, it may prove to be just fine!

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abatt's assessment may well be true for the orchestra section, but I doubt it would be so for the tiers along the back of the hall. Of course, for those spectators, the stage will be further away, but at least the head of the person in front of you won't be as bad an issue for most of us -- unless we have the rotten luck to find ourselves behind someone exceptionally tall.

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I wonder if ABT considered, for 2009, a tri-venue season in the manner of Miami City Ballet and LA Ballet.
The more I think about it, this seems like an idea worth exploring, if they haven't already. I'was on the Avery Fisher stage long ago -- wings as well -- and can't imagine a large production fitting there comfortably. (Others have already mentioned the lack of a pit.) It should, however, be okay for productions that can fit in at City Center.

http://www.lincolncenter.org/load_screen.a...al_afh_ts#stage

http://www.lincolncenter.org/pdfs/AFH_Stage_Drawings.pdf

One problem with the tri-venue idea might be that ABT would be cannibalizing a portion of their Manhattan audience, some of whom live in Long Island, Connecticut, or the posher parts of Brooklyn. This is not the case in MCB's region. Since residents in the adjoining counties do not work in Miami and are not likely to drive there for a show. So the company HAS to go to the audiences.

MCB dances each of its programs at the Arsht Center in Miami (Miami-Dade County), the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale (Browad Count), and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach (Palm Beach County). The Kravis is the farthest from Miami, about 90 or so miles. They also perform two programs in Naples on the West Coast of the state.

I don't know about costs, but they do seem to have the logistics down pat. Buses and trucks arrive and depart promptly. Hotel rooms are booked. Each venue has its own Development people. Each provides members for the Board of Trustees, which is divided for certain purposes into Committees for each county/venue.

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