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Ballet and the economy


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A few days ago, I got an email regarding NYCB's offer for twofers for remaining performances of the Nutcracker. I said to myself that if the vernerable NYCB is selling twofers and ABT is doing an online auction to raise money with prizes such as taking a company class or dinner with Julie Kent, what is going to be the fate of smaller companies? Almost daily on this there are articles posted regarding smaller companies in trouble because of lack of ticket sales to the Nutcracker which is a make or break time for most companies.

I for one worry about the closing of the smaller companies around the country. Where will the dancers go? After all the years of training and sacrifice, then what?

Last year, when Florida Ballet was going through its troubles, I didn't see it as a harbinger of things to come. But I am afraid it was.

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PNB has offered discounts on selected performances, for example tonight and tomorrow night. However, Seattle has been hit with snow, which has turned to slush during the day and freezes at night. I suspect this will put a damper on attendance. We rarely get snow, and even the people who know how to drive in it are rightly terrified of the people who haven't a clue, especially those who think that they can drive their SUVs as if it were 70 degrees (21) and sunny. This is a city where if it's sunny for three days in a row, we forget how to drive in the rain, and are born again all over.

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I read that the Cincinnati ballet had to cancel their Dec. 26 Nutcracker after selling something like 140 tickets in a 2700 seat house. They have also been moving people from balcony to orchestra seats to consolidate the audience for the sake of the dancers.

This is one of the companies that really depends on Nutcracker for its budget.

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If you look at ticket availability for NYCB's George Balanchine's The NutcrackerTM on their site, it has been pretty much sold out all season. When I've gone to buy tickets at the Box Office extremely little has been available. If memory isn't failing me, sales look better than last year, and Nut is much more expensive than rep. There is greater availability for after Christmas performances.

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