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What Drives You to See a Performance--Part 1

Why You Go  

51 members have voted

  1. 1. What is the main reason you see any given performance? (One answer)

    • To see particular non-related dancers, no matter what the work
    • To see my relative/child/friend, no matter what the work
    • To see particular works, no matter who's dancing
    • To see particular dancers dancing specific works
    • It's on my subscription
    • It's my profession-my publications determine market/companies
    • It's my profession-I pick companies/performances
    • I have little opportunity to see ballet, and I see what I can
  2. 2. What kind of ballet market do you live in? (One answer)

    • Local/regional professional company(ies), many touring companies
    • Local/regional professional company with no overnight needed, few or no touring companies
    • Closest professional company requires overnight or very long drive
    • No close professional company, closest touring companies require overnight or long drives
  3. 3. Do you travel to see ballet? (Multiple answers allowed)

    • No
    • Overnight or weekend trips
    • Longer trips for mainly for ballet
    • Longer trips where ballet is one activity

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In the balletomane poll, Ray asked:

Most of us attend ballet performances for a variety of mixed motives. But if you had to characterize your reasons in one of three ways, would you say that in the main you generally attend ballet performances to see:

( ) particular dancers, no matter what the work

( ) particular works, no matter who's dancing

( ) particular dancers dancing specific works

Again, this is asking you to
your experience (but you could interpret "particular dancers" to mean "particular companies"; similarly, you could interpret "particular works" to mean particular
of works, i.e., the classics, or particular choreographers)

This is part 1 of a two-part extended poll based on his original question.

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For me, rep drives the choice more times than any other thing, including whether I'll see more than one performance.

I'm lucky in that in the three companies I mainly see -- Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Arizona, San Francisco Ballet -- I like so many of the dancers that 99% of the time it doesn't matter who is cast. Where I'm disappointed in casting is usually when I've tried to see different casts and they're rearranged so that I see the same cast. I'm sad that Korbes was injured, and I'm still hoping to see her Girl in Mauve this week, but I can't feel "robbed" by seeing Mara Vinson's superb performances last week. There are exceptions: I really did feel like I won Lotto when the performances of SFB's "Swan Lake" and "Rubies" for which I bought tickets in advance before casting was published featured Tina LeBlanc in her final season.

When it comes to few visiting companies (I to them or both of us to each other), which is much rarer for me, I'll pick by dancer, and assume that this will blow up by the time performances come along. I really have wanted to see Part live for a long time, and I based my ABT "La Sylphide" ticket-buying around her (fingers crossed), and I admit to being one who, given my druthers, will avoid Somova in classical full-length leads. (Although I picked to see Part in "La Sylphide" to see "La Sylphide". The canceled Osipova was disappointing, but she wasn't the driver for the trip.) But how wrong can I go with a Bolshoi "Bayadere" or "Le Corsaire", no matter who is dancing?

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Could you say specific works with particular dancers? Or specific works, except with a couple of particular dancers? Or particular works you will not see even with your favorites in them--dances that blur or suppress the charm and integrity of the dancers.

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For me, rep drives the choice more times than any other thing, including whether I'll see more than one performance. [...] I like so many of the dancers that 99% of the time it doesn't matter who is cast. Where I'm disappointed in casting is usually when I've tried to see different casts and they're rearranged so that I see the same cast. [...] There are exceptions [...]

When it comes to few visiting companies (I to them or both of us to each other), which is much rarer for me, I'll pick by dancer, and assume that this will blow up by the time performances come along. [...]

I'm in complete agreement on every point (though the companies, casts, and often the rep are, of course, different in my part of the U.S.). :clapping:

I don't travel specifically to see ballet, though I will adjust the time frame within reason to allow for something I really want to see. Usually, however, I go to whatever is available and find it possible to suspend judgment and just have a great time. (There's always something worth focusing on, and the theaters themselves and even the audiences can be beautiful and fascinating. )

I AM more inclined to play the compare-and-contrast game when Balanchine is performed, I notice.

I hope we have many, many, many responses to this and the related poll. Helene has given us so many choices, that almost everyone should be able to select something from just about every question.

And ... please! ... tell us something about how and why you voted.

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I think I'm the first one to vote for the "I have little opportunity to see ballet, and I see what I can". Now, this is just because of my current geographical situation. Living in Miami, and with the "seasonal" guideline that ballet follows , at least here, I need-(and I like)-to go to all ballet-related events that I can. Besides MCB, I'm glad to get at least three other less powerful Companies-(Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, Ballet Gamonet and Ballet Etudes)-that I can go and see the works that Eddie's troupe doesn't offer in its repertoire. When I was in Havana, with non interrupted performances all year around, I certainly discarded many performances due to a non favored dancer or a non attractive work. Also, the fact that Eddie follows the non-star system here, and hence performers are not listed in advance, makes the situation even more difficult, si I just go and see all I can...

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I guess I'm just too easy :wink::clapping: .............

My most honest answer is "all of the above".

Maybe that's what makes me a balletomane..... :lol::lol::lol:

[later edit......I neglected to mention the pick I did make; it was: "To see particular non-related dancers, no matter what the work".....probably because there are few ballets I truly dislike, and my fascination with dance is firmly centered on the dancer him or herself.]

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The first question was hard. There have been dancers I'd see in anything. Ok, not ANYTHING but almost anything. My rock-bottom characterization of a truly awful ballet remains "I wouldn't go to see Gelsey in it." But I bit the bullet and chose "particular dancers in specific works," because that works for me about 85% of the time.

Sometimes, if I haven't seen a visiting company in quite a few years, the lead dancers will be largely unfamiliar to me. YouTube, of course, helps us roughly evaluate some in advance. Or I will have a chance to see a new ballet with an unannounced (or unknown, or single) cast, so it becomes a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

I am going to ABT tonight to see a single ballet on a mixed bill. I saw Ratmansky's "On the Dneiper" premiere last night on a program that I felt disadvantaged the new ballet. I'm going back tonight to see it alone, because I want to be able to evaluate it fairly. Also, I do want to see the dancers who are scheduled to dance. Don't quite know how I'd characterize the "why" for that one. :wink::beg:

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Helene, this is a great poll.

I like the fact that there are several sections which keep refining the question so that by the time I've finished I feel less misrepresented than usual, AND you've provided an opportunity to write a little essay to explain....

I write about dancing, and am lucky enough to pick mostly what I think is interesting and my editor will go along -- when there's space.

But it's also the case that I write about dancing because in the car on the way home I'm still talking about the ballet when everybody else is changing the subject, and I'm constantly interrupting to say "Did you see how Sarah initiated her pirouettes with the back of her head?" or some such... I DO also take ballet class regularly, and come recital-time always go see friends/classmates perform.

And furthermore Carbro's "definition of a bad ballet as something I wouldn't see with Gelsey in it" should be printed up on T-shirts and coffee mugs, it would sell big time. I'll buy one right now.

Me, I believe in emploi in its largest sense. Ballets need the right dancers. I'd rather see Lorena Feijoo as Kitri than ANYBODY, except Osipova -- certainly not Zakharova, whom I DID see kick herself in the back of the head without arching her back, but what's Spanish about that?

AActually, what drives me to ballet was best summed up by my teacher Sally Streets, who said "Ballet is one of htose things you do in ofrder to find out why you do it." If you don't do it, you go see it, but it's essentially the same. You go in order to find out why you care.

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It's probably hard to have one same specific reason for seeing a performance. When a new production is staged the motivation may not be the casting as much. While casting may be the overarching motivation when seeing performance of stagings one has already seen.

And of course you need to factor in the over all experience of the ballet goer. In the beginning of the journey you are probably just soaking up as many different ballets as you can and not quite into the casting nuance which comes after you developed some level of experience with various dancers. The casting as driving force seems to be at play for experienced ballet goers in general with a new staging as a strong motivator.

Whatever the reason, the more you go, the more you see in each performance.

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New choreography gets me into a theatre more readily than the other options listed, also rarely performed works of merit from the past, but I voted for specific dancers in specific works, partly because of present dissatisfaction with my local company (RB) and because I take great pains to avoid those ghastly tasteless women that over-extend at every opportunity. Based on that criteria I do a lot of travelling all over both the UK and Europe for premieres and interesting repertoire.

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As I age in this profession I have noticed that when younger I traveled just to see a company, mainly full lengths. As time has passed, I mainly travel to see programs being performed by particular dancers (mainly former students) or the Kirov when they come to the US, if it fits into my schedule and pocketbook, any ballet and cast I can see.

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What drives me to ballet? The train, usually.

While that may sound flippant, a transportation issue is not addressed by the extant questions. The west shore of the Hudson River in the Mid-Hudson region is a place where car travel to NYC has become expensive-to-prohibitive for me, and the voyage to catch a train on the east shore is onerous and fatiguing. It seriously limits my freedom of action when it comes to seeing ballet.

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I feel your pain, Mel. I too am a west-of-Hudson ballet goer so my choices are car, which I usually do, or bus which is long and tedious. If it's an evening performance I try to stay overnight with my daughter in Manhattan but then between parking overnight, cabs etc it ends up being quite costly. There's no easy solution except a pied d'terre (sp?) in the city where I could stay for the entire season - dream on!

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Barbara, I wrote off the bus, because where I live is no longer served by that vector. When I was a kid, yeah, but no longer. So that means a taxi ride to Newburgh, and then the long and boring bus trip. We here in the Mid-Hudson are literally tantalized by the vagaries of the modern transportation net. Just near enough to seem to be ballet-accessible, but in reality, far enough to make travel problematical.

PS. I think it's pied-à-terre, but I know what you mean.

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What drives me to see a ballet performance is two things that come together: 1) I love the art form and 2) In the country I live, a live ballet performance is extremely rare. I had the opportunity to see Yulia Makhalina when she came here but I was 8 years old, however I was mesmerized. The country has not a single national or regional ballet company and touring companies come like every five years or so. The most reliable source that I have to watch ballet is DVD and the Internet, more specifically YouTube. Such a situation is actually sad for a ballet lover like me because live performance is the way ballet is intended to be seen. If the were more opportunities to watch it live I'd definitely take every opportunity to watch a great performance of the classics or more modern works.

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You forgot one category, comps. I will go to see anything for which I am given free tickets! :D

This poll got me thinking, and I realize my habits have changed over the years. I am still most anxious to see new work, but I do find myself more motivated to see specific dancers in roles, whereas my interest used to be focused almost exclusively on the choreography.

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