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Winter 2018

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5 hours ago, abatt said:

I'm hoping that the relentless flood of  new works  will be reduced somewhat going forward.  People come out to see new Wheeldon, new Ratmansky and new Peck.  I was there on the night of the Walker premiere.  There were substantial numbers  of empty seats that night.  People are not buying tickets to see new Schumacher, new Walker, new [fill in the name]-.

 

 

It must be hard though. Wheeldon and Ratmansky did not become star choreographers over night. New choreographers need opportunities to develop. I just wish the new choreography were sprinkled in with Balanchine.

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In recent years, under Martins, the new works have been more about quantity than quality.  In part, the overwhelming pile up of new works was motivated by these "Fashion Galas" dreamed up by Sarah Jessica Parker, with Martins' blessing.  It was almost as if they attempted to line up as many high fashion designers as possible to rub elbows with the rich people at the gala, and the choreography and choreographers were an after thought.   Some works that are created  and experimented with at the choreographic institute simply don't belong on the stage of the Koch.

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8 minutes ago, abatt said:

In recent years, under Martins, the new works have been more about quantity than quality.  In part, the overwhelming pile up of new works was motivated by these "Fashion Galas" dreamed up by Sarah Jessica Parker, with Martins' blessing.  It was almost as if they attempted to line up as many high fashion designers as possible to rub elbows with the rich people at the gala, and the choreography and choreographers were an after thought.   Some works that are created  and experimented with at the choreographic institute simply don't belong on the stage of the Koch.

I don't think its just the rich people they're trying to please. Like many arts institutions NYCB is trying to attract more young audience members, and buzzy designer costumes and new works are one way they seem to be trying to do that , along with the art nights and installations.  I think that this goal would be better furthered (as well as the goal of making more programs ones that I personally want to see!) by mixing the old and new as Emma suggests.  You need the new audience to love the old works also, and after all its new to you the first time you see it.  

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FYI: So as not to divert this thread, I’ve started a separate thread in Ballets and Choreographers to discuss Martins’ choreographic legacy (what to keep, what to put in deep hybernation).

 

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The problem with mixing the old with the new is that not enough young, hip people come out to see the newish work, and the more conservative crowd also stays home.  By way of example, Friday Feb 2 was an arts series program with Square Dance, Oltremare and Four Seasons, in that order.  Of course it was a sell out because all tickets were $30, and there was free beer and a DJ after the show.  Whoo hoo. 

However, the remaining three performances of that very same program were not selling, and were on TDF.  That surprised me because Square Dance and Four Seasons are classics.  However the fact that the 40 minute Oltremare was plopped into the middle of the program appears to have been a dis-incentive for most ticket buyers.   Maybe they would have been able to sell more regular priced tickets if they would have put Oltremare last, so that people could leave after the two beloved classics.  I'm not sure.  But at these prices, people expect three high quality works.  The All Balanchine nights seem to have sold very well without any ticket discounts.

 

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Oltremare is definitely a disincentive for me, even though Square Dance is one of my very favorite ballets, and I can never get enough of Four Seasons. As much as I want to see Square Dance and Four Seasons, I don't want to spend on a ticket when I know a third of the program is something I dread. 

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1 minute ago, cobweb said:

Oltremare is definitely a disincentive for me, even though Square Dance is one of my very favorite ballets, and I can never get enough of Four Seasons. As much as I want to see Square Dance and Four Seasons, I don't want to spend on a ticket when I know a third of the program is something I dread. 

This.  I'd go to that program if the "new" ballet weren't bad.  And combining newer ballets with Martins doesn't solve the problem either. 

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To add insult to injury, they have decided to throw a "See The Music" presentation into Wednesday evening's show, right before the final ballet, Four Seasons. So in addition to having to sit through the awful Oltremare for 40 minutes, they are taking away another 10 or 15 minutes of the audience's time by holding us captive to the  lecture.  Why can't they do the lecture during the 20 minute intermission  between Oltremare and Four Seasons?    

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The old classics aren't old to those who have never experienced them.  I just discovered ballet a few years ago and fell in love.  I don't need new flashy works.  It's going to take me a lifetime to see all of the "old" works.  It saddens me that dance is not taught in public school as part of the arts.  If people only knew how beautiful ballet is... shows would sell out like Broadway shows.

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Casting up for week 5.  We're getting a new Juliet- Woodward (with Taylor Stanley as her Romeo).   Terrific.  I was hoping she would get a chance at that role.

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1 hour ago, abatt said:

The problem with mixing the old with the new is that not enough young, hip people come out to see the newish work, and the more conservative crowd also stays home. 

1 hour ago, cobweb said:

As much as I want to see Square Dance and Four Seasons, I don't want to spend on a ticket when I know a third of the program is something I dread. 

Could not agree more! It may not be as good for audience building or other programming considerations (I'm not sure), but personally, selfishly, I would much rather have the new, untested material segregated off in separate programs, or at the very least placed last so I can leave early if I don't feel like taking the chance. I'd much rather see things I'm pretty sure I'm going to like, let some others on here who are more motivated go see the new stuff and report back on what's worth catching, then see some of those pieces when they likely return in another season or two. I would almost certainly boost my NYCB attendance by at least 50% yearly if I could see more of the pieces I really want to see without having to sit through the pieces I don't. When it comes to paying for, taking time out of my schedule for, and traveling to performances, I am unashamedly conservative in that way.

 

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2 hours ago, Balletwannabe said:

...  If people only knew how beautiful ballet is... shows would sell out like Broadway shows.

I believe this with all my heart...

Regarding mix of old and new at NYCB--when I travel to see New York City Ballet that is usually what I'm looking for--some major Balanchine and some recent work together if not on the same program than at least on offer the same day (say, if I come up for a Saturday at NYCB). "All new work" programs are very risky for my taste and though all Balanchine are more than satisfying I do also want to see new work, especially when it's by a choreographer I know I find compelling (Ratmansky) or at least am curious about (several people but notably Peck).

Edited by Drew

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2 hours ago, Balletwannabe said:

The old classics aren't old to those who have never experienced them  

This is a great point. I discovered Balanchine in 2011 and there are many pieces I have not yet seen, and many I have not seen nearly enough of.  

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Wheeldon was home-grown, and he had the advantage of knowing his colleagues, which a first-time visiting choreographer would not.  Similarly, Peck.  Ratmansky started choreographing in the mid-90's and had done a good deal of work before he created for NYCB.   NYCB had taken a fire-hose festival approach for a number of years.

 

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7 hours ago, sandik said:

In part because these decisions are made very far in advance, likely before any of the proverbial shit hit the fan.

Possibly so, but the season was just made public on February 4.  There was plenty of time to make a change after the shit hit the fan. Programming changes happen often, for all sorts of reasons. 

I maintain that if the powers that be wanted a story ballet West Side Story ticks the boxes:

Its Robbins/Bernstein. 

Its good. 

It brings in crowds. 

And it opens two slots in the program for additional quality Robbins (that would be a tribute!) or more Balanchine (heaven). 

SPAC should be back pedaling from Martins as quickly as they can. 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Helene said:

And 2018 is a Robbins anniversary celebration year.

And Bernstein. 

 

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20 minutes ago, rkoretzky said:

Possibly so, but the season was just made public on February 4.  There was plenty of time to make a change after the shit hit the fan. Programming changes happen often, for all sorts of reasons. 

Completely hear you, but I'm sure they were dealing with a lot of other stuff over the last month (didn't PM only finally resign on NYD?), and reprogramming a season (albeit a week long one only) was perhaps just not viable for them amidst all that. Unfortunately.

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13 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Completely hear you, but I'm sure they were dealing with a lot of other stuff over the last month (didn't PM only finally resign on NYD?), and reprogramming a season (albeit a week long one only) was perhaps just not viable for them amidst all that. Unfortunately.

Agreed and I'd be the last person to apply additional pressure to the four interim administrators who are, from all appearances, doing yeoman's work to keep things together under these most trying circumstances. 

All the more reason that it's essential to get someone in place to right the ship and move the company forward. Hopefully that will happen quickly. 

I made an assumption that the SPAC leadership could and should have initiated a change. 

Edited by rkoretzky

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4 minutes ago, rkoretzky said:

Agreed and I'd be the last person to apply additional pressure to the four interim administrators who are, from all appearances, doing yeoman's work to keep things together under these most trying circumstances. 

Indeed, it's heartening how positive in general the reports have been of performances so far this season. I've seen them only once, on Saturday evening, and the company looked in quite good shape and spirits, to my eyes. And on social media the dancers seem to be in good spirits as well.

Edited by nanushka

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I fear SPAC leadership wanted something they thought was a guaranteed sell.

Oops.

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