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I don't see any problem with what Macaulay did.  He is a private citizen in addition to being a dance critic, and he has rights of free association and speech.  There is no conflict because he is not reviewing a performance. The possibility that he might be reviewing a Mariinsky Apollo a few months from now is not a conflict.  Personally, I'm grateful that someone with knowledge is passing on valuable information that might improve a performance.  To the extent that his coach may tell Parish and the others to perform it the ugly, improper  way on purpose, it would then be up to the dancers to make their choices on how to proceed.

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I don’t think wit and transcendence are necessarily at odds. “Simply the steps,” to me, evoke transcendence — particularly in the (in my opinion superior) ending of the original version.

Edited by nanushka

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Apologies in advance for the rant, this is also an FYI. If you haven’t yet purchased your tickets, you have two options: citytix by phone or online. The box office is closed until September 3. You will be paying $9.75 per ticket for service fees. 

I take responsibility for the fact that I didn’t jump on tickets as soon as they became available on July 9. My daughter was going to pick them up for us at the box office and she delayed—she’s in the process of moving, busy time at work....

The box office closed on July 29 and will remain so until September 4. No other way to purchase tickets in person. I tried last night to purchase tickets on line, couldn’t navigate the website, called citytix at 8:02 pm to find they closed at 8. Today I called citytix and had a conversation with the agent, confirmed they are not waiving service fees in lieu of a closed box office, couldn’t get across to her what dates I wanted, she kept telling me availability on dates when I cannot go, wouldn’t give specific seat information, finally I just gave up and just spent a frustrating hour trying again to navigate the website, chose three tickets on October 31 and November 1 (the only dates when I can go), tried to log in, forgot my password, had to reset it, my cart of carefully chosen tickets (the best available at a reasonable, at least for my budget, price) disappeared and has not reappeared on the seating map. This is infuriating.

I have been checking the website regularly. Nowhere did I see a notice that the box office was closing. It is certainly not this weekend ticket agent’s fault that she now has to take phone calls from irritated customers over policies that are not her doing, but she wasn’t very courteous or forthcoming with information. I tried to convey to her that I wasn’t holding her personally responsible. I finally gave up because we just weren’t communicating.

i think it’s poor customer service to charge service fees when there is no other way to purchase tickets. However, even at inflated prices, tickets are scarce and I’m going to have to suck it up and get these tickets by phone or online, or take the chance on waiting until September, running the risk of a sell out. The balcony hasn’t been opened yet, but even if they do sell tickets there It’s not a good place to sit for ballet.

like other posters who attend NYCB regularly, I’d prefer to see all the guest companies. However, these are the dates I can attend, and so I will. I’m not throwing away my shot. Just aggravated and annoyed with myself. 

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2 hours ago, rkoretzky said:

Apologies in advance for the rant, this is also an FYI. If you haven’t yet purchased your tickets, you have two options: citytix by phone or online. The box office is closed until September 3. You will be paying $9.75 per ticket for service fees. 

I take responsibility for the fact that I didn’t jump on tickets as soon as they became available on July 9. My daughter was going to pick them up for us at the box office and she delayed—she’s in the process of moving, busy time at work....

The box office closed on July 29 and will remain so until September 4. No other way to purchase tickets in person. I tried last night to purchase tickets on line, couldn’t navigate the website, called citytix at 8:02 pm to find they closed at 8. Today I called citytix and had a conversation with the agent, confirmed they are not waiving service fees in lieu of a closed box office, couldn’t get across to her what dates I wanted, she kept telling me availability on dates when I cannot go, wouldn’t give specific seat information, finally I just gave up and just spent a frustrating hour trying again to navigate the website, chose three tickets on October 31 and November 1 (the only dates when I can go), tried to log in, forgot my password, had to reset it, my cart of carefully chosen tickets (the best available at a reasonable, at least for my budget, price) disappeared and has not reappeared on the seating map. This is infuriating.

I have been checking the website regularly. Nowhere did I see a notice that the box office was closing. It is certainly not this weekend ticket agent’s fault that she now has to take phone calls from irritated customers over policies that are not her doing, but she wasn’t very courteous or forthcoming with information. I tried to convey to her that I wasn’t holding her personally responsible. I finally gave up because we just weren’t communicating.

i think it’s poor customer service to charge service fees when there is no other way to purchase tickets. However, even at inflated prices, tickets are scarce and I’m going to have to suck it up and get these tickets by phone or online, or take the chance on waiting until September, running the risk of a sell out. The balcony hasn’t been opened yet, but even if they do sell tickets there It’s not a good place to sit for ballet.

like other posters who attend NYCB regularly, I’d prefer to see all the guest companies. However, these are the dates I can attend, and so I will. I’m not throwing away my shot. Just aggravated and annoyed with myself. 

I think you have good reason for annoyance with City Center.  Customers —even avid ballet fans— can’t be expected to suss out in advance box office closings or phone salespersons not having exact information. Especially when these are not clearly publicized. And everyone has days when they can and can’t attend, times when they can’t rush to the box office, too, as your daughter found. This is not on you.

Edited by Drew

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2 hours ago, Drew said:

I think you have good reason for annoyance with City Center.  Customers —even avid ballet fans— can’t be expected to suss out in advance box office closings or phone salespersons not having exact information. Especially when these are not clearly publicized. And everyone has days when they can and can’t attend, times when they can’t rush to the box office, too, as your daughter found. This is not on you.

Thank you Drew. 😉

After a few more attempts, I was able to log in successfully and get two sets of tickets. The service fees alone total another ticket. I will make a call to the administrative office next week just to express my displeasure. It won’t change anything but at least I’ll make a point. 

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I’m glad you finally got tickets, rkoretzky. I’m appalled at the service fees! $9.75 per ticket just too much. I purchased online two weeks ago and paid the same. 

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5 hours ago, KarenAG said:

I’m glad you finally got tickets, rkoretzky. I’m appalled at the service fees! $9.75 per ticket just too much. I purchased online two weeks ago and paid the same. 

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Just now, rkoretzky said:
5 hours ago, KarenAG said:

I’m glad you finally got tickets, rkoretzky. I’m appalled at the service fees! $9.75 per ticket just too much. I purchased online two weeks ago and paid the same. 

When there are no service fees at the box office, but it’s impossible to purchase at the box office......not customer friendly. When are you seeing this, Karen? 

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The very final  performance on Sunday, Nov 4, 3pm. I had wanted to go Nov 1, but it’s not possible. I’m pleased I’ll be able to partake!! And you will see two performances - so nice. 

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Re the City Center BO being closed - that is terrible customer service!! I don’t blame you if you were fit to be tied, rkoretzky. 

13 hours ago, rkoretzky said:

Thank you Drew. 😉

After a few more attempts, I was able to log in successfully and get two sets of tickets. The service fees alone total another ticket. I will make a call to the administrative office next week just to express my displeasure. It won’t change anything but at least I’ll make a point. 

 

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Just to play Devil's Advocate......I suspect the majority of ticket buyers (I could be wrong) purchase online (so convenient), b/c you can choose the exact seat you want from home or even your phone the minute tickets go on sale. If you choose "Choose your seat" option rather than "best available" you get a seating chart and are able to choose the exact seat you want. I love this about most online purchasing. When I purchased tickets for Nov. 2 and 3 for these performances it was easy. I can't remember if City Center allowed me to see the view from the seat I selected, but some company sites have that option as well.  I hated buying tickets before the whole "choose your own seat" option became widespread. You basically had to have the seating chart open on your computer as you talked to the person on the phone.

Today single tickets for NYCB went on sale and I was walking my dog and purchased my tickets online on my phone. I personally LOVE the convenience of online purchasing. They probably do not need to charge a fee. It is probably way easier for them just as it is for us, so the fee charge is ridiculous, but I am okay with it for the convenience. Years ago I could not walk my dog and purchase opera and ballet tickets.

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Online service has brought many conveniences to the process of buying tickets. No-one is saying "get rid of the online service"--but still...maybe don't close a box office without clear indications on websites and advertisements; don't make the fees for online service so exorbitant; and, in some cases, please do something about how cumbersome and even arbitrary online service can be.  (Arbitrary?: I have bought my tickets for Atlanta Ballet online for years--then this summer the system developed some glitch and no matter what I did I couldn't get the tickets I wanted when the system said those tickets were available--I kept getting a message that I was missing some "code" of sorts. I ended up emailing the company and they got the tickets for me. But that can't be the usual way of doing business. Many people will just give up.) And, finally, have phone service salespeople trained and willing to do what box office staff do -- selecting particular seats on particular dates etc.  As some theaters surely do: I've never called the Met Box Office or the State Theater and not had phone salespeople who were used to dealing with ballet fans making multiple purchases and mostly very good at their job. I'd like to think that is usually the case with City Center.

Not everyone is comfortable with online purchasing  -- times are a changin', but the fact that there is online service shouldn't be carte blanche for every other method of ticket sales to be crappier. 

Edited by Drew

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4 hours ago, Birdsall said:

Just to play Devil's Advocate......I suspect the majority of ticket buyers (I could be wrong) purchase online (so convenient), b/c you can choose the exact seat you want from home or even your phone the minute tickets go on sale. If you choose "Choose your seat" option rather than "best available" you get a seating chart and are able to choose the exact seat you want. I love this about most online purchasing. When I purchased tickets for Nov. 2 and 3 for these performances it was easy. I can't remember if City Center allowed me to see the view from the seat I selected, but some company sites have that option as well.  I hated buying tickets before the whole "choose your own seat" option became widespread. You basically had to have the seating chart open on your computer as you talked to the person on the phone.

Today single tickets for NYCB went on sale and I was walking my dog and purchased my tickets online on my phone. I personally LOVE the convenience of online purchasing. They probably do not need to charge a fee. It is probably way easier for them just as it is for us, so the fee charge is ridiculous, but I am okay with it for the convenience. Years ago I could not walk my dog and purchase opera and ballet tickets.

Points taken Birdsall, but isn’t the best way to get the exact seating you want by buying directly at the box office window?the seat map is right in front of you and you’re interacting with a live person.

I am averse to paying service fees and will always buy at the box office, at least in New York, whenever possible. As an example, the Public Theater is often out of my way but their fees are very low, for broadway and Lincoln Center, box office always. I don’t live in the city but my daughter does, and a group of my theater, ballet, opera pals often pick up tickets for each other. Someone is always going in for something so we help each other out.

I didn’t find purchasing these tickets on the city center website easy, convenient or pleasant. There is no option for seat view by the way. And yes, the fee charge is exhorbitant. 

 

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Just so you know there are websites like "a view from my seat" where people have posted views from their actual seat in various theaters. Not every single seat is shown, but you can find views from seats that are in a similar section. This might help for future reference. It is something that someone at a box office can't show you.

I don't live in NYC so for me buying online for me personally is wonderful, and I buy online locally also for tickets here in Florida. No line, no waiting, very fast, sometimes you can actually get a seat view, but not always. You can buy tickets wherever you are or whatever you are doing. Tickets went on sale at 12pm for NYCB yesterday and at 11:45am even knowing tickets were about to go on sale I took my dog on a walk here in Florida and when it hit 12pm I bought the tickets on my phone as I was enjoying the walk. I remember years ago having to wait at the computer for tickets to go on sale and sometimes the site would not work well and you would watch the seats you wanted get bought up before your eyes as you are trying to make a choice. Or before online sales having to call just as tickets went on sale and that was a nightmare. There was so much stress involved in trying to get a good seat asap before the good seats were gone. I even took a day off work in the past to make sure I could get good seats to all the operas I wanted. For me regular ticket buying was SO stressful. Online buying has taken all the stress out of it for me. I think it took me like less than 3 minutes to choose and buy my NYCB tickets yesterday once I logged onto the site on my phone.

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14 hours ago, Birdsall said:

Just so you know there are websites like "a view from my seat" where people have posted views from their actual seat in various theaters. Not every single seat is shown, but you can find views from seats that are in a similar section. This might help for future reference. It is something that someone at a box office can't show you.

I don't live in NYC so for me buying online for me personally is wonderful, and I buy online locally also for tickets here in Florida. No line, no waiting, very fast, sometimes you can actually get a seat view, but not always. You can buy tickets wherever you are or whatever you are doing. Tickets went on sale at 12pm for NYCB yesterday and at 11:45am even knowing tickets were about to go on sale I took my dog on a walk here in Florida and when it hit 12pm I bought the tickets on my phone as I was enjoying the walk. I remember years ago having to wait at the computer for tickets to go on sale and sometimes the site would not work well and you would watch the seats you wanted get bought up before your eyes as you are trying to make a choice. Or before online sales having to call just as tickets went on sale and that was a nightmare. There was so much stress involved in trying to get a good seat asap before the good seats were gone. I even took a day off work in the past to make sure I could get good seats to all the operas I wanted. For me regular ticket buying was SO stressful. Online buying has taken all the stress out of it for me. I think it took me like less than 3 minutes to choose and buy my NYCB tickets yesterday once I logged onto the site on my phone.

We all make our choices depending on what works best for us, what’s practical or manageable. My problem with the current city center situation is that there’s no choice to make short of deciding not to go or taking a chance that you won’t get tickets at all by waiting until September 4 for box office sales. 

For you the service fees are a happy trade off for convenience. For me, they are a necessary evil that I will pay if I can’t get to a box office or have someone else go to the box office for me. I maintain that service fees (or at least some percentage thereof) should be waived in this situation since the box office option isn’t there. 

I live about an hour and a half from Jacobs Pillow. I just bought a ticket online for Limon on Saturday. The service fee was a very reasonable $3. I live about a mile and a half from Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Two tickets for an event on Thursday night cost $40.The service fees would add $16. You can bet I’m going to the box office tomorrow. 

Edited by rkoretzky

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10 minutes ago, rkoretzky said:

 

For you the service fees are a happy trade off for convenience. For me, they are a necessary evil that I will pay if I can’t get to a box office or have someone else go to the box office for me. I maintain that service fees (or at least some percentage thereof) should be waived in this situation since the box office option isn’t there. 

 

I agree - service fees should be waived or reduced. And get this: the members’ exclusive pre sale period for many of he upcoming dance events (Osipova, NDT) falls ENTIRELY within the period in which the box office is closed. So, in order to avail oneself of the pre sale membership benefit one has to pay the service (handling) fee!!! Astounding. 

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1 hour ago, rkoretzky said:

I live about an hour and a half from Jacobs Pillow. I just bought a ticket online for Limon on Saturday. The service fee was a very reasonable $3. I live about a mile and a half from Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Two tickets for an event on Thursday night cost $40.The service fees would add $16. You can bet I’m going to the box office tomorrow. 

I also usually buy my SPAC tickets in person when I go to a performance there (and I live ~30 miles/40 min away). After seeing the Cuban National Ballet, I received an email with a coupon code for online purchase only that could be used for the Gala, which normally is not discounted at all. My ticket came with $13 in fees ($3 facility fee and $10 "convenience" fee). The fees ate up more than half the savings, but the overall price was still somewhat less than the original price. I thought the fee was exorbitant compared with what other local-ish venues charge (Jacob's Pillow, Glimmerglass, WTF).

I'm also going to see Limon at the Pillow but on Sunday (~1.25 h for me). 

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10 hours ago, Olga said:

I agree - service fees should be waived or reduced. And get this: the members’ exclusive pre sale period for many of he upcoming dance events (Osipova, NDT) falls ENTIRELY within the period in which the box office is closed. So, in order to avail oneself of the pre sale membership benefit one has to pay the service (handling) fee!!! Astounding. 

Did anyone else get the email that city center will reduce service fees if you subscribe to Encores? And this doesn’t even go on sale until mid September, when the box office is reopened. 

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Unfortunately, ticket service charges have become a major source of revenue for performing arts venues like City Center and SPAC.  By way of example, for the fiscal year ending 6/30/16, 14% or $1.3 million of City Center's $9.3 million in Program Service Revenue — basically, what it earns from its core function as a performing arts venue — came from ticket service charges. Here's the composition of City Center's Program Service Revenue for the year ending 6/30/16:

Box Office Receipts: $6.02 million

Ticket Service Charges: $1.3 million

Theater Rental: $988 thousand

Stage I & II Theater Rental: $481 thousand

Tower Rental: $414 thousand

Other: $173 thousand

Like all arts organization, City Center relies heavily on contributions and grants to cover its expenses. Just over half of City Center's $20.8 million in expenses came from grants and contributions. Without the ticket service fees, they'd have to raise even more. 

I'm not saying this is a good thing. One real problem with ticket service fees is that they're akin to a regressive tax on ticket prices. Since they tend to be a flat amount, they're a greater percentage of the total cost of the least expensive seats than they are of the most expensive. The people who can least afford them end up  being hit the hardest. 

The fact that an online service fee is being charged when the box office is closed for a month is simply unfair. 

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Thank you for this info Kathleen. Very interesting. I knew ticket service charges were a substantial revenue item. But I didn’t realize how much so. Obviously I agree about the regressive nature of the fees and the unfairness. There are many more things I could say about the way City Center has handled this but I am “biting my tongue.” 

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18 hours ago, FPF said:

I also usually buy my SPAC tickets in person when I go to a performance there (and I live ~30 miles/40 min away). After seeing the Cuban National Ballet, I received an email with a coupon code for online purchase only that could be used for the Gala, which normally is not discounted at all. My ticket came with $13 in fees ($3 facility fee and $10 "convenience" fee). The fees ate up more than half the savings, but the overall price was still somewhat less than the original price. I thought the fee was exorbitant compared with what other local-ish venues charge (Jacob's Pillow, Glimmerglass, WTF).

I'm also going to see Limon at the Pillow but on Sunday (~1.25 h for me). 

I’d love to meet you. I’ve lived in Saratoga for 40 years and worked at SPAC as an usher and usher captain for 30 of them. Now I just buy tickets and enjoy. And we do all those things you mentioned (glimmerglass, WTF, Pillow). In fact we’re heading out now for a concert of chamber music society of Lincoln center. We have that too.

if we could only be assured of the future for NYCB. 

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SPAC charges internet service fee per transaction, not per ticket. So the fee is the same whether you buy 1 or 100 tickets in one transaction.

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23 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Unfortunately, ticket service charges have become a major source of revenue for performing arts venues like City Center and SPAC.  By way of example, for the fiscal year ending 6/30/16, 14% or $1.3 million of City Center's $9.3 million in Program Service Revenue — basically, what it earns from its core function as a performing arts venue — came from ticket service charges. Here's the composition of City Center's Program Service Revenue for the year ending 6/30/16:

Box Office Receipts: $6.02 million

Ticket Service Charges: $1.3 million

Theater Rental: $988 thousand

Stage I & II Theater Rental: $481 thousand

Tower Rental: $414 thousand

Other: $173 thousand

Like all arts organization, City Center relies heavily on contributions and grants to cover its expenses. Just over half of City Center's $20.8 million in expenses came from grants and contributions. Without the ticket service fees, they'd have to raise even more. 

I'm not saying this is a good thing. One real problem with ticket service fees is that they're akin to a regressive tax on ticket prices. Since they tend to be a flat amount, they're a greater percentage of the total cost of the least expensive seats than they are of the most expensive. The people who can least afford them end up  being hit the hardest. 

The fact that an online service fee is being charged when the box office is closed for a month is simply unfair. 

The ticket service charges became a bonanza for City Center for Fall For Dance.  The ticket prices are relatively cheap, because corporate funding subsidizes most of the cost of the presentations.  Most people buy online, because the tickets sell out in a matter of hours.  The facility fees plus the handling fees add up to almost the cost of the ticket itself.  

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So this is interesting. I finally had a few minutes to call city center when our schedules lined up. They don’t open the offices  until 10am.

I left a VM for the Vice President of marketing and certainly hope she’ll return my call. However the person I talked with (didn’t get her name) told me she’s worked there for eight years and the box office closes every August. (This is July 29-September 4, but I guess close enough). 

I’ve been buying tickets at CC for decades and have never heard about or experienced this. Anyone? 

Edited by rkoretzky

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