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fondoffouettes

ABT's Met Season to Be Reduced to Five Weeks, Beginning in 2021

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Thanks for posting this. I saw the news about the Met extending into June and was wondering what it would mean for ABT. Given that the news about ABT's reduced schedule comes from Peter Gelb, I wonder if it is definitive (hope not). But I don't know what else ABT could do. If they can't start till mid-June, an 8-week schedule would take them into mid-August. I can't picture what other venue they might use at that time period. Maybe they will make up the lost weeks in the fall season? 

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Wow. Not good. However, given that it's so hard to fill the Met, and that so many of us notice less-than-full attendance, maybe this will help in some way. (Trying to look on the bright side.) 

I wonder if this will mean a good-bye to the one week (or less) that we get of repertory?

This whole thing is unfortunate for the audience, but, I think the dancers who get so few performing opportunities in the full-lengths are really going to suffer.

Edited by ABT Fan

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Maybe they can perform in another theater (NYS or City Center, maybe). Or tour more. I would expect that the triple bills will move solely to the fall season at the NYS Theater. 

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The triple bills will fare better in a smaller venue. I could see this being a good thing if it pushes them to add a few extra weeks either in fall at the State Theatre, or perhaps three weeks at some other, smaller, venue. And of course, also if they get more imaginative with the mixed rep programming. 

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5 minutes ago, cobweb said:

The triple bills will fare better in a smaller venue. I could see this being a good thing if it pushes them to add a few extra weeks either in fall at the State Theatre, or perhaps three weeks at some other, smaller, venue. And of course, also if they get more imaginative with the mixed rep programming. 

I agree. I think they can get lost in the Met.

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Does anyone know how big the new performing arts center at the WTC site will be? It would be nice if there were an alternative to City Center. And NYCB's schedule would seem to preclude ABT from expanding there fall season very much, right?

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38 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Does anyone know how big the new performing arts center at the WTC site will be? It would be nice if there were an alternative to City Center. And NYCB's schedule would seem to preclude ABT from expanding there fall season very much, right?

It seems that the theaters will not be very large:  499, 250, and 99 seats, although there are some flexible walls. Source: http://www.theperelman.org/building/

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40 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

Does anyone know how big the new performing arts center at the WTC site will be? It would be nice if there were an alternative to City Center. And NYCB's schedule would seem to preclude ABT from expanding there fall season very much, right?

The Perelman Center will be one of those "flexible" venues that can (allegedly) be reconfigured to accommodate a variety of staging options and audience sizes. Maximum capacity when all of its spaces are combined is 1200.  I don't know if the center will have the kind of backstage space that a large theatrical production might require or if it can provide an orchestra pit, however.

Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater can seat about 1200 as well. I have attended dance performances there, and the revived NYC Opera performs there as well. The theater can be reconfigured to provide both a proscenium and an orchestra pit. It's a lovely venue and would be ideal for smaller-scaled works - i.e., I wouldn't do Swan Lake there, but some of ABT's triple-bill works would probably look great there. 

Would either venue really be big enough? By way of comparison, City Center seats about 2250. (But the sight lines are so awful - even after the big renovation - that only about half of them count, if that many.)

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1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

And NYCB's schedule would seem to preclude ABT from expanding there fall season very much, right?

The ABT fall season starts right after NYCB's ends.

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It wouldn’t be so horrible if they did a small season at the Kennedy Center in DC.

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2 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

Wow. Not good. However, given that it's so hard to fill the Met, and that so many of us notice less-than-full attendance, maybe this will help in some way. (Trying to look on the bright side.)

Posters have commented for years about how sluggish attendance is during the first few weeks of the Met season and how things don't really kick into high gear until mid-June (when the city begins to be flush with summer tourists.) So, starting the season in mid-June may well be the bright side.

The not-so-bright side is that New York will no longer have that crazy, impossible and impractical 8 week ballet season, which was pure New York bravado at its finest. New York will also no longer have the spectacle of two of the world's finest ballet companies performing a few hundred yards from one another for several weeks every year.

2 hours ago, FPF said:

Maybe they can perform in another theater (NYS or City Center, maybe). Or tour more. I would expect that the triple bills will move solely to the fall season at the NYS Theater. 

Or, thinking outside the box, ABT could emulate the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1958 and decamp permanently to southern California!!! (ducks)

Edited by miliosr

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It will be interesting to see how this develops. ABT doesn't seem to have a lot of weeks of work compared to NYCB and PNB. To draw top talent they have to offer opportunities. 

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At present, with an 8 week season certain principals barely get any meaningful performances (while others get way too many).  I fear that the shortening of the ABT New York Met season will only make things worse for the principals who are already marginalized, like Lane and Abrera.

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18 minutes ago, abatt said:

At present, with an 8 week season certain principals barely get any meaningful performances (while others get way too many).  I fear that the shortening of the ABT New York Met season will only make things worse for the principals who are already marginalized, like Lane and Abrera.

So agree abatt. In looking at the fall season, there are 9 principal women (counting Ferri).  Maybe by 2020 there will be some retirements and hopefully Ferri will be re-retired, but there are a couple of soloist women on the verge of principal to replace them. 

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39 minutes ago, Kaysta said:

It wouldn’t be so horrible if they did a small season at the Kennedy Center in DC.

Indeed!

Nor need Manhattan be the only metro destination for one of America's premier performing arts organizations. Not every person in the NY Metropolitan area wants to trek into Manhattan to see a show. Nor should they have to. There's NJ PAC. There's BAM. 

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1 hour ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Indeed!

Nor need Manhattan be the only metro destination for one of America's premier performing arts organizations. Not every person in the NY Metropolitan area wants to trek into Manhattan to see a show. Nor should they have to. There's NJ PAC. There's BAM. 

I'd be sad to see their presence in NYC reduced (for selfish reasons), but I agree. Maybe they will increase their touring. If any American company could be a modern-day Ballets Russes, I think it could be ABT. But despite morale-boosting promotions of homegrown talent in recent seasons, I think the company could really use a visionary artistic director to shepherd ABT into its next era. The company isn't the one it was in the 90s/early 2000s, when a silly ballet like Corsaire became a must-see event because of casting.

Ratmansky's works for ABT have certainly been hit or miss, but he has often brought out the best in ABT's dancers and made them seem like a cohesive company. I realize he may not want to lead a company, but I think he could be the best person to shape the company's future and reconnect it to the "Theatre" in its name. If there is one thing that defines ABT, it is its legacy of storytelling -- from the 19th-century full-lengths to de Mille and Tudor. 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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For my personal convenience, I suggest SPAC, which seats 5,200 (plus lawn). Whenever they've brought in non-NYCB ballet companies, it's been for full-lengths (Giselle, DonQ, Peony Pavilion), so their standard rep should work there. It would need to be after the Met season, as it would probably be too cold earlier.

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Rereading the NYT article, I’m surprised that there’s no statement from ABT. Or even a statement from the Met on how they value ABT’s residency.

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A few years ago, the Met took a short break in January, but the article doesn't say how long the February break would be.  If two weeks, at least, ABT might be able to switch their Spring head-to-head with NYCB to the winter with back-to-back full-lengths.  They might even be able to get two runs of the money-makers, Swan Lake and/or Giselle, four months apart.

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7 minutes ago, Helene said:

They might even be able to get two runs of the money-makers, Swan Lake and/or Giselle, four months apart.

Oh dear, two full runs of Swan Lake? I hope that doesn't become the new yearly standard. Already I feel like I could bear their giving it a rest, say every 5th or 6th Met season.

If that season will now be 5 weeks, the percentage of space on the Met schedule that the annual SL run takes up (assuming they continue with that tradition) is going to nearly double.

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14 minutes ago, Helene said:

A few years ago, the Met took a short break in January, but the article doesn't say how long the February break would be.  If two weeks, at least, ABT might be able to switch their Spring head-to-head with NYCB to the winter with back-to-back full-lengths.  They might even be able to get two runs of the money-makers, Swan Lake and/or Giselle, four months apart.

If they could have a short winter season at the Met, I think that would be ideal. I know I get audience fatigue from having all their full-lengths packed into eight continuous weeks and would welcome the opportunity to see some of them at a different time of year. I sometimes get desperate for my full-length “fix” in the winter and end up going to see a City Ballet SL or SB, even though I especially dislike the former production.

Edited by fondoffouettes

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31 minutes ago, Helene said:

A few years ago, the Met took a short break in January, but the article doesn't say how long the February break would be.  If two weeks, at least, ABT might be able to switch their Spring head-to-head with NYCB to the winter with back-to-back full-lengths.  They might even be able to get two runs of the money-makers, Swan Lake and/or Giselle, four months apart.

Although I'd like to see ABT find a permanent NYC home that's more congenial than the Met, a two or three week run in the winter might not be a bad thing. However, the Met's stated reason for shutting the house down in February does give me pause:

The following year [2021], the Met will make another radical change in its schedule: It will take a midwinter break in February, when ticket sales are generally at their lowest, and add performances in the late spring, moving the end of the opera season to early June from May. [emphasis mine]

Now it may be that there's just so much opera on offer during the Met's gargantuan seven month season that its audience wearies of the surfeit and collectively decides to take a mid-winter break and that ABT wouldn't necessarily suffer from the same February doldrums. NYCB will be in the thick of their winter season right across the plaza, however, so it's not as if the audience will be starved for dance and ready to turn up for anything that happens to be in toe shoes.

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

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I wouldn't be sad to see ABT replace Paul Taylor at the Koch Theatre in the spring, but maybe it would feel too close to their regular Met season.

Is there any possibility of renting the Koch between NYCB's Nutcracker and winter season, or is it too short a period of time?

If ABT is being pushed to begin its season in early June, maybe they should just decamp to the Koch Theatre for its spring/summer season. It's certainly a more congenial venue for dance, and they'd have an easier time filling the house. This year, NYCB finishes on June 2.

 

Edited by fondoffouettes

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