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Philadelphia Ballet/Pennsylvania Ballet: 2021-2022 season


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The Pennsylvania Ballet has just changed its name to Philadelphia Ballet: https://philadelphiaballet.org/

Their 2021-22 season has also just been announced: https://philadelphiaballet.org/2021-2022-season/

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker®

December 10-31, 2021 Academy of Music

New Works For A New World

February 3-12, 2022
The Perelman Theater

Angel Corella Swan Lake

March 3-13, 2022
Academy of Music

Balanchine

Symphony in C
Divertimento No. 15
Stars and Stripes 

March 17-20, 2022 Academy of Music

Two Couples 5 Tangos Hans Van Manen's Humankind

May 12-15, 2022
Academy of MusicLEARN MORE

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6 hours ago, PeggyTulle said:

Huh. I always thought Pennsylvania Ballet had name recognition. Surprised with the change...

A day or two ago, when I first saw a post online about Philadelphia Ballet I just assumed it was some small local group maybe even semi-professional. Then I read more closely.

I wonder if behind the scenes they don't have reason to think that the moniker Philadelphia Ballet may help them raise money locally or perhaps draw out same pool of people who support the orchestra?? To me it was a puzzling change because "Pennsylvania Ballet" has some cachet as a top U.S. company outside of NY.

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I was fascinated with the history of that name, viz., that it was  the original name they wanted, but another group had already taken it. Note that Pittsburgh Ballet is in Pennsylvania, too, so I wonder if that had anything to do with it.

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8 hours ago, canbelto said:

I kind of think it's Corella rebranding the company. I could be wrong.

A possibility--it certainly seems unlikely he was doing it to honor the company's earliest history....And he may be being advised that if he is to up his donor game he has to do something dramatic and attention getting.

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Put me in the camp of those who are mystified by this change. I'm not sure what "problem" they are solving by changing the company's historic name, which has an element of "statewideness" to it even if the company doesn't ever tour the state of Pennsylvania.

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On 6/25/2021 at 11:08 AM, canbelto said:

I kind of think it's Corella rebranding the company. I could be wrong.

That was my first thought as well -- in general, people don't mess with names unless they have to, or think that it will really get them some new buy-in.  It could be that they felt they needed some kind of affirmation of the local connection as they emerge from pandemical restrictions, but I'm still kind of baffled by the change.

 

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I took a look at Pennsylvania Ballet's Form 990 filings at Guide Star. Their last filing was for 2018-19 (pre-COVID):

2016-17:  $1,411,315 (profit)

2017-18: -$251,518 (loss)

2018-19:  $164,705 (profit)

The company's highest earning year was 2018-19 with $16 million. Their highest expense year was also 2018-19 with $15.8 million. From the 990s, it's not apparent that revenue has been disastrous enough to prompt a reboot (the name change).

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So many organizations are rethinking their mission, their organization, a re-birth post-pandemic. This seems to me just another example of that. It's possible they've been thinking about this name change for a long time (or maybe not), but a sense of re-emerging with fresh energy and ideas is all around us nowadays. So many major companies in the US are named after their home city -- San Francisco, Miami, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Washington -- the change fits with that environment.  Whether it will help with fund-raising, who knows, but they might have some data that it will.

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Does settling for a city name feel more "homey"? Maybe that's the idea.

I can't resist...
They could go even more local:
North Broad at Wood Street Ballet. Or Vine Street Expressway at North Broad Street Ballet. This is good: Across from the Ben-Gad Baking Co. Ballet

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Posted (edited)

I think it sounds, at least generally, less provincial and less regional. As @Californiasuggests, think of the names of prominent US city-named ballet companies, orchestras, opera companies, museums, etc. compared with those named by state.

Edited by nanushka
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While it's true that a local name will generally create a sense of local identity, it doesn't necessarily imply quality.  It can encourage local support, though -- perhaps that's part of this change.

 

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On 7/7/2021 at 9:33 PM, nanushka said:

I think it sounds, at least generally, less provincial and less regional. As @Californiasuggests, think of the names of prominent US city-named ballet companies, orchestras, opera companies, museums, etc. compared with those named by state.

The danger is that they achieve "negative crossover": people who have been loyal to the entity known as 'Pennsylvania Ballet' for decades are put off by the name change while "Philadelphia Ballet" does not attract a new, numerically significant audience.

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9 minutes ago, miliosr said:

The danger is that they achieve "negative crossover": people who have been loyal to the entity known as 'Pennsylvania Ballet' for decades are put off by the name change while "Philadelphia Ballet" does not attract a new, numerically significant audience.

How many people "loyal to the entity...for decades" are likely to be sufficiently "put off" by the change that they drop that loyalty? (By no longer donating? Sure, maybe a few, I guess. By no longer attending? Even fewer, I think.)

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In and of itself, the name change may be meaningless. But to the extent that the name change becomes emblematic of the company adopting another identity to the one its had lo these many years, then it might be significant. On the other hand, the company may have already absorbed that hit with the change in artistic directors.

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A lot of organizations are relying on emotional attachment to continue to be supporters after a major disruption in which a lot of people have considered, at least, reassessing their priorities.  While organizations are reliant on major donors, they still a lot of us little people to continue to write comparatively little checks and to subscribe.

If I weren't loyal to PNB and Seattle Opera, for example, I wouldn't have renewed my physical subscriptions, knowing that I'm not planning to be in the theater until 2022.   Other organizations I'm more on the fence about, and if they sent a message like "We've rebranded" that annoyed me they would go into in the "purge" pile for no particularly rational reason.

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