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Alexandra

Bad news. Rich people don't like ballet either!

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One city's struggle to build an opera and ballet center.

From Toronto:

If the well-heeled won't support the ballet or the opera, who will?

"While the survey suggests that Canada's millionaires treat opera and ballet much as they would red-headed stepchildren, Julia Drake, spokeswoman for the National Ballet of Canada, points to the efforts of philanthropist Walter Carsen as evidence that the enthusiasm of even one ardent supporter can go a long way. "Walter underwrote our productions of The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet and The Firebird," she says. "His support has meant a lot to the company." "

http://www.nationalpost.com/

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People always ask me why ballet dancers don't make any money. But when I ask them when the last time they saw a ballet was they say never. What's with that?

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Having been a red-headed stepchild myself, I must admit that I am hurt. Perhaps there is some connection, though, because being a red-headed stepchild left me feeling less than appreciated in much the same way that being a ballet dancer/teacher does.

Do you think that people don't really like ballet or simply follow the masses in believing it must be boring? (Without ever having actually seen one performed) I live in a city that has had numerous failed atempts at having a professional ballet company, yet they all would give their left arm to get good tickets to the almost always sold out baseball and football games. How sad.

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Dm -- what is it with Baltimore? We have touring companies bringing in Broadway shows all season long, and incredible symphony, wonderful art museums, but for some reason ballet just "doesn't take" here. Washington Ballet used to do a season at Goucher years ago -- but they didn't have enough interest to continue. I don't know why a city of this size cannot support a ballet company. Its a shame really.

And I agree with the other poster that it is amazing how few people have actually seen a ballet, and they think all ballet is tutus and tiaras. They are missing so much!

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But thats not all rich canadians. There are some who give tons of money to more than just one art. There is a couple in my town that gave more money than all the commercial companies to build a orchestral venue. Don't blanket All rich canadians to not giving money. There are some.

gwschloss

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Guest sarah_ballerina

I agree with about all of you expecially gwschloss don't stereotype rich (higher class) canadians to a steal from the poor give to the rich cenerio I'm positive there are some if not many that give to the arts. also broadway shows do get more than ballets and thats not right either. don't take it the wrong way any of you

;)

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Sarah and gwschloss, the link to this article is no longer active, unfortunately -- most newspapers remove articles to archives after a few weeks -- but the point of the article was not that Canadians are stingy. It was a long, thoughtful commentary in a Canadian newspaper about the state of the arts and arts philanthropy in Canada, and the struggles of one performing arts center.

Balletstar, dmdance and Doris R -- you've hit on the big puzzle. Ballet and opera to most Americans are like garlic to a vampire. (And the vampire at least has good reasons for avoiding garlic!) Walking the tightrope between trying to pander to audiences who don't like ballet -- doing pop pieces, or a ballet about the Orioles in Baltimore, say -- and building an audience among people who do is probably one of the biggest problems in ballet right now.

I think one of the biggest reasons for the current lack of interest is simply lack of exposure. Companies don't tour. While undoubtedly TV, video games and other post-1950 inventions would compete with ballet so that there isn't the audience for touring companies that existed in the 1940s and 1950s, this may be a chicken-and-egg problem. Companies stopped touring, an audience drifted away.

Also, the Me Generation (which is becoming the Me Two Generation and heading for Me Three) where the prevailing ethic is "I'm not interested in anything that doesn't concern ME directly" or "What can ballet do for ME?" doesn't help. With all the education programs in the arts, schools (and families) have failed to give children and young adults a world view -- "You should be interested in this because it's part of your world and besides, it's interesting and you should know something about it."

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My company is currently trying to attract an audience of children to the ballet, hoping that they will want to see our more classical shows. We are currently doing a show called billy's best birthday, in which a boy wishes to fight dragons while blowing out his birthday candles. The show runs just over an hour long and includes wizards on rollar blades and a three headed dragon, in addition to classical ballet. The kids have really seemed to enjoy it, and hopefully they will come see our christmas production of the Nutcracker as a result :cool:

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Folks, just to let you know where the posts on ballet on film and video disappeared to, I put them in their own thread on ballet videos. It's a really interesting topic with some very interesting commentary, so please hop over there to check it out.

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