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Do you save your ballet programs?

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Since I started going to the ballet in the 1960s, I've never knowingly thrown away a program. For the first few years, I even clipped reviews of the performances and saved them inside the programs. I suppose the thought was that in my golden years (hah!)I'd relive some great moments at the ballet. It hasn't worked out that way. The neat chronolgical piles long ago gave way to an apartment-wide mess. In no discernable order, there are programs in every drawer, on and under every surface. If I wanted to put my hands on a specific one, say for Suzanne's farewell performance in 1989, I couldn't do it in a million years. Although I now realize the futility of the endeavor, I still bring home a couple of programs a week and stick them in any available nook or cranny.

Has anyone else had this experience? Where did I go wrong?

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When I started out I not only saved every program, but every review. Sigh. They began to take over my apartment, and so they had to go. I still have several shopping bags full of programs in the back of the hall closet. The last time I moved them, one fell apart -- and out came a correction slip reminding me that I had once seen Van Hamel dance Kirkland's role in "The Leaves are Fading."

Farrell Fan, long ago we had a thread here -- I believe Jane Simpson began it -- of how do you keep track? Several people have spreadsheets of what they've seen and who danced what. In my next life.....

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I keep all my programs from any theater event I've attended and I have boxes of them stacked in the spare bedroom, not to mention the souvenier programs also. Most of the souvenier books are on book shelves though. Most of the stagebills are ballet related and it would be very hard to discard them. Whenever I try to clean that room I'm always hard pressed to finish because I'll inevitably start leafing through those old programs and then I find myself 2 or 3 hours later sitting on the floor in a shaft of late afternoon sunlight with a room not nearly finished! My husband is even worse. The other closet in that room is devoted to the concerts that he's attended over the years and holds programs, posters, tee shirts, etc. from the concerts. It's no wonder many of our regular clothes are on 2 racks in the middle of the floor instead of in the closets!

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I love going over old programs, especially when they tell me that I've seen things of which I have no memory whatsoever. Cynthia Gregory and Peter Martins in Le Corsaire? Oh, sure I remember that! It was ... nice. I particularly liked the way she stubbed out her cigarette on his bare chest. No, wait, I'm getting my ballets confused. That happens when we get older....

I usually just rip out the sheets that actually say what's on the program, and ditch the rest. That saves a tremendous amount of storage space. It's best to do this right at the theater rather than later, as it's really No Fun to go through a few years worth of programs ripping out the guts to save space. Besides, it makes me feel very worldly and cool to immediately rip out my program's innards and toss the rest the instant I sit down.

Maybe I'll keep one print of each season's program, just in case I want to read the features later (I'm still marvelling at the current NYCB program which has a feature on Andrea Quinn where the writer somehow managed to avoid asking the first question that would be on my lips -- "Ms. Quinn, why are you so darn fast all the time?").

A project for a Really Rainy Day will be scanning them all into my computer so I can lose them with a single disk crash, just as I can now so conveniently lose all my music.

I did once consider making a database of all the performances I'd attended, who did what, when, so the next time somebody asked me how many times I've seen Coppelia the answer will be right at my fingertips. Then I realized I have a life, or should try to have one.

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Juliet, every time I've thrown away something, I find I need it later. I actually tossed Walter Terry's biography of Bournonville once! (It's pretty vestigial, but I would have liked to have had it around.)

Libraries don't need these programs -- they already have them. They take 'em and they toss 'em if they're duplicates.

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Jeannie, didn't you once post that you had some sort of computer file of everythingyouhaveeverseen? I save everything including newspaper reviews; finding them is another story. But there they are (after Autumn's hours in a shaft of afternoon sunlight) and it's so pleasant.

Never throw anything away.


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Manhattnik: the reason you don't remember the Martins/Gregory Corsaire is because it didn't happen. This was the Diamond Gala about 18 or more years ago, right? Peter threw his back out during rehearsal & they cancelled.

Wasn't there a ballet on that program with laundry on a clothesline?

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Ah, thanks so much, Zerbinetta!

I believe there was an insert in the program announcing Gelsey Kirkland was cancelling (quelle surprise), but now that you've reminded me I seem to remember the Martins/Gregory cancellation was simply announced, with no insert.

I don't remember the clothesline dance, but sometimes forgetfulness is a blessing.

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so far as i know these days, the library no longer takes duplicates or spares of things as the annual sale no longer takes place. i used to keep every program, but after moving lately i no longer have some of what i kept and tend now to discard those i don't think i'll refer to again. tho' i still have a complete set of programs for major companies like ABT NYCB the Royal (British and Danish) ballets, the kirov, bolshoi, and a few others. some space is saved by keeping the casting sections and discarding the text and ad portions of the booklets. One convenient thing about NYCB is that its seasons, or at least its NYC ones are numbered by which NYC season it is, so the seasons can beshelved according to those numbers: the co. is currently in its 115th nyc season for example, that means one doesn't have to note on the frontmost covver the year, a simple number suffices to help keep them in somekind of chronological order. but it's still a 'growing' problem.

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I just keep the innards and put each season in a big brown envelop (that I steal from work), and file the envelopes alphabetically and then chronologically. However, if I see a lot one season, the programs are all mixed up, and to find something I have to sort through them all. Plus, there is no way to tell what was danced which season. I cannot tell when I last saw Raymonda, or who danced it, which I would like to know. So all in all, its not a great system, but it doesn't take up a lot of space.

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Well, joy to all of you who like to hang on to everything. I have worked in a variety of libraries my entire professional career, and I am happy to know that no one need ever lack for a ballet program anywhere on this planet.

Actually libraries and the companies themselves(not only NYPL, I am not speaking specifically here) sometimes still welcome donations as their collections become spotty through vandalism, mystery losses, etc.

My feeling is that if I want to find a reference, I know how and where to do so. I understand how some like to relive past pleasures through scrapbooks or collections, however.

(Unfortunately, in my daily work I am all too familiar with the donations given to libraries.....(sigh). One reason why I seldom go in bookstores for recreation any longer!)

My personal habit is to keep a program for a special engagement, and one representative program for a season. I actually like having the publicity brochures as much as the programs (the pictures, you know!!!)

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I never throw anything away either - I keep all programmes, advertisements, newspaper cuttings, even letters from the company about the forthcoming season etc! The programmes are on my bookshelves and everything else goes into shoebox-style containers which stack up - and up - and up!

This is only after about two years of going to see absolutely everything, I can't imagine what it will be like in 10 years time!

What information is in the programmes from US ballet companies? The Royal Ballet have a small size, but quite thick booklet for each ballet, with details of past productions, photographs of ballets, information on the choreographer, costume designer, scenery etc. I find them a useful source of information, I often dip into them to look at the pictures or look up something specific about a role, for example.

The casting is on a separate piece of paper, which is good if you see something several times with different casts, so you don't have to get a new programme each time. Doesn't work that way if you see the same thing in a different season though, because they change the pictures... the best bit for me! smile.gif

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I scan them into my computer and when they reach 600MB, I burn them into CDs in chronological order. Each CD is then indexed into Excel file. For all the newspaper reviews and articles, I'd go to their website and save them as Word files which will eventually archived into CDs and DVDs(after I get a DVD burner). I do the same for all my credit card, bank and investment statements. I almost have a paper-free household.

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I, too, have kept everything - and although I go to performances fairly rarely these days, I have programs going back to 1960 (only because I lost some earlier ones). I now have the problem of doing "something" with them, because my co-op is cleaning out our basement storeroom. The official "rule" is that EMPTY suitcases may be stored there but nothing else. Well, I have a gigantic steamer trunk packed with programs PLUS two filing cabinets full of them. In addition to ballet programs, I have opera and concert programs as well. The Old Met programs were large and flat and so didn't take up as much "stacking" room, but the playbills are just too fat. For a period of time I would save one whole program from each calendar month and stick the cast list from the others into that one. It's still far, far too many. I think I shall go the scanning route. What an enormous project that will be! However, some of my programs have been autographed, and I guess I shall have to keep those. I'm getting a headache just thinking about it. And I have several boxes full in my apt....

As someone else said: I would NEVER in a million years be able to put my hand on a specific program - except some of the very old ones.

Librarians: do libraries like old, autographed programs - eg. the RB Swan Lake, 1965, Fonteyn/Nureyev (it was the only one they did together in NY that year)??

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Greetings from the lost Collier sister. Books, clippings, programs, photos, you name it....I am entranced by the entry with a spare bedroom. Please send one. All that scanning sounds excellent, but time consuming. Not that scrabbling around in storage boxes isn't. I have years and years of press kits, too. What a mess.

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Ah-h-h...old programs--a very touchy subject for me. About 15 years ago I moved to a smaller house and something had to go...old programs dating back to the 40's--a complete collection of Richard Buckle's magazine, "Ballet"---a book of Gordon Anthony's Camera Studies and others too painful to remember. (I sold them to the Ballet Shop in NYC)

I have tried to make up for my rash decision by adding 50 books to my present collection.

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I used to collect programmes from every performance including many duplicates when I attended repeat performances by a company. However these started to fill my available storage location so I compromised and now collect only the list of performers and staple my ticket to the list. The pile of programmes I gave to our local ballet school where they were seized with enthusiasm by the younger students.

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I am making a collection of a NYC-Ballet and American Ballet Theater programs,i live in Detroit,MI. and the New York Theater programs

are not very common in garage sales and bazaars,

here in Michigan.

Would anybody be interested in selling or maybe

giving me their old extra NYCB & ABT programs? I

will make a collection for myself and create a

second collection to give to the Maggie Allesee

Dance Book Collection at Purdy Library,Wayne State University here in my home city Detroit.


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