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Makeover at Dance Magazine

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The January issue of Dance Magazine has a new look. Again. Since I started subscribing in the 1960s, I've seen more changes than I can remember. To just mention the cover, the name of the magazine has variously appeared in all caps, caps and lower case, as one word (Dancemagazine)as a big word DANCE with a little word magazine, etc. etc. In the new version "magazine" has disappeared altogether, and DANCE "bleeds" from the edges of the cover. But the most startling change is the disappearance of the vertical line in the D, so that it looks like a backward C. And it's not because of the bleed. It's that way on the inside too (but not in the small type at the bottom of the pages).

The cover has a curious sepia look and on the inside it's frequently difficult to tell what's editorial and what is advertising. The feature "25 to Watch" is marred for me by the difficulty in reading the headings, which are in white against a pumpkin-color background. (Would you believe Alexandra Ansanelli is someone to watch -- where have they been?) Anyhow, to me, the whole thing looks like an upscale catalog rather than a magazine. I'd be curious to hear other opinions.

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I've just gotten mine and haven't opened it -- but I agree that there have been a lot of changes over the years. The magazine was recently bought by McFadden Publications, a mainstream publisher, and I was told that there would be changes in design -- this has happened at other publications to increase their newsstand viability.

I'm curious what age group you think the magazine is aiming for, FF? When you subscribed, it was not a teen publication. It has been moving in that direction in recent years. Where is it now?

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When Dance Magazine changed its' format a few years ago and moved it 's headquarters to California I posted a comment on aab. I believe I sent them an email as well. I have been a subscriber since the mid-80's and complained I didn't appreciate the changes. I heard directly from the editor, who's name escapes me. She asked for more feedback. I almost cancelled my subscription but opted to keep it since it still represented familiarity and provided some of what I enjoyed about the publication.

I use to be so excited to get my new issue of Dance Magazine but now more than once I have put it aside and read it only

fleetingly. What's the old adage...less is more. Listen up Dance Magazine we want news, photos and commentary not sales pitches.

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Yes, I think it's sad that it's difficult to tell the difference between ads and articles in the magazine. In my opinion It is almost only ads with beatiful pictures, but there isn't really that much to read. Especially if you are not based in the US, and don't have so much benefit of the ads and college guide or whatever they usually have in the magazine.

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As Farrell Fan pointed out, there has been many makeovers of Dance Magazine. I believe there have been at least three in the last 5-6 years. That's probably a sign the magazine isn't doing well. And I think it is because they have strayed from what people enjoy about the magazine - dancer profiles with beautiful pictures (both from the photo studio and on stage) and features about ballets and companies.

I understand that the average age of the DM reader is very young. Do they want all those articles on competitions, schools, equipment etc...? I would guess some. But when I was very young and reading DM, I wanted to read about the dancers. They were longer than in the recent editions - I still have old issues with interesting in-depth profiles of Farrell, Gregory, Fonteyn, Paul Taylor. And one of my favorite articles on Serenade was in DM. Do I expect complicated analysis of ballets in DM? No, but they can still celebrate a work without alienating those who are not interested in reading Ballet Review.

And it wasn't so long ago DM used to do a full-color preview when a major international ballet company came to the United States. And a extra long review before the regular review sections - NYCB, ABT and a few other local companies also received this treatment as well (the same for top modern companies). Now the Kirov came to New York with a major reconstruction and it received a tiny review in the back.

The ad-editorial content confusion is not new. The first magazine I really remember making an effort to mesh ads with editorial was Fame magazine. Talk also did it, but some magazines do it more seemlessly.

I think DM has to understand what it is, especially in the internet age. It appears to have made a change for the better in the news section. The days are over when a monthly, or even a weekly, can deliver breaking news. What a monthly can to do is interpret the news, go deeper, have experts comment. And I can understand a certain skimping on the reviews. In the 1980s, I couldn't go on line to read how Oakland Ballet's opening night went. I had to go the DM, or to the New York Public Library on 42nd street and look at the regional newspapers. Now you can just look it up online. So what can DM do? Its edge over some newspapers is its cadre of top reviewers.

On the other hand, DM's main revenue is those ads for ballet schools, camps and competitions. Maybe the only way for the magazine is to turn itself into Dance Spirit.

Pointe started out promising - lots of profiles both small and large. Beautiful pictures. Even the articles on technique and coaching were interesting to the non-dancer. However, the magazine seems to be going in the same direction Dance Magazine.

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