Most real-life situations are complex with a range of objectives and constraints. The skill is finding solutions with in such a framework and how to relax the constraints, if solutions cannot be found. Mart Kangro above has the luxury of being able to survive the experience of 20 people coming to see him and perhaps leaving unhappy at what they have seen. For a major company with tight financing this luxury is not available.
Finance and the grant systems play a key role in this network of constraints. For many ballet companies, the annual round of “The Nutcracker” is a vital part of the financial balancing act. I see from ksneds review that NYCB are up to 40 performances this year, while English National Ballet have over 60 around the country with the associated risks of artistic staleness and repetitve strain injuries. But this is a sure fire way to please audiences and fill the coffers. ENB receive around £5million pa grant from the Arts Council each year whereas the Royal Ballet (with around 50% more dancers) receives around £10m (assuming just less than half of the total ROH grant goes to ballet), almost double the ENB figure. As a result the RB was able to schedule only 16 “Nutcrackers” although wider audiences would have lapped up more of Sir Peter Wright’s sparkling revised version.
However, in order to achieve artistic objectives it is interesting that ENB had an exemplary triple bill
and new and recent commissions for their forthcoming Spring “Tour de Force”
. Thus they have balanced the objectives of the accountants and the artistic staff in an imaginative way this year.
Some fine choreographers such as Matthew Bourne seem always work with an audience in mind. He is on record as aiming to have tears in people’s eyes as they leave the theatre and succeeds in this more often than not. Whereas William Forsythe is nearer to the Mart Kangro approach and succeeded in taking the Frankfurt authoities along with him for close to 20 years.
One marketing approach that has paid off is the Dance Umbrella “proms” seasons which filled the 1,500 Sadler’s Wells theatre with modern dance work. The Royal Opera House used to run these until the sponsor withdrew when the elitism stories were at their peak. This was a brilliant piece of marketing an produced the most electrifying atmosphere at the ROH that I can remember.
Sorry this is all a bit scatter gun, but I blame haste in an Internet cafe!
<small>[ 07 January 2003, 10:38 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>