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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2000 10:00 pm 
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in another thread in ISSUES,
http://forum.criticaldance.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=3&t=000140

the following posts appeared; slightly off-topic from the intended, but equally applicable...so here's their own special thread...thanks babs!

babs (in her first post as a moderator?) wrote:

Quote:
Okay, warning warning...here comes the soap box.

YOU (and I can only speak of the American system here, I am not familiar with others), the AUDIENCE can help determine what comes to your town. The presenters will (for the most part) listen to their audience. Dance companies do not (with, again, some exceptions) decide, "Hey, this year, let's to San Diego and then Iowa...I'll call the theatre and see what they got".

The LOCAL presenter who works for the LOCAL organization (a theatre, a presenting group, a state arts organizations, somebody who lives in your town)HIRES the company to come in to the town to perform. They want to hire a company that they either know will sell tickets, if the house is large enough, to recoup the cost, or a group they know they can get funding for.

San Diego was mentioned, so let's talk another aspect. Who is presenting dance. A quick looksey through one source I have, and I see three presenters for dance that spring to view for San Diego:

1)San Diego Concourse - Convention and Performing Center (using halls that seat either 2992 or 4337)(That's big). No mention of how much their budget is for artist fees.

2) San Diego Museum of Art - annual budget of $150,000 to $200,000 for artist fees, and they seem to have one venue that seats 420 people (pretty small)

3) University of California - San Diego - no mention of annual budget, but I would surmise from the other University of California schools that it's between 100,000 and 200,000 dollars. Two theatres (seating 495 and 788) and a ballroom seating 1200. Lynne does a good job of bringing in a variety of dance companies, a great job in my opinion. Now, I didn't get to see the theatres (we were in the ballroom) but even 788 is not a big house for a really big name company.

So, here we have three presenters of dance in San Diego. And they also all present other things as well. So they have to spread that $200,000 in artist fees out carefully, and where they think they will get the most bang for their buck, while at the same time fulfilling their missions.

Now, what does a company have to charge the presenter? Well, a ballet company I am familiar with can't, in one person's words of humor, "cross the street for less then $15,000". So a big story ballet is going to cost a pretty penny. And I have no idea what the fees the big dogs demand. I work for a smallish mid-sized modern company (six dancers). If I come to you, and I can manage to get excellent airfares, and find a great hotel rate and you are within a certain area that allows for less per diem to be paid, and lower plane ticket prices, I can probably spend a week at your facility, doing whatever sort of residency activities you want, and performance(s), and I will be charging you at least $15,000. And that's making very little profit to the company itself....I may be able to lower some of that, if I am playing in other areas near you, and can split the cost of getting there. And don't say it's all the crew people adding those costs - there's just two of us, and sometimes just one. And we don't fly first class. And we stay in hotels where they don't let you take the hangers off the rack.

(This is my rating for a hotel now - I have decided the hangers in the closet speak of what level hotel is: hangers that come completely off, and look like hangers, and can hang on any other rack in a room are in nice hotels. The next level is where the triangle of the hanger disconnects from the part that stays firmly attached to the rack. The cheapest hotels are also the ones where the entire hanger unit stays on the rack.)

But if my company is taking 15,000 of that 100,000, imagine how much, say a company like White Oak demands. You have star name. You have a company with six dancers, and seven crew and several other support staff. Let's just pretend their fee is $50,000 (and I have NO IDEA what it is, so this is not real). But if it were this case, you have already spent $65,000, more then half your budget on just two shows. And you still want a symphony show!

So, this thing called dance is expensive, even though very few are particularily making a profit.

Then you add other crazy money things in. For instance. New York City Ballet. Washington DC Balanchine Festival. One would have thought the master's company would have been there. But, the company's contract has a clause where in the company cannot perform with X miles of New York without using the orchestra, or at least paying them as if they had been there. Washington had a contract that they had to use their musicians I guess. The poor presenter could not afford paying for TWO orchestras, even though ONE of them never would have played a note, and hence, NYCB stays home.

So, to close this rambling ramble, let me say this. You do something.

Make noise to the presenter about what you want to see.

Support your presenter financially. If you are a hotel, let them house their guests their for CUT rates costs. If you are an airline big wig, offer them cheap rates. If you are a restaurant, offer food. If you have a lots of cash, offer cash. And if you cannot offer monetary services, offer yourself as a service. Volunteer. Help them find the sponsorship they need to bring in the artists you are interested in.

Get to know what government funding there is locally for the arts. Support the politicians that support that. Find out what foundations support the arts. Support those foundations, or let them know you appreciate where the money goes. Encourage other organizations to do the same. Start your own foundation.

Do something.

Oh, and great dance doesn't come only from the names you know.

Great dance doesn't only come from New York (second on my list of major peeves - first is people standing in front of the booms)
<font size = -2><center>(Edited by salzberg to fix link)</center></font>

<small>[ 08-11-2002, 13:36: Message edited by: salzberg ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2000 10:02 pm 
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<B>marie</B> wrote:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>BabsLight you make some excellent points! Letting your local presenters know what you want to see is a really good idea. I met a woman in D.C. who let a presenter know what she wanted to see on her birthday and it came to fruition, basically she guaranteed an audience for at least one of the nights. Presenters may hesitate to book something when they don't know if it will sell. <P>North America really needs a better touring network--the East Coast seems so separate from the West. What a shame that Ultima Vez came to eastern Canada in Oct. and then only touched down in Seattle before heading back to Europe. The Seattle venue sponsors are Boeing and Microsoft; they must have played a big (financial) part in UV coming out west... I end up driving to Seattle a lot--the presenters in Vancouver produce almost all local stuff, which I appreciate, but I like to see international work as well.<BR><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2000 10:04 pm 
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<B>stuart sweeney</B> wrote:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Regarding influencing schedulers, again it's different here as most are specialist dance bookers. I once tried to influence a Programming Director here who rubbished my idea in quick order. Ironically the company did eventually appear in the venue to good critical acclaim and almost achieving budget sales. <P>Babslight is right of course, dance ain't cheap and people expect to see it for chicken feed as opposed to opera which just seems to be expensive. I once asked a London Administrator on behalf of a US dance company what their prospects were in the UK. I was told, 'Ask them how much they can afford to lose.'<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2000 10:07 pm 
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<B>basheva</B> wrote:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Well, actually there are some other things that happened in San Diego. The main theater here, The Civic Theater, seats 3000 and was perfect for when Sol Hurok was presenting major companies. There was an annual dance season and it was VERY well attended if not a complete sell out - it was very close. <P>Then the booking protocul changed and people who run the theater began to sell on a first come first served basis. And they began to schedule into this performing arts theater anyone who wanted to book it. Like high school graduations and corporate meetings. Well, a high school can schedule graduations for many years into the future - and that is what they did. So when the major dance companies wished to engage the theater it was already booked with a non-performing arts event. And it killed the dance season here in San Diego.<P> Also booked into the theater and given preference was the San Diego opera and the San Diego Symphony (both performance and rehearsals). I made many phone calls to the the man who was the head of board running the Civic Theater at that time. I also wrote a letter which appeared in the program for the theater. My argument was that a performing arts theater should give preference to performing arts. High school graduations can be held in one of the many convention halls in the city.<P> So there came a night (one of the last of the dance series) in which the audience sitting in the theater were reading my letter (including the mayor of the city who was there that night) and nothing was done to alleviate this problem. The protocul was not changed. So the annual dance season died. I also called my representative on the city council many, many times - so I did what I could do. The city was more interested in having the theater booked as a money maker - no matter what the event was - even if it was a non-performing event.<P>There was also a problem for quite a while of a too hard floor on the stage and companies began to boycott the Civic Theater for several years.<P>There is another theater now in Escondido which is hosting dance such as White Oak Project but it is about 40 miles north of San Diego and so far has presented nothing that attracts me - so I cannot speak to its size and suitability. So far no major dance companies have booked there. The theater in El Cajon which is about 25 miles east of San Diego is much too small. <P>The only real venue here for the major dance companies is the Civic Theater in downtown San Diego. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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