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:
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.
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>