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RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES
http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1569
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Author:  sirspence [ Sat Oct 23, 2004 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

Hello,
I have been searching for ever, understanding that my frame of mind is centered on a typical thought process of rankings. Meaning, why is there no source that lists the top ballet companies and top ballet schools in America and the world. I just thought it would be helpful for lay people to see who is at the top and flock to support those companies where ever they may be.

Oh, Orlando ballet sucks...

Thanks..

Author:  ari [ Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

It's all a conspiracy by those of us who are *not* enormous companies, to force you to flock to us instead. ;)

No, okay, seriously...I think it's mostly a matter of difficulty. How do you compare "best"? I think it's easy to pick out a top tier, but at that point...what do you judge on? Technique? Artistry? how do you quantify this? Time in existence?

I am sure there are articles discussing the top tier, but apart from those general strata? very difficult.

Author:  Azlan [ Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

We've had various discussions on this subject before. When someone has time, perhaps he or she can link to those topics.

However, let me say that I agree with Ari that this is not only a very difficult exercise but also a very dangerous one.

First, here are some reasons why it's difficult:

- Tastes vary. You may like full-length story ballets and hence companies that perform only those types of ballets. Well, I think companies that limit themselves to classical ballets and not push the envelope are hurting the artform.

- Styles vary. Vaganova, Balanchine, Tudor. Need I say more?

- Production values matter. One may like flamboyant productions with megastars. I think any company that has to depend on theatricality and superstars tend to be limited in true talent.

- Size matters, maybe. Big companies enjoy attention. However, some small companies pack a lot of talent into every single production.

- Geography could be a factor. A company in a region with a strong ballet-oriented community will eventually be inspired to shape up, no matter how low the resources.

- What about schools? Famous dancer = great teacher? Nope. History has proven otherwise. Lots of students graduated into professional corps dancers = good school? Nope, not necessarily. That could just mean a factory for mediocre dancers.

- Why do you want to do it? Do you care if your breakfast cereal is ranked? Or type of paper you write on? Would it make sense for me to rank heavyweight glossy cardstock as the No. 1 type of paper? Well, no, because that type of paper is not only not practical for most people's needs but may actually be useless.

Now, why is it dangerous? Here's why:

- A single group's taste can dictate what everyone else sees. Would you be happy if because of my ranking system, companies then perform only the most avant-garde works by unknown choreographers?

- A ranking system can impede growth because it will make it even more difficult for newer companies to take root in your hometown, with "ballet power" consolidated within only a handful of artistic directors in a few select cities.

- A ranking system can also impede innovation because it has a habit of rewarding those already at the top -- as long as they keep doing what they're doing and don't try new things, they'll stay at the top.

Now, however, ranking by size, revenue, audience figures, number of productions, number of new works, or other tangible figures, is a different story and may actually be helpful in some cases if used in the right way.

For example, I've always wanted to start a funding group that gives incentives to small companies to not compromise: companies under 20 dancers, with revenues under $1M, with 15% new works each year half of which by choreographers with fewer than two prior ballets, and at least one post-performance talk with the choreographer for each new work.

That funding organization would also have a system penalizing companies that have a few megastars and a mediocre corps: companies with 5% of dancers performing all principal roles, a corps with an average full professional experience of under 5 years, more than 25% of artist salary concentrated in under 10% of dancers, and more than 33% of principals hired from outside the company. You will be surprised at how many so-called major companies qualify for this penalty...

<small>[ 23 October 2004, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sat Oct 23, 2004 6:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

Please do let us know your true feelings! Please don’t come on here and hold back your true thoughts! Okay, perhaps Orlando Ballet does “suck” compared to NYCB, Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Pacific Northwest, or NBoC. It’s not fair to compare a small company to the big markets. I decided to pay Orlando Ballet a virtual visit and discovered your season is rather short and your company is short on dancers. I’m sure they’re trying their best and they appear to have many fresh lovely faces who are also no doubt trying their best. I guess you’re stuck unless you move. My best suggestion is to purchase some ballet DVDs featuring world class ballet companies. At least your top ticket prices are only $81 Canadian. I assume they’re doing their best to mount a professional program.

<small>[ 23 October 2004, 11:23 PM: Message edited by: Michael Goldbarth ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Oct 24, 2004 3:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

Sirspence, welcome to CriticalDance and thanks for kicking off this discussion, but as we have already seen many people will respond with reasons why the ranking system notion is uninteresting. At risk of offending our American friends, this approach has a US flavour for me, perhaps based on the the dominance of sports in the national psyche.

I was surprised more than somewhat when one US critic elaborated an International/National/Regional/Local model for ballet companies with a range of criteria including some that did not relate directly to what appeared on-stage. San Francisco Ballet was placed in division 3, which showed how ludicrous the system was.

I think it better to talk about what companies bring to the table, be it superb dancers, interesting/innovative rep or esprit de corps. On this latter point, I once saw a modern dance piece for the second time with a group of young dancers. Previously I had seen it with a group of some of the finest dancers in the UK, but the youngsters worked so well together that their performance stood up well in comparison. A fine company can have really bad performances, for instance the Kirov's interpretation of MacMillan's "Manon" misses the point big-time and some smaller companies like the UK's Northern Ballet Theatre have an interesting rep that make them a welcome visitor.

There's a variety of ways that companies can succeed and maybe it's better to rejoice in their variety and differences rather than shoe-horn them into some inflexible sports league model.

<small>[ 24 October 2004, 05:20 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Sun Oct 24, 2004 6:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

That’s what I love about ballet. The only score is musical! Or is it? I read in the paper that Boston Ballet beat Dance St. Louis 11 to 9 on a two run grand allegro by Carlos Molina!! Sorry Stuart, I guess we’re wrong. Ballet is just like sports. There has to be a winner and a loser. :(

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Oct 25, 2004 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

Once again, Boston Ballet defeated Dance St. Louis, this time by the score of 6 to 2 behind a very courageous performance by principal dancer, Larissa Ponomarenko. She danced despite a serious injury to her ankle!

Boston Ballet hasn’t won the World Series of Ballet since 1918. Some say the long losing streak (Curse) can be attributed to the selling of ‘Babe’ Ruth St. Denis to Boston Ballet’s archrival, New York City Ballet. They needed the money to fund a new ballet: ‘No, No, Nanette.’

<small>[ 25 October 2004, 02:26 PM: Message edited by: Michael Goldbarth ]</small>

Author:  Matthew [ Mon Oct 25, 2004 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

OK let me rate them from my perspective ( a perspective of one )

1) POB
2) Kirov

-----------------
3) Royal Ballet
4) NYCB
5) ABT
6) Bolshoi

and I would go so far as to say there isn't much of a gap between 3-6, but there is a gap between the top two and the others.

I know people will disagree, even with the idea of ratings, but if all the companies were performing in the same city on the same night, this would be my list in choosing a performance.

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Mon Oct 25, 2004 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

Ok, here’s my Top Ten:

National Ballet of Heaven
New York City Ballet
Royal Ballet
POB
ABT
Kirov
San Francisco Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Bolshoi Ballet
National Ballet of Canada

Author:  Matthew [ Mon Oct 25, 2004 2:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

National BAllet of Heaven !!! :)

I have got to agree with that one!

Author:  Matthew [ Mon Oct 25, 2004 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

( Oh as an aside, there is a new rating system for top tier colleges which instead of looking at matriculation statisitcs - GPA, post employement statistics etc - they instead match up individual colleges against each other in a round robin type playoff - for example, for students accepted to both Harvard and Yale, how many choose Harvard, for students that are accepted to Yale and Stanford how many choose Yale, etc effectively letting the market decide which one is the best college. The biggest flaw in using a market approach in determining what is best is the assumption that the market defines what is best - a big assumption in any art form).

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Tue Oct 26, 2004 8:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

Boston Ballet is just one win away from winning the World Series of Ballet by out dancing Dance St. Louis 4 to 1 in the 3rd performance!

Author:  Michael Goldbarth [ Wed Oct 27, 2004 9:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

All good things come to those who wait! How apropos that it would require 86 years for Boston Ballet to 86 ‘The Curse’ on a total lunar eclipse! 100% proof, there must be a National Ballet of Heaven. :) ;)

Author:  shallot [ Thu Oct 28, 2004 8:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

Azlan,

May I have your permission to copy/paste your ranking post as an evidence of exemplary organization and bulletting for my High School Senior English class?

Author:  32tendu [ Tue Feb 15, 2005 6:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: RANKINGS OF BALLET COMPANIES

I noticed "Dance St. Louis" in a post here in a ranking. You all know they aren't a ballet company right? They do promote alot of out of town dance companies in St. Louis. However, the St. Louis Ballet Company is the only professional ballet company and school in St. Louis.

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