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 Post subject: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2001 2:12 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
While reading some of Cathy's reports of the recent visit of San Francisco Ballet to Paris, I noticed something in particular that she said several times, if I understood her correctly, that she noticed that many of the regular attendees to the ballet were missing from the audience.<P> She lamented the fact. She felt they were not interested in seeing a company from somewhere else, even with the wonderful reputation that the San Francisco Ballet has. They didn't feel this was worthy of their time. I found this sad, and disturbing.<P>At two recent performances one of Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg, and the Paris Opera Ballet, both performing at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, in Costa Mesa, California, I noticed something as interesting. <P> I have had season tickets for the ballet at this theater for many, many years. Generally speaking the people that we pass in the halls, salons, and aisles of the theater are speaking English, or once in a while (given the locale of S. California), some Spanish.<P>But on these two performance nights it was different. Remarkably so. At the Eifman performance we seemed to be in a sea of Russian speakers. And on the POB evening, likewise we were in a sea of French speakers. That these people would come is wonderful!! But, why only on those nights? Why don't we hear a blend of all those languages on nights when we have attended an ABT or NYCB, etc., performance? Why no obvious sounds of Russian at the performance of POB and vice versa?<P>Do people attend a ballet performance for nationalistic reasons? I think to some extent - even to a great extent, they do. That is a new thought for me. It would never occur to me to do that. I see the dance as an international language and I am ready to see dancers from wherever they may come.<P>Your thoughts..........<P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited June 09, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 1:32 am 
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Location: London
Basheva - alas, I think that what you say rings true - that, very often, people attend dance for nationalistic reasons. We notice the same thing here in our big theatres, namely the Royal Opera House and Sadler's Wells. Having said that, with, say, the Houston Ballet coming to London, at least it got new faces through the doors of Sadler's Wells that might actually come back to something else, if tempted. <P>Perhaps it is incumbent on advertisers and marketers to widen the market and not just appeal to what is their normal market?? I can't believe that someone turning out for their home country's ballet wouldn't turn out for something else per se - just a different mind set involved.<P>We have another problem in London right now - that the audience for hugely expensive tickets for the Kirov performing at the ROH this summer, is huge, but we can't seem to get bottoms on seats for other dance companies. Kirov is perceived as the tops here in London by the average audience. I am happy for them to think that - just so as long as that doesn't stop them from going to see other companies. Otherwise these companies won't ba able to come back to London if their ticket sales are not right up there.<P>As SF Ballet is coming to the ROH, it will be interesting to see how they do, considering that the Kirov would just have emptied the pockets of the usual crowd at the ROH.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 4:32 am 
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You completely understand why I said about audience and SFB, Basheva. It's sad especially that in France, prize for guest companies as SFB or next year Scala of Milano are less expensive that for normal programm. But french audience was not curious to discover this ballet <BR>I must go to see Bordeaux Ballet next saturday and I will see if the theater is full or not.<P>I think you have a nationalistic question, it's sure when you hear the french reaction<BR>and I heard very often "they're not good, they're not equal to french dancer" (For my opinion, it's completely wrong, but you have audience member who swear only by french). I heard also stupid comments about toes of the female dancer which are old, bad attached and so on. We have the feeling of people who want critics only because the dancer and the ballet are not french. For Othello, the composer was not original, he was very influenced by too many other composers, but they seem forget that Beethoven is very influenced by Mozart which is very influenced by Haendel. At every time, you have composer influenced by other, but how they consider as Great Composer, they forget it.<P>Like you Basheva, I heard especially english spoken for the both Opening night but it seems normal that the natives come to see people of same origin.<P>Against it's really sad the lack of interest of balletomanes for foreign companies. I'ms sure if it was Kirov, they went to see it. I have the feeling, audience judge also by company's name. They all get to see ABT, next year because they know ABT as the company of Baryshnikov and Makarova and so on. They go to see Bolchoi or Kirov because for too many people Russian dancer are again the best in the world. <P>I think it's not a money question for french audience, but a culture question.<BR>

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 5:00 am 
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Well, I am glad I am not alone in my perceptions. And Cathy you are very right, people still think that Russians are the best. They are wonderful dancers but so are so many others - so many others. <P>I had a mother once come up to me who was thinking of enrolling her child in my ballet class. She said she was hesitating because I didn't have a Russian name!! So I told her my family was originally from Russia - ha ha. <P>Do you think that the globalization of dancers - dancers from many different countries being in the major companies - will help this situation? Some companies are more integrated than others, I know.<P>But I can see where that could also backfire. If many Russian dancers, for instance, join the Royal Ballet, then some people will think "well now the company is legitimate" - that because there are Russian dancers in the ranks the company is better.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 6:11 am 
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Interesting question...demographics. When I went to see the Alvin Ailey performance here in Seattle, it was probably about 50-50, white/African American. Not in dance, but I went to an evening of special violin music about 2 years ago; the musicians were "moonlighting" from the Seattle Symphony. Turns out most of the musicians were recent Russian emigres. I heard a LOT of Russian in the lobby during intermission. Maybe folks are interested/curious/supportive of "people like us". Maybe makes them "nostalgic" (in the case of the Russians), proud, happy, ?????? Makes sense. Dont' know if this patronage translates to other cultural events.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 6:32 am 
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When I have seen Dance Theater of Harlem - it always makes me very sad to see so very, very few Black people in the audience. And there's usually just a few more for Alvin Ailey.<P>I always wonder why. But, then I don't see many Black people in the National Parks either.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 6:43 am 
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I guess the thing that bothers me, is that when we try to foster, promote dance - we don't speak with one voice. Opera, for instance seems to speak with one (for the most part) voice.<P>In the world of dance there are so many kinds of dance - I know people who enjoy modern who wouldn't dream of attending a ballet performance....and vice versa. And then there's musical theater dance, jazz, tap, hip hop, ballroom......and so on. So many voices.<P>But it seems that even within those worlds there is further separation - into nationalistic (Russians are better dancers, or I am French so I only go to see POB, etc., etc.) fractures. And probably not only nationalistic lines, but racial lines. No wonder dance has problems with financial/supportive health.<P>These are delicate issues, but issues nonetheless.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 7:32 am 
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I'm not clear about what you mean by "one voice" Basheva. Opera to me, just by virute of the incredible PRICE of the tickets (more expensive than ballet tickets even, assumedly because of the tremendous overhead cost of opera, and huge fees paid to the star singers) cuts out a segment of the population right there. I'm not saying that there are not low cost opportunites to see opera....of course there are...free opera in the park, etc etcetc. BUT the norm, ie. subsription or individual tickets, are QUITE hefty. Sorry, didnt' mean to get "off topic". Just had that thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 7:37 am 
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By one voice - I mean there isn't really as much division in the artistic end of opera - such as there is in dance.<P>People who love Verdi will go see Puccini.<P>Whereas people who love Mark Morris or Paul Taylor might very well not go to see Giselle - and vice versa. <P><BR>I am not talking about ticket prices at all - but artistic/nationalistic and even racial divides.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited June 10, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 8:01 am 
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Okay....got it.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 8:53 am 
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In France, it's the same the Lyric amators go to see each Opera but the classical dance amators don't go to see modern programms, even it's the same company.<P>Audience for Nosferatu by Gallotta was not at all the same than for Paquita or other classical ballets. People who loves "tutu and pointes" ballets don't go to see Kylian, Mats Ek or modern piece. It's even the case for Robbins or Balanchine, too many people don't love them (I don't understand why - When we love classical dance, it's the classical dance at his paroxysm)<P>Against they go to see a classical programm by a small company only because it's repertory pdd or go to see an Etoiles gala because they're famous. <P>I don't love really french modern dance and don't have so money to see all but at POB I try to see every programm, classical or modern.<P>I think audience is again influenced by reputation, they go to see because, the reputation is good. They don't try to discover, it's sad. They go to see finish ballet only because it's Guillem who dance her own Giselle Version. <P>They don't go to see the other ballerina with finnish ballet. It's the fame. I saw that each time they invit guest modern companies, they don't have the same audience.<P>What is strange too, if a company dances in Garnier or in other show room, it's not also the same public. Forsythe amators go to see Forsythe ballets by Francfurt ballet but don't go to see them with POB. Against it's for POB that the most famous piece In the middle was created. It's the same thing for Mats Ek. They go to see Cullberg ballet but don't see appartement's creation for POB.<BR>

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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 8:59 am 
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Oh, you mean it's not normal for one person to regularly attend ballet, modern dance, fringe festivals, opera, symphonic concerts, musicals, etc. in both big houses as well underground venues? Stuart, you and I had better check into a clinic I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 9:27 am 
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Well, I think there is something skewed - in attending a performance for purely nationalistic reasons....silly me. <P>Sure, if I was living in let's say, Spain, and ABT came - sure I would go to see them - of course I would. But then I would go see ABT ANYWHERE. And I can assure you I would see the national companies of Spain too - both in Spain - or here in the US. <P>I just don't get only going to the ballet when the company of your native country comes, and not for others. <P>I am not a modern dance lover - probably because I haven't been exposed to good modern dance. However, if a good company came here - I would go. And if NYCB or some other ballet company came here and did some modern work - I would go.<P>But, then I belong in the same clinic as Azlan and Stuart, I guess.<P>Just seems like another line fracture to me and goodness knows, dance already has enough of them.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 12:10 pm 
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
I've noticed the same thing at ABT. When Dvorovenko and Belotserkovsy are dancing, there are many more Russian-speaking folks in the audience. When it's Paloma Hererra or Julio Bocca, it's Spanish that's heard (and we can be even more specific and say that the Argentinian crowd shows up). And when Eifman came in, my husband said he felt like he was in Russia. It doesn't mean that other ethnicities are excluded (although it was very hard to come by a ticket to Eifman in NY, and they are already selling for next spring!). I think there is some national pride involved, of wanting to see and support dancers from their homeland. I don't object to that or see it as a fracturing. It means that more people are being exposed to at least part of what ballet has to offer.<P>However that is a different situation from one where a visiting company is shunned by local residents, as with SFB in Paris. That disturbs me. And in some ways, I'm guilty, too. When time and resources are limited, I'd prioritize by going to ABT rather than a visiting company. When we lived in Manhattan, we'd see just about everything that came through, but not so now. <P>I get upset at the Parisian notion that SFB is not as good as POB. How do they know if they don't go? And sometimes it's not a matter of "better;" it's a matter of "different." Every company has unique qualities and strengths. This type of chauvinism concerns me.<P>I do fear for SFB in London, Emma, if they are right on the heels of the Kirov. Perhaps some good reviews would help the non-Russian companies to gain a better reputation and attract more audience?


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 Post subject: Re: Is the Audience Fracturing......?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2001 9:02 pm 
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I completely agree with you Nancy, but they don't know the name, they don't go. We have not too many advertising too. <BR>If POB programm miss to not be full. They make prize for phone booking, it was the case for Nosferatu. If you said "Vive l'Opéra", you have 15% less on the ticket prize. They make also big advertising campaign to try to full the theater. Against it's not the case for foreign companies.<P>French are not curious to discover. It was strange the seven time I go to see SFB, I not heard too many french, I heard italian, german, english spoken, tourist who cames to see Garnier show room. One time I even was with a couple of San Francisco people who came to see SFB ballet but they didn't see POB the week before.<P>I don't know if I find time to see Kirov at Versailles, and I'm very sad, but I'm sure, it will be not only russian people. I don't understand why this love again for russian dancers. Because if technically they are good, they're completely lost the Kirov russian style. It begins to be the same thing at POB. But I'm sure that people will say "What beautiful dancer". <P>I saw that english audience was not really happy to see POB at Manchester and criticize more them than american people who seems to find POB good troup. They swore only by Royal ballet company and also Kirov or Bolchoi. <BR>Look on the other website, it's always for RB, Kirov, Bolchoi and for Bayadère at Manchester by POB even if Manchester is not London, they don't go to see and when they see they find them not really good. I even saw someone who said to see the worst performance of the year !!!<P>It's not for you Stuart, I know you loved them.

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