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 Post subject: National Ballet of Canada Winter 2005
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:33 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Usually when I receive correspondence from the National Ballet of Canada it’s a pleasant surprise. Today I eagerly opened the package and it felt like a big fat water bill! Egad! I was way off on what I envisioned subscription prices to be for next season! Below was my prediction:

Quote:
Michael Goldbarth

Joined: 28 May 2000
Posts: 771
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Posted: 09 Jul 2005 05:47 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I fear the NBoC will price themselves out of the market with the move to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. As discussed, the costs of presenting ballet will go up due to the new home, more performance dates, as well as more dancers to pay. Right now the single seats range in price from $39 to $133. Single tickets to watch the Toronto Maple Leafs range in price from $37 to $182! Here’s my prediction, the National will charge a nice round figure of 50 clams for the low end seats when the Four Seasons opens for the 2006/2007 season and the top seats will go for a nice fat round figure of $150! Gulp! Imagine coughing up $150 to see ‘the contract!’ Of course, seasons tickets will be goosed up as well! Below is what I see 6 Evening Performances costing:

# 1. $899.50 (Exclusive seating only available to subscribers and those who donate)
# 2. $799.50
# 3. $659.50
# 4. $549.99
# 5. $399.50
# 6. $329.50
# 7. $299.50
# 8. $199.50 (Oxygen mask not included)

Start saving up! I wonder how much fans will donate if seats go up this much? Donations help keep prices down. Goose ticket prices too much and many who donate may stop or drop down a level or 2 or 3. So Karen, what will ticket prices look like at our new venue?


I was right on for one price: $150! That’s how much it will cost you to see each performance for the top Subscription Orchestra seats. The National eliminated the Matinée section which I paid $577.50 for. Now I will have to pay $900 for the same seat for 6 ballets.

No Rent Control in this Building!

Grand Ring 1: $1,110
Grand Ring 2: $888

Orchestra 1: $900
Orchestra 2: $807
Orchestra 3: $705
Orchestra 4: $621

Ring Three 1: $807
Ring Three 2: $621
Ring Three 3: $447

Ring Four 1: $447
Ring Four 2: $315

Ring Five 1: $315
Ring Five 2: $216

Take note of the asterisk * (Subject to change!) They could goose prices up even further!

Subscription Prices for this season:

Orchestra 1&4: $697.50
Orchestra 2&3: $697.50
Orchestra 5&6: $577.50
Orchestra 7&8: $331.50
Orchestra 9&10: $232.50

Balcony 11&12: $451.50
Balcony 13&14: $253.50
Balcony 15&16: $136.50

I crunched the numbers and essentially everyone will be paying about 50% more. I wonder if the dancers will see any of this money? I wonder how many fans will renew their subscriptions? I wonder how many will downgrade their seating? I wonder how many will stop donating to the ballet because of the increased seating cost? I wonder how many fans will share a subscription and then purchase subscriber rush if it is offered? I know a lot of people will be in shock. If subscribers are paying $150 what will the better regular single tickets go for? Who is going to pay $200 to see the National Ballet of Canada :?:

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Last edited by Michael Goldbarth on Tue Dec 20, 2005 9:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:44 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
On a lighter note (pocket book wise), casting has been released for the Nutcracker. Click HERE. Greta Hodgkinson will be taking her pointe shoes to Florence Italy.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 7:15 am 
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Posts: 145
Location: Oshawa, ON Canada
There's a 25% discount for seniors.....not sure I'm old enough yet so I'm calling today to find out. Ironically, I try not to think of myself as a senior but I’m prepared to take advantage of any benefits my advancing years allow. One good thing about the senior discount is that it’s on all seats - at the Hummingbird it applies only to a section at the very back.

I wish we could actually get a tour of the building before choosing our preferred location - the scheduled tours don't take place until September 2006. I think I'd like a left-hand aisle seat in Section 1 but not sure what the sight line will be or how far back I should go. I guess this first year will be a learning experience. Also curious if there will be subscriber rush seats. All will be revealed in February when we get our subscription packages.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:23 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Hey Noreen, can you loan me some money for the Royal Box Ring Circle? I wonder if the NBoC will arrange financing? This new subscription plan is kind of like applying for a mortgage! LOL! :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 8:41 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
I can see Karen Kain, Mrs. Kevin Garland, David Banks, Joan Dea, Lucille Joseph, etc. etc. etc. sitting around their board room table rubbing their hands in glee voting on how much they can get away with goosing ticket prices! I think they way over played their hands with a 50% increase. I don’t see many fans calling. They know they’re all holding a Royal Flush. We have no chance.

What really galls me is that it costs more to see the National Ballet of Canada than New York City Ballet. Their top ticket price for a single ticket is $86 US, which works out to $100 Canadian. The National’s top seat, Grand Ring 1, goes for $185 Canadian. And that’s the price for a subscription seat, which is usually a savings over single ticket buyers. I imagine they will top $200 for the regular buying public. Sure, they may increase single ticket sales for the curious and it may be a date or special evening attraction. But once the appeal of the new house wears off, the National will have trouble filling the Four Seasons. Anybody in Toronto can recognize Mats Sundin and Pat Quinn. How many people do you think would turn heads if the very lovely Heather Ogden and handsome Guillaume Côté walked by?

So much for making ballet more inviting for those intimidated by the snobbish stigma of its Paris Opera past! I was very surprised there was no explanation provided for the 50% increase. :cry: No apology. Nothing. As Bogie said: “Take it and like it!”

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The world revolves around the beauty of the ballerina.


Last edited by Michael Goldbarth on Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:49 am 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
I decided to surf the Royal Ballet and San Francisco Ballet to check out their prices. What an eye opener SF Ballet was! Their top subscription package goes for $1,592 (US) plus a $1,100 (US) seating premium! That crunches out to $336.50 ($390.60 Canadian) per seat! For that you get 8 ballets but still…That’s a lot of money. I must assume only celebrities and CEOs sit in that section. The Royal Ballet was much more reasonably priced: Only 85 euros ($115 Canadian) for their top seat. I couldn’t find subscription packages. I must assume the Royal Ballet is heavily subsidized by the government.

Anyway, I think the National would have been much better off from a marketing standpoint to add a premium for preferred seating than their current structure. Toronto is a hockey town – NOT pointe shoe heaven. From my view of the stage, the NBoC has over priced themselves out of the entertainment market. As proof I offer up the poor response both replying wise and viewing wise of this very website for National Ballet of Canada Winter 2005.

Also, I would like a tour of the 4 Seasons should I decide to renew my subscription. From the artist's rendering in the pamphlet they provided, it appears the pricey Orchestra Level seats offer the absolute worst view. Heads block out much of the stage. I thought the seating would be more intimate and elevated to provide a better view.

Overall, I am extremely disappointed.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:52 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
ditto, Michael. I too felt a pain when I opened my mail from NBOC the other day, just hadn't had a chance to do the number-crunching...

I am feeling as though they have me over the proverbial barrel. I FINALLY have quite a nice seat at the Hummingbird, but heaven only knows what I will be given at the new place - of course if I don't re-subscribe asap, according to the letter we received, my first choice of seat will likely be gone. Grr.

:evil:

At the same time, I want to support a company that does employ some of the young dancers we have watched grow through the years of training. We are also hopeful that NBOC will employ additional dancers who are now completing their training...

I would also know why they chose the middle of the Christmas shopping season to tell us how much our future bills would be........ grr again.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:17 pm 
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Thanks for posting Mom2. I was getting kind of lonely. So much so, I was thinking about changing this topic to Michael Goldbarth’s NBoC Blog! Well, even though others may not have posted, others may not be aware of CriticalDance, or perhaps they are afraid Karen Kain reads CD! My subscription seat is H right in the middle. I often move around to get closer to the stage or an aisle seat where I won't have to worry about seeing over heads. From the NBoC’s preview of the Four Seasons this will continue to be a problem.

I wonder if the National knew they would have to increase ticket prices by 50% to make the move to the Four Seasons profitable? Any benefit of increased sales due to curiosity over the new venue will be offset by cancelled subscriptions, downgrading of subscriptions, and cancelled donations. With subscriptions :shock: sky-rocketing :shock: you are in effect making a donation to the ballet. This is not a good situation. They’re already having problems filling the house, and now you want people to pay more to see your product? Good luck. :roll:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:21 pm 
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Well, even though others may not have posted, others may not be aware of CriticalDance


What are some ways we could increase Canadian awareness of criticaldance?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:50 pm 
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It would be great if the NBoC would link to your site but I doubt that would happen! They only want positive posts about the National Ballet of Canada. Heaven forbid, the National receive constructive criticism. They fail to realize that sometimes bad publicity can sometimes be good in that at least people care enough to express their opinion.

I’m surprised I’ve never read about CD in Dance Magazine or Dance International. How about getting a newspaper to provide a link after a ballet review and inviting readers to comment on CD? If the National was smart they would promote CD in their web newsletter. They won’t because as I posted they only want light fluffy wonderful posts about their entertainment organization. The only way this would happen is if you removed the Critical from Dance. Of course, if all free thought was censored nobody would visit your site!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:51 pm 
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I'm hoping that NBOC will time the renewals such that they DON'T coincide with a bill from my daughter's University.....talk about an ouch just before the holidays!!

Salzberg, I think that the issue really is to increase involvement/patronage of dance in general up here. There's awareness and interest in certain centres of course, but even Toronto can't seem to find the audience for a tour of a major company from another country - this is so sad! (heck, there hasn't even been a smaller company touring these parts in recent years).......really, this is something that the school and the company should work on, as NBS is so well-respected world wide - those students should have access to live performances of other dance companies.

I think that NBOC is trying to become more "user-friendly" - just check out their Nutcracker website, and witness the ballet talks that are now a regular occurrence...but the big hurdle will of course be moving into that new theatre.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:36 pm 
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Quote:
Heaven forbid, the National receive constructive criticism. They fail to realize that sometimes bad publicity can sometimes be good in that at least people care enough to express their opinion.


From experience (personally and professionally) I can tell you I easily stop paying attention to constant "constructive criticism" from one source that occurs on almost a daily basis. A personal blog is a great idea.

:D


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:52 am 
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Thank you so much for the constructive feedback. Well, if I stopped posting then this topic and all things to do with the National Ballet of Canada would have very little information on this website. The other regular posters are Mom2 and Noreen. There may be a few others but that’s it. I believe in democracy and free speech. By the way, as far as I can recollect I have been right on most issues despite heavy opposition from the likes of you:

# 1. Kimberly Glasco! The National Ballet of Canada settled out of court for a reported 1 to 2 million dollars and apologized publicly to Miss Glasco.

# 2. The Contract ballet received mixed reviews and was a box office flop.

# 3. The NBoC’s audience is the equivalent of God’s Waiting Room. Karen Kain essentially confirmed this in her opening statement as AD:

Quote:
“I also believe it is vitally important that the National Ballet once again assert its place in the lives and general consciousness of the Canadian public. Our company is a national treasure, and we cannot let it recede from the dominant position it has always occupied in the country’s cultural landscape and the hearts of our audience. To this end we need to make strategic investments in audience development and outreach programs. I want to make the experience of great ballet a more instinctive and central part of people’s daily lives both through performances that set the standard for excellence in the arts and through programs that allow us to build and connect with the ballet-going public. All of us, everyone involved with the National Ballet, must be advocates for the company and ambassadors for our art to the community and the nation. The fastest way for our company to lose its direction and sense of purpose is to lose contact with our audience; the best way of ensuring not just our survival, but our centrality and ongoing relevance, is to build bridges to them.”


# 4. Michael Goldbarth also predicted Karen Kain would be crowned AD and prophesied that Mr. K. would step down about half a year before it happened.

I could go on and on and on! If you want to read fluffy PR stories then pick up a Toronto newspaper. If you want to read the truth, you can do so for free on CriticalDance! By the way, Michael Crabb of the National Post did not even review Swan Lake and the mixed program from a few weeks ago. I shall be posting my reviews shortly.

* Ironically, I did have a conversation with someone at the ballet during Swan Lake who reads CD and loves my posts!

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:37 pm 
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For those who would be interested in discussing ways of increasing awareness of criticaldance in Canada, I've copied the relevant messages from this forum into a new topic in the Volunteers' Room.

Anyone who wants access to that forum should email me.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:16 pm 
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I picked up the winter edition of Dance International and grinned from ear to ear as I read Michael Crabb’s story ‘Seeking Balance – Karen Kain takes on the most challenging role of her career.’

It appears Mr. Crabb is perhaps an ardent reader of my favorite writer, Michael Goldbarth. :D

Both Crabb and Goldbarth see eye-to-eye in the Princess Aurora/Carabosse split personality of Karen Kain. For your enjoyment I present a previous posting on June 26th of this year by yours truly.

Quote:
I winced when I heard NBoC chair David Banks introduce our new AD:“Please join me in welcoming the poster child for dance in Canada and our new artistic director, Karen Kain!”

Not just because I was hoping for someone else to assume the role but because of his choice of words: “Poster Child.” I know the term also has a more positive meaning but Karen Kain is a 54 year old WOMAN and far from a child. She’s about as soft as her name sounds! All this talk about “Canada’s Sweetheart” and “beloved” is a little much for anybody in the know to stomach. Her naïve little ballerina days have long been washed away by the sandcastles of time, battered feet, and a bad back. Karen Kain will be all business and no nonsense in her new role. Beware! Anybody who gets in her way will be paved over by her well greased political and PR machine! Speak against her and you might find yourself wearing cement pointe shoes at the bottom of Lake Ontario!


The below from Michael Crabb certainly confirms that Karen Kain is not made of sugar and spice and everything nice:

Quote:
“…As for Kain, I’m not sure I’d use the word ‘ruthless,’ but anyone who mistakes her genial, good-humoured nature for softness had better watch out. Canada’s ballet sweetheart is no pushover. She may not be ruthless – although it won’t shock me if she turns out to be – but Kain can certainly be, by self-description, ferocious when the need arises.”


Later Mr. Crabb discussed Karen Kain’s revival of Sleeping Beauty...

Quote:
“It was only later that I heard from a number of disgruntled dancers that during the revival process Kain had been ‘a perfect …’ You can guess the missing word. ‘She was never satisfied…’”


Michael Goldbarth provided a warning for James Kudelka:

Quote:
…Note to Mr. K: Karen Kain has control of the purse strings. He knows this was coming from the time he assumed the role of AD. Now there will come a time when the words “no” will be stated empathically and he will have to accept it. There’s a new sheriff in town and he’s a SHE!


And so did Michael Crabb:

Quote:
“Europe has never warmed to him and in New York, eyebrows head north if you drop the genius word. ‘Interesting,’ ‘imaginative’ and ‘provocative’ are perhaps more suitable adjectives…’”


I am reminded of the old saying, ‘Great Minds Think Alike!’ :lol:

Quote:
“Kudelka’s mixed bills had sold disastrously, and the decision to revive The Contract…also failed to draw the crowds.”


Karen Kain’s thoughts on James Kudelka:

Quote:
“I have to make the relationship work. It’s part of the job.”


According to a Crabb insider, Karen Kain’s major function as Mr. K’s right hand woman was
Quote:
‘damage control.’


A Crabb insider also said that Mr. K was not pleased with Mrs. K cutting 3 of his proposed ballets for 2005/2006.

Of course, Michael Crabb lacked that certain subtlety of Goldbarth’s prose:

Quote:
Maybe Karen Kain is just what the National Ballet of Canada needs at this moment in its history. The last person you want in this job at this time is a “sweetheart.” If the National needs money or a favor I feel sorry for the politician who denies her. They will be publicly embarrassed. She’s done it before!

Of course, politics and the arts mix like oil and water. Rewind your memory back to November 25th of 1999 for The Political Nutcracker at Queen’s Park. Canada’s prima ballerina, Karen Kain, accompanied by Nutcrackers et Prince to do battle with the king of the rats! How fortunate for mike harris that his goon squad of dirty yellow tory bureaucRats were there to save him from the verbal beating he so richly deserved! I was rather surprised Karen, Prince Rex and her toy soldiers escaped a trip to the hoosegow for endangering the intellect of our premier.

And what an easy debating duck harris would be: “Each dollar The National Ballet of Canada receives from the Ontario Arts Council is matched by more than $9.00 in revenue from other sources. The Arts in Ontario generate over $10 billion in direct and indirect economic activity. Arts employment in Toronto exceeds that in manufacturing, transportation, business, and financial services combined.”

The above were “excerpts” from a letter distributed to ballet goers. Thousands signed, concerned that the $425,000 budget cut might stir Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty into the bottomless cesspool of harris’ Vision of Inhumanity. That’s what Karen et ballet guards wished to drop onto the anti-Santa’s (Unscramble Santa and you have harris’ real name) lap but alas me thinks it was busy with other national concerns: The only kind of dancing he understands. It shouldn’t come to a surprise that harris with his wonderful economy for vocabulary would be too afraid to duke it out verbally with an elegant, no nonsense debating pugilist the likes of a Karen Kain. A couple of snappy retorts by Kain and it would have been all over. Just think what would have happened had Karen à la Marie from The Nutcracker hurled her ballet slipper!

...Karen Kain will be as sweet as a triple sour apple martini! Anybody who believes different will be in for a nasty surprise!

…All of her dreams have come true. Some are naïve enough to believe Karen Kain to be a real sweetheart who only dreams sweet dreams. Reality is often more sour than sweet.


Mr. Crabb also touched upon the increased expense of moving to the Four Seasons.

Quote:
“This will mean hiring additional dancers and enlarging the operating budget from $20 million to $23 million.”


Question: Why is it operating expenses are increasing by 15%, yet ticket prices are going up, up, up by 50%?

If the National Ballet of Canada is not careful, they could be put to sleep for 100 years! Who can afford to pay 50% more?? :?:

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