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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:23 pm 
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Michael Crabb talks to the National’s newest edition to the male ranks, Zdenek Konvalina in the Spring issue of Dance International– Sadly not on the Toronto newsstands yet.

Quote:
They had an aged father. He'd already, decades earlier, raised three sons. It's a family joke that when his father was courting his mother, now 60, he was older than his prospective father-in-law. He died last summer at age 100. Konvalina was dancing in Tokyo and unable to return for the funeral, but his restaurant manager father, who liked to play the violin and trumpet, had long been reconciled to his youngest son's decision to eschew a business career in favour of ballet.

Of that art form, Konvalina, keen on soccer and athletics, knew virtually nothing when at age nine he was recruited into the Brno Conservatory. His culture-loving mother encouraged him, but the clincher for Konvalina was the proffered chance to become more independent of his twin brother and wear a different uniform. "We got along, but even then I had this independent streak and a strong, individual fashion sense," he says.


* Crabb largely steered clear of Konvalina’s troubles at Houston Ballet.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:00 pm 
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I received my subscription package in the mail today. I wish I could say I was delighted but that is not the case. I am given the option to
Quote:
“Reorder my same series and seat me as close as possible to my same seats.
Uhhh? What gives?

For years at the Hummingbird Centre I sat in the same subscription seat and now this is not a forgone conclusion :?: This sounds like a money grab pure and simple. I must assume the National intends to re-evaluate all subscribers based on loyalty and donations.

I’m pondering NOT renewing. The National needs to get real! Imagine if the Toronto Maple Leafs or Blue Jays pulled a stunt like that!

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:22 am 
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Well, once again I answered my own question. The National Ballet of Canada will be re-evaluating ALL subscribers based on loyalty and donations. I called their Audience and Donor Services at 416-345-9595 to confirm the above. The other explanation provided for the below statement:

Quote:
“Reorder my same series and seat me as close as possible to my same seats.”


was
Quote:
“establishing seating patterns and to accommodate the big move.”


I don’t see what the big move has to do with not guaranteeing a seat. After the Blue Jays moved from Exhibition Stadium to the Skydome (now the Rogers Centre) your seat was guaranteed. After the Toronto Maple Leafs moved from Maple Leaf Gardens to the Air Canada Centre, your seat was guaranteed.

Has anyone experienced the above where a subscription seating location was not guaranteed after it was established? This is truly obscene. If it weren’t for loyal subscribers the National would go under. They don’t have the fan base to remove the subscriber option like the Stratford Festival. They need that guaranteed income.

I also asked if I could request a refund if I was not satisfied with my new seat. The answer was no. They can’t even provide a 100% guarantee of being seated in the same section. There are no guarantees with the NBoC.

What a PR nightmare. They obviously did not learn anything from the public backlash when they fired Kimberly Glasco :!:

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:43 pm 
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I whipped up the below prose in a letter to the editor for the National Post:

Artistic Director Karen Kain wants to reduce your GREENhouse gases. Yes, even the National Ballet of Canada has gone GREEN! Top connoisseurs of pointe shoes and tutus have seen their season tickets goosed from $697.50 to $1,110 to $1,201 during her rule as top ballet mistress! And that’s not for 81 or 41 ballets – Just 6.

To top it off your subscription seat isn’t even guaranteed from this season to next season. Subscribers were greeted with the following statement with their renewal package:
Quote:
“Reorder my same series and seat me as close as possible to my same seats.”
I called the National’s Audience and Donor Services and was told The National Ballet of Canada will be re-evaluating ALL subscribers based on loyalty and donations. In other words, if you’ve got enough GREEN your tutu will be all warm and cozy with a preferred view of the action.

Imagine if the Blue Jays or Maple Leafs tried to pull a stunt like that? I suspect the appeal of the brand new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts will wear out and thus the NBoC may suffer from self-inflicted Global Warming. GREEN is not a renewable resource for ballet as it is for fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs-‘An Inconvenient Truth’ Karen Kain will have to face in the very near future.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:18 pm 
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I stumbled upon this review of Alice from the N.Y. Times whiles googling.

Quote:
And when the point of the ballet finally does come, it breaks forth brilliantly and with great originality. There are four main characters. The child Alice, danced with breathtaking charm and virtuosity by Kimberly Glasco, and the adult Alice, portrayed with profundity and purity by Karen Kain, give nothing short of great performances. Miss Glasco is seen first atop a mounted hedge (with a mirrored arch below as the rabbit hole) with Rex Harrington as Lewis Carroll. Miss Kain is paired occasionally with Peter Ottmann as Reginald Hargreaves, the man Alice Liddell married.


I spoke to Glen Tetley during a Q & A Session some years back. Everything he said was imbued with such warmth and honesty. Perhaps that’s all what we will leave this world with leaving everything else behind. Eventually time chimes in the truth. Time has a funny way of resolving everything.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 3:08 pm 
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Location: Oshawa, ON Canada
[quote="Michael Goldbarth"]Well, once again I answered my own question. The National Ballet of Canada will be re-evaluating ALL subscribers based on loyalty and donations. I called their Audience and Donor Services at 416-345-9595 to confirm the above. The other explanation provided for the below statement:

Hi Michael - I'm not sure who you were talking to in Audience and Donor Services but I just got an entirely different explanation. According to the person I talked to the subscription renewal form is misleading - what they really meant was that if you were unhappy with your subscription seat this year you would not be "locked-in" to it for the coming year but could request another one. In fact she just put a note in my file stating that I def. want the same seat assignment as this year with no substitution. I advised her that others seemed to be getting a different explanation of the renewal policy but she assured me that everyone should have no worry about getting the same seat assignment. So.....I guess we will just have to wait and see.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:28 pm 
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I sincerely hope your version is the correct version. I was quite satisfied with my view for the subscription seat assigned to me: Very front row to the right side in Ring 3. The representative I spoke to did not provide her name – even though I provided mine and well…we had a 5 minute conversation and I am quite sure there was no misunderstanding. She obviously felt a little uncomfortable advising me that my seat was not guaranteed. All doubt was removed when I asked her if I wasn’t satisfied with my seat should it change whether I could cancel my subscription and she responded it was non-refundable.

Why else would they include that add on in smaller letters-I made add-when you’re simply renewing the very same seats? If it was as you said for a change of seats requesting another location then I assume that goes in the 2nd option on the Subscription Order Form: ‘Please change my subscription.’

My position at work is ‘Service Advocate’ meaning I take customer feedback and my own thoughts to improve processes. From personal experience I can say without a doubt that statement will cause confusion among subscribers as well as the change in the seating sections-all of which was done to milk customers for more money.

I will email the National requesting a definitive explanation in writing. I’ve written this before and will write it again, they are just too damn expensive for the average working class person.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:36 am 
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I emailed the below to the National Ballet of Canada this morning. I will share their response when and if they respond in writing. I suspect management will have to review such a potentially volatile question. No doubt their legal team will craft a carefully worded response.

Quote:
On my Subscription Order From underneath the statement “Reorder my same series” is another statement “and seat me as close as possible to my same seats,” which leads me to believe my seat(s) are not guaranteed. If I “Reorder my same series” will I receive the exact same seat(s) for the 2007/2008 season? Kindly respond Yes or No.

If the answer is No, kindly respond why my seat will not be guaranteed?

Thank you in advance.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:01 pm 
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Wow, I was very impressed at the speed the National responded to my inquiry: Just under an hour!

Quote:
Dear Mr. Goldbarth,

If you are interested in renewing the same seats you currently have for this year's subscription please mark this on your order form or advise our call centre representative if you are booking by phone. Please understand we are trying to accomodate everyone's seating requests so that everyone has the best possible experience in the new Four Seasons Centre. By marking "seat me as close as possible to my same seats" this indicates to us that you prefer your current seats but are ok, if we need to slightly shift your seats over or forward (thereby, giving us a bit of lee-way in slightly shifting seating in order to accomodate everyone).

If you absolutely love your seats and do not want to accept any other location simply, mark this on your form.

We hope this answers your question but if you need further explanation or have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us at: 416 345-9595.


For some reason they chose to spell accommodate with only 1 m.

So, if I absolutely love my seat, I can mark this on my form. Sorry Noreen but this means your seats are not guaranteed. Unless you make your intentions VERY clear you may be moved. It’s all about the GREEN! This is really unheard of in the entertainment and sports industry. Once you are reassigned a subscription seat, it is yours-Unless you happen to be a subscriber to the National Ballet of Canada. Below is my response to their response:

Quote:
If I clearly indicate on my subscription form that I wish to renew the very same seat assigned to me, will I get that seat? Yes or No please. Thank you for your timely response of earlier.


The National Ballet of Canada should have provided an option for those who wanted to keep their seat if they truly wished to offer this option. They cannot afford to upset loyal subscribers. Apparently, they are willing to take that risk. No doubt many older subscribers are already upset with the more modern selections for next season. I say ‘BRAVO’ to the 2007/2008 program but PHOOEY to the way they handled both the move to the Four Seasons along with their 2007/2008 subscription form.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:13 pm 
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Great news! Your seats will be GUARANTEED providing you clearly indicate you want the same seats. The National responded to my above question:

Quote:
Yes! Providing you clearly mark that you absolutely want your current seats and do not want any other seats.

best regards,
Audience & Donor Services

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:19 am 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
The reviews are in for Taming of the Shrew…

John Coulbourn enjoyed the show the most.

Quote:
The fact that Cote manages to add just a hint of youthful mischief to Petruchio's macho swagger, while Hodgkinson's Katherina seems more than half-smitten from the get-go also serves to keep things on the plus side of lighter than air as well, as do the contributions of Victoria Bertram and Julie Hay, who mop up the stage as a pair of "ladies" who succeed in marrying well above their station.


Susan Walker gave it a big thumbs down.

Quote:
Unlike William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, John Cranko's farcical ballet leaves little room for enlightened interpretation. Despite the artful and fiendishly difficult moves in the pas de deux he choreographed for this 1969 dance version of the Shakespeare comedy made for the Stuttgart Ballet, this Taming contains no moments to move one beyond laughter.


Paula Citron was shrewd not really giving any indication what she truly thought of the National’s Shrew.

Quote:
I've never really cared for Kurt-Heinz Stolze's score, adapted from Scarlatti. It is period correct, but it is also very fragmented and choppy, as, perhaps, befits a comedy, but the music lacks any real beautiful melodies. Nonetheless, conductor David Briskin found the dramatic nature of the score.

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Last edited by Michael Goldbarth on Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:32 am 
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I called the National to check on casting for the mixed program and discovered that Heather Ogden and Sonia Rodriguez will not be performing. I find it rather odd they would miss both Taming of the Shrew and the mixed fare. Does anyone know if they are perhaps injured :?:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:31 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
It would be nice if the company would post something...however at this juncture no doubt it would be a long list.

I have heard rumours, but at this point they are just that. Should have something more credible behind them than "mom2 has heard........."


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:36 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Anyone know if NBoC management has come to an agreement for a new contract with its dancers? It expires at the end of June.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 6:55 am 
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More reviews! Gary Smith made the trek from Hamilton to review the Shrew.

Quote:
Well, Cote isn't ideal casting for The Taming of the Shrew. He suits better the romantic innocence of something like James Kudelka's frothy Cinderella. Cote's acting talents cleave toward the obvious and he spent a great deal of the first act of Shrew Saturday night forcing the comedy.


Once again,
Côté saves the day!

Quote:
Although not scheduled to make his debut in the gruelling role of Petruchio until later this week, Cote stepped in to cover visiting Canadian-born guest artist Jason Reilly, sidelined by a nasty back spasm. Clearly Cote was more than ready. He delivered a show-stopping performance. What's more, he managed to inject a welcome element of humanity into a ballet that all too often comes close to celebrating spousal abuse.

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