I unearthed the below deep within the very bowels of Critical Dance to fully substantiate my pointe:
Joined: 27 May 2000
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 7:31 pm Post subject: Re: National Ballet of Canada 2003-2004
Okay, I found time to finish off my thoughts.
#1. If you told me my subscription seats for the new ballet theatre would be reserved despite not renewing for next season, guess what? I would pass the pointe shoe on the entire season! It’s that bad. I’m predicting an all-time LOW for single ticket sales. The only ballet that creates excitement is The Italian Straw Hat. Madame Butterfly (2001) is still too fresh in my memory and so is the Contract (2002). I thought perhaps the National would bring the Contract out of mothballs for the 100-year anniversary of James Kudelka’s death. Should I be fortunate enough to live that long, being forced to watch it a 2nd time will no doubt make me look forward to the afterlife!
They have only themselves to blame for the deficit! They do not know who their fans are. They do not care who their fans are. They only make ballet (the Contract) and hold onto dancers (Kimberly Glasco) for political reasons and political reasons alone. This is not a serious problem at the moment-more like a serious warning of dancing on a future paved with quicksand. I’ve been through this before but will write it again. The NBoC is moving into the Four Seasons where it will cost more to present ballet. The NBoC is jacking up ticket prices to create additional revenue for the move. If the National cannot fill the Four Seasons, guess who pays? Me and you-that’s who!
They will jack up ticket prices further to meet their rising costs. That’s kind of like redeeming from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan to meet a current debt. Yes you clear up the debt but then your banking institution issues you a T4 and you must settle this up with Revenue Canada. Keep going into your RRSP and you’ll have nothing left when you retire-forcing you to live an unacceptable lifestyle or forcing you to work part time at a fast food establishment to make ends meet.
Jack up ticket prices and you lose fans. Then you jack up prices to make up for the lost fans. It’s a very vicious cycle. The current situation is obviously much more serious than the NBoC is willing to admit. They replaced 3 new ballets this season with ballets already in their repertoire. If the NBoC cannot create new ballet fans, they will suffer artistically; they will suffer where it hurts most (the bottom line), and if the situation becomes bad enough, the government will have to step in to keep the institution alive. I hope I don’t have to cut and paste this 4 or 5 years down the road to make another point.
Karen Kain’s game plan is to ask fans like you and me to pay more for our seats and for us to give to the National. Of course, KK will also ask the government and big business for more handouts. Good luck! There is a giving fatigue out there after all the floods and earthquakes on top of every other charity banging on our door! Most people are barely making ends meet to ensure CEOs make multi millions! It used to be our tax dollars would go towards worthy causes like cancer research. I have no idea where our tax dollars are going in Canada. Every day a new scandal hits another level of government. Click HERE
for a story about Greg Sorbara resigning after the RCMP raided his family’s business. The average Canadian distrusts their own government and also distrusts where their charitable donations are going.
I haven’t seen any game plan from the National to create new ballet fans. They would be wise to look at how the Stratford Festival operates in this regards. They place a high priority on planting seeds to create fans and especially to attracting youth. The NBoC’s current audience is very much like God’s Waiting Room! The plan? There is no plan. Not one that I am privy to anyway.
I do predict they will make money this season. It’s a much more attractive season for subscribers, casual ticket buyers, and for attracting new fans. There are some of you out there who may think me a little strong in my opinions and perhaps a tad impatient! I am guilty on all counts! I just returned from a trip to the Stratford Festival. There were no cabs waiting for theatre buffs who decided to commute via VIA Rail! Not one! Most cabbies are quite aware of train schedules as this is revenue for them. I saw no cab and hence walked to my B&B. The walk was only 20 minutes but was a bit of a struggle with my luggage. I have no patience. The time for creative action is NOW! Karen Kain addressed my concern in her opening statement when she assumed the role of AD:
“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.”
So, what’s the plan to achieve the above?