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September 23, 2020


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The is doing only what is sensible. If you filter out all the crap being thrown around about vaccines (coming from one of the two presidential candidates), it appears that there is scientific consensus that Fall 2021 will be the earliest that audiences might be willing to return to indoor seating with some degree of consistency. The Met certainly can't afford to put on performances that will result in <50% houses. Neither can ABT. The problem is that the house is too large and too expensive to gamble over. Better to try to find smaller venues and/or create some on-line performances. NYCB at least has a stage they can experiment on with or without a live audience.

True, Solor.

Now that I think about it -- the construction activity that I saw at LC was mostly around the Met and Geffen Hall. There were barriers in front of the Koch Theater but little else going on.

NYCB, the Met, and NYPhil could use the Koch Theatre for a reduced schedule of digital performances while their venues are being repaired. The Met could certainly stage concert performances at the Koch. If the Met were to lend its digital and distribution expertise to NYCB, we could see some fairly incredible results. I hope they are all working together.

Also, Carnegie Hall could certainly accommodate some digital performances. I remember seeing the Moiseyev manage the space brilliantly years ago. I would hope that NJPAC is technologically equipped to accommodate digital performances. How new are Tilles, Lehman, and others?

My sense is that the largest obstacle may be the unions.

Houston Ballet recently announced their fall season would be digital, and I have it in my calendar to buy a ticket the moment they are available. Royal Ballet is doing a virtual event with all 100 of their dancers in a few weeks, and every principal is dancing. Ballet West is performing live, although I believe that they were one of the early adapters to COVID accommodations in the US.

Hopefully something lovely can come from the NYC arts companies in the form of digital entertainment with union support or at least begrudging agreement. While I would much prefer live entertainment digital ballet is better than no ballet.

ITA, Steph.

NYCB has to view this situation as an opportunity to get its digital revenue streams flowing and to reach a more national and international audience. They simply cannot waste this time crying around and asking for handouts. Nor should they be trying to placate union nonsense. Dancers who don't want to get tested every week or possibly every day and comply with quarantine requirements or who think NYCB should provide them with Uber rides back & forth from Brooklyn should think about stepping away from NYCB for the year or even retiring.

Quarantining a large group of dancers should not be difficult. What is NYCB using its SAB dorm for these days? Ensuring that they all behave responsibly might be another matter.

The Royal Ballet has a clever idea: they are creating couple bubbles so that principles and others can dance together. Some of the couple bubbles are with real life couples like Matthew Ball and Mayara Magri, while others are isolating themselves so that they can perform together. I believe Marinela Nunez and Vadim Muntagirov are in a created couple bubble. I would love to see digital performances from ABT and NYCB, but I wonder if they perform on the stages of the Met and the Koch Theater, would they have to pay an orchestra because of the union contracts? That could be a consideration In doing digital performances.

Pat, the Royal Ballet is definitely not sitting on its hands. But larger groups could be bubbled. They just have to be trustworthy and responsible.

Concerto Barocco requires 11 dancers, 2 violinists and a handful of other string players. This is completely doable as a digital performance if everyone associated with it agrees to quarantining. I'd pay to watch this night after night -- preferably with lots of different casts -- but I'd watch it.

Apollo -- 4 dancers and 34 string musicians who could spread out quite comfortably in the pit. I'd pay to watch it every night -- preferably with lots of different casts. The musicians could even agree to an arrangement that they play off-site like musicians do in many Broadway productions and then pipe the music into the theater. What difference would that make since the whole performance including the music is going to be transmitted digitally anyway. In many cases, the musicians would not even have to be in the theater but could be spread out in different locations if necessary. Come on, NYCB -- think!!

Duo Concertant -- 2 dancers, 2 musicians

There are others. NYCB must not let this opportunity to build a digital revenue stream slip by.

Meditation time:

4 weeks old


The Kennedy Center Opera House will reopen - cautiously - tomorrow night (8pm) with an audience of about 50 invited guests arriving through the loading docks, temperatures checked, then taking seats on the stage to face the auditorium. Renee Fleming, Vanessa Williams and the orchestra will perform on a special platform built above the orchestra pit and the first rows of Orch seats. We “peasants” can purchase virtual access for $15. https://www.kennedy-center.org/whats-on

I’m wondering if ABT’s DON Q tour will really take place in April 2021? Or, earlier, NYCB’s Midsummer Dream? Time will tell.

Thanks for the info, Jeannette. I'll be watching on my little laptop.

Hopefully the resident companies of Lincoln Center will get their acts together. With today's technology, there is no reason not to have a huge and impressive digital season. There are some Broadway shows that could do the same. They have to do this.

We may be at a point where some artists and theater workers will have to vote to re-think their union representation in order to get back to work, if in fact, the unions are making demands that seemingly exploit the current situation.

ABT's tour seems in jeopardy. Other stages will open. Whether they are able to seize those opportunities is a big question. Right now, ABT doesn't seem to have anything other than a child's plan in the works. The Sandbox Season will include videos made by the dancers and new contemporary works made by contemporary choreographers who hold no interest whatsoever for the ballet audience.

Ah...ABT...we might be relegated to watching The Cindies Blog...just kidding!

Cindy #1 (James W) was actually fantastic dancing in AR’s OF LOVE AND RAGE in Costa Mesa last March. I wish that audiences might be offered a digital view (film) of that some day. It could be a huge money maker for ABT. Alas, there are unions to mess up such plans.

Revisiting to share Teatro alla Scala swapped dancers and the orchestra so the orchestra could social distance. It looks beautifully done. Svetlana Zakharova performed even.

Surely if one of the best dancers in history can dance on a makeshift dance floor in an orchestra pit the dancers at NYCB and ABT can make it work.

Thanks, Steph.

I see that the La Scala orchestra is on the stage behind the dancers. It looks like several musicians are wearing masks and are seated on risers -- surely better than being cramped in the pit.


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