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February 24, 2023


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Greetings, Haglund. Your observation of NYCB papering the house surprised me. I wonder why the company's offerings through TDF have been so sparse this season--I assumed they were selling out but from what you write it seems that this is not the case.

I am not the expert, but I have the impression they have been courting the 20 and 30 something crowd and it may be paying off as I have read elsewhere ballet has become an "in" activity for that group. I think for some time they have been doing special things for the younger crowds (often in the winter season) -- like having special post-performance parties for them and having special performances for which tickets are generally not available to the general public until sort of late. I have the impression a lot of this stuff is on Friday nights, though it sounds like what Haglund described was maybe on a Thursday night.

I don't think they generally sell out as they usually don't open the 4th ring, except for story ballet performances like Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker, for which demand is always much greater.

Allie, thanks for your thoughtful input. I’m delighted the company is pursuing the 20 and 30 crowd but being in the more than twice 30 cohort myself (and we are not all rolling in dough), I am a wee bit wistful not to be the apple of anyone’s eye any longer!

The audience building for the 20-30 crowd is with the idea that while they may not have a lot of money now, they will have more in the future that they will spend on entertainment. Those of us who are geezerinos and geezerinas aren't going to enjoy much in the way of increased incomes in the future; so, management just writes us off as a stable audience that will not increase its revenue.

There is a growing audience-building strategy in Manhattan to extend ticket deals to residents in high end apartment buildings via the building managements' amenities/concierge services. There's a presumption that the people who live there have discretionary income and maybe even kids, and that a little extra push by the amenities/concierge services might get them in the theater. It seems like it could be a fairly good strategy.

Aside from Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, every performance that I can through the 30 for 30 program. My sense is that the program has a growing audience. That said, I'm not sure about audience retention rates for the under 30 crowd. There was lots of interest among my peers for the Solange Knowles composition and Copeland Episodes, but a friend I went with to a regular repertoire show did not enjoy Fancy Free, Episodes, or Solo - only Rondo moved him. This reminds me of an interview with Nikolai Tsiskaridze who lamented that younger audiences only go to the Bolshoi to take a photo for Instagram and how older generations that had grown up adoring ballet could no longer acquire tickets. I get the sense that while that was/is true of Russia, most people coming to the ballet hope to be touched by it and not simply get a photo.

I greatly appreciate your review of Thursday's performance. I had planned on trying to get a standing ticket for Thursday but opted to only go yesterday for the Peck/Chan combo. Overall, my impressions from the three performances that I ended up watching are that I most enjoyed Ms. Phelan's Aurora and Ms. Hod's Diamond Fairy. I strongly wish that Hod was given Lilac Fairy this run, but I did enjoy her Carabosse yesterday.

I agree that Ashley Hod would have made a superb Lilac Fairy -- this after seeing her elegance in Firebird. NYCB is rich with potential Lilac Fairies including some who haven't even gotten on the radar yet: Christina Clark, Savannah Durham, Dominika Afanasenkov. Unity Phelan would have been a lovely Lilac as well.

Eulalia: Yes, I agree, getting old can be very depressing.

Eulalia-- One other thing -- despite NYCB's apparent lack of interest in the older crowd, in the past year I have seen at least one older person get a day of performance rush ticket at the box office. I was at the box office one day when a woman who likely hadn't seen 30 in decades went up to the next window and asked for a rush ticket for that night's performance, and got it. I have no idea what she paid. That was the first I'd heard of rush tickets at NYCB for non-young people.

I find it somewhat morally offensive when NYCB and others employ a strategy that distinguishes between groups of lower income patrons by age and invites one age group to enjoy heavily discounted tickets while forcing the equally or often less financially able age group to foot the full cost. There's nothing illegal about it but it is still offensive to see that type of exploitation of senior citizens who are a vulnerable population.

I don't disagree, but it makes sense for arts organizations to go out of their way to cultivate younger audiences who might otherwise never attend a performance. On the other hand, it would be fiscally counterproductive to offer discounts to the age group that (still) continues to make up a disproportionate share of the audience.

Sad to hear that, choosing to undergo a surgery she's been postponing, Ashley Hod won't be dancing this Spring season. I'm sure we all wish her a speedy recovery and return to the stage!

Oh dear. It sounds similar to the surgery that Mira Nadon recently had to remove an impingement. Ashley will not only be fine, but she'll be better than before. She's had a rocking good year with outstanding performances and no misses IMO. Glad to hear that she's taking care of it.

Allie, interesting to learn of a non-spring chicken type buying a rush ticket at the box office. In the days when we lived in Midtown and Lincoln Center was a fifteen minute stroll from our building, an impulsive foray to any LC box office was a breeze. These days, since removing to Queens, all Manhattan trips are undertaken only after considerable deliberation, which is why TDF continues to be a godsend. ¶Solor, I totally understand your point--the logic of arts organizations' cultivation of the young is irrefutable. Yet I can't help identifying with Mama Rose and her trenchant cry of anguish toward the end of "Gypsy": "Thanks a lot and out with the garbage!"

Solor, all true, but while the younger adults may have young children who they want to introduce to ballet as an incidental form of entertainment, the older set with established buying practices might have grandchildren who they want to introduce to the art form with the idea of cultivating their own love for it. Not having access to a discount (even for the children) might make it cost prohibitive.

Ticket prices matter for everyone regardless of age. At Saturday's Family event which was available for $22, there were many much older adults ushering little children into ballet. I also saw fathers bringing young daughters (and nervously negotiating the bathroom trips). Many little girls were dressed up in tulle and sparkles and excited as could be. But this was only one Saturday. This needs to happen every Saturday.

Of course it would be advantageous to have a system where everyone could be encouraged to bring young children (as long as they don't sit near me). I think focusing on family discounts is the way to do that. And TDF is the easiest way that they could give discounts to seniors who need them - I'm sure those that take advantage of it fall far less into the upper-income category. @Eulalia- But if you take kids to, say, a Peter Martins ballet (which for me is most of them), it could be "One quick look as each of them leaves you."

I work for the Front of House at the DHKT and can say that the ticketing/box office issues this weekend were due to a snafu with the theater's normal e-ticketing system where tickets weren't emailed and the majority of patrons had to picket up at the box office. Rest assured this will not be a problem in the spring.

Thanks, Lauryn!

It must have been stressful for the box office window crew who are all five-star mavens and sometimes even wizards!

City Ballet has announced promotions it seems!!!

Yep, all well deserved. The ratio is now 13:9. NYCB certainly knows that it has to do better and not shortchange the talent of its women.

Also, regarding people over 30 getting rush tickets in the last year, that would have been a Standing Room ticket they purchased which becomes available on the day of a performance if the theater is sold out (usually Nutcracker, story ballets, and retirements) There are about 40 standing-room positions located at the very top of the 4th ring and I don't remember the exact price but I believe it's between $30-40. Hope that info clears things up!

Thanks again, Lauryn!

Solor, bravo! Thanks for the hearty laugh!

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