Thursday, February 26, 2009

Modern Dance at SPAC amphitheater instead of New York City Ballet is Not a good idea.

Fans react to SPAC’s modern dance

Thursday, February 26, 2009 5:17 AM EST

By PAUL POST, The Saratogian

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Modern dance is a welcome addition, but Saratoga Performing Arts Center should find other ways to strengthen its summer program, too, dance enthusiasts said Wednesday.

SPAC will host Mark Morris Dance Group on July 20 and 21 and Paul Taylor Dance Company on June 11 to fill the void from New York City Ballet’s shortened season, down from three weeks to two.

"These are two very important dance companies," said Denise Warner Limoli, a Skidmore College associate professor of dance. "It’s good to know SPAC is branching out. If you’re going to bring it, it’s good to draw from the top of the list."

The Morris group will have three performances, two evenings and one matinee, after city ballet’s two-week residency concludes. But it’s only two days.

"That’s awkward," Warner Limoli said. "It’s important that the public knows SPAC is committed to dance. I’d love to see them fill the schedule. Two-and-a-half weeks is less than three."

She said SPAC should try to get another ballet company to supplement New York City Ballet, even if it’s for a limited engagement or with a smaller number of dancers. She previously danced with American Ballet Theater, also based in New York.

"It would be spectacular," she said. "They’ve got some of the best dancers in the world. A small group of them is nothing to sneeze at."

Morris and Taylor have both visited Skidmore before and have performed at the Spa Little Theater. This will be their first time at SPAC’s amphitheater.

"It’s marvelous to have the opportunity to present modern dance on the main stage," said Mary DiSanto-Rose, Skidmore’s dance department chair. "I like the diversity. I hope they (SPAC) offer even more."

She expressed concern, however, that the 5,000-seat amphitheater might be overwhelming, because a crowd of 1,000 is considered good for a typical modern dance performance.

DiSanto-Rose said she doesn’t think two ballet companies, city ballet plus another, would pose a conflict at all. With proper planning, fans could spend several days in Saratoga Springs, watching one company perform and then the other.

"I don’t think one would take away from the other," she said. "It makes a nice package."

City ballet and SPAC reached a mutual agreement for a shortened 2009 season. SPAC typically lost about $1 million per year during the ballet’s three-week season. Likewise, the ballet is facing a $5.5 million deficit this season and announced recently that 11 dancers’ contracts won’t be renewed next year.

Avid ballet fan Louise Goldstein of Saratoga Springs said she’s disappointed about the reduced number of performances overall.

"Instead of another week of dance, it’s going to be two nights and one matinee," she said. "What’s going to happen on those other nights in July? It’s a loss for SPAC in a year when we should be trying to attract all the tourists we can. I have nothing against modern dance. I think they should be in the Little Theater. I hope the house sells out, but I would be shocked."

Spa City resident John DeMarco said, "I would prefer to have a three-week ballet season, but I understand the circumstances in this economy."

SPAC needs to grow beyond regional marketing and try to sell itself internationally, such as the famed Spoleto Music Festival in Italy, he said, perhaps partnering with other venues such as Tanglewood.

"You’ve got to advertise in Europe," he said. "It would be expensive. But then people would come from all over. That would draw the numbers."


Anonymous said...

SPAC's classical shows are a sieve, bring in more concerts that where the amphitheater sells out, people come to SPAC stay in the city and patronize grocery stores, what do they do with the ballet? come up from Albany or Schenectady to SPAC and eat on the way to the performance?
We have to barricade ourselves from the recession, we have thus far...
Switching things up at SPAC may bring in a new crowd. If that fails than more concerts will be more apt in this time of fiscal crisis.

Get a grip, no one cares about ballet anymore unless they have a lot of money for the expensive shows and/or if they are of senior citizen age or "alternative" lifestyle. Theirs a new generation that prefers music and concert to toe dancing. That is their "culture", the ballet was yours

save the victoria pool society said...

ah, anonymous, should we throw out Shakespeare, Mozart, the Beatles, Mona Lisa,the racetrack-all that old stuff?

Stuck in the Past said...

Oh stop being so dramatic. Are you sure that you want to get involved in two arguments at once? You're not evening coming out credible on the Roosevelt Baths witch hunt, why start another flock of trouble?

12:24 anonymous said...

Young people now may have an appreciation for all those things, but their life is different. They are not interested in antiquity, they want what is relevant to them now. While i am sure that youth could appreciate those things realistically they wont pay big$$$ to see those things. Increased concerts would be of benefit to the city and region.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't figure out what this had to do with the Victoria Pool until I saw that Louise Goldstein is a ballet fan.

STVPS - ATTENTION it is not your job to plan the whole park.

save the victoria pool society said...

We will continue to fight on behalf of every entity in Saratoga Spa State Park that enriches the lives of the good citizens of Saratoga Springs and the entire Capital Region and beyond as we always have in the past. We advocated on behalf of the Park long before we went public in 2003.

Anonymous said...

more lies

Anonymous said...

They don't see it as lying, they are so blind and filled with hate that they believe they are telling the truth.