Sunday, July 10, 2011

SPAC is out to get rid of New York City Ballet again???

Once again the powers-that-be at SPAC are beating the drum to threaten the demise of the greatest ballet company in the world having its summer home in Saratoga as it has for the past glorious 45 years. Instead of charging reasonable prices they do the opposite and ensure the seats will not be full. Then they say people don't want the ballet anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth. Have a few nights at $25 a seat and see what happens. There are many creative approaches that can be enlisted to save the New York City Ballet besides free Meat and Beer that SPAC could try if they cared at all. Saratoga has plenty of rich people that could give to the ballet if it was marketed properly. The ushers act like "Nazi nurses" towards the public and turn people off from wanting to come to SPAC more than ever. SPAC was built for the New York City Ballet in 1966 which the current Board does not seem to care about the Arts at all. For those of us who worked tirelessly the first time to save the New York City Ballet we are ready to fight again for the good of the arts and soul of SPAC.
The article below appeared in today's Saratogian.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Economic uncertainty, decline of fine arts could threaten New York City Ballet's future with SPAC
Published: Sunday, July 10, 2011



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New York City Ballet dancers perform in “Thou Swell” Saturday evening at SPAC. (ERICA MILLER/

Fred Wilhelm pours a glass of champagne for his wife, Winnie, on the lawn of Saratoga Performing Arts Center before the Saturday evening performances of “Thou Swell,” “Plainspoken” and “For the Love of Duke.” (ERICA MILLER/


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Ballet-goers gather on the lawn at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on opening night of New York City Ballet’s two-week 2011 residency. With the economy hurting sponsors and attendance figures and ticket sales suffering, it remains to be seen whether SPAC will be able to continue hosting the ballet’s classical programs. (ERIC JENKS/

SARATOGA SPRINGS — On a warm July night in 1966, the New York City Ballet lit up the amphitheatre at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center with its version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the company’s first performance in Saratoga Springs.

Forty-five years later, the ballet continues its annual summer residency at SPAC despite a tough economic climate and the decline of the fine arts in today’s tech-oriented culture.

After SPAC’s 2008 season, the New York City Ballet board met with SPAC administrators and reached a joint decision to cut the ballet season from three weeks to two weeks every summer.

“The cost of production goes up every year and attendance was going down,” SPAC President Marcia White said. “Life is different now. With the emergence of technology, people are busier and have more choices at their fingertips; there’s not as much time for the arts.”

After testing out the two-week season in 2009, attendance numbers seemed to confirm that shortening the season was the right decision. The shorter season featured seven fewer shows than the previous year’s three-week season did, but the average attendance for each show rose by 24 percent and average ticket income increased by 19 percent.

But with the shorter season, fewer spectators had time to make it to the ballet, as the 2009 total attendance was down nearly 20 percent from the previous year.

The 2010 season pulled nearly flat attendance levels, down just 1 percent from the previous year, and total income fell by 8 percent.

Despite changing times and a trying economy, White made it clear that Saratoga Performing Arts Center values the New York City Ballet’s residency.

Bringing the ballet back for another year is “something we reconsider every year,” White said. “But SPAC is committed to doing everything and anything to keep the ballet.”

Despite SPAC’s dedication, bringing the ballet to Saratoga Springs is not cheap. White reported that the overall cost for SPAC to host the ballet’s two-week residency is $1.8 million — that’s down from the $2.2 million cost of a three-week season. Continued...

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