Wednesday, November 13, 2013

recent gazette editorial urging SPAC to reinstate longer season for New York City Ballet.

Bravo to SPAC for sticking with the arts

Saturday, November 2, 2013
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Marcia White, president and CEO of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, has taken her share of criticism for the incredible shrinking New York City Ballet summer residency, which on her watch has gone from three weeks to two to one this year (in dance terms, about the size of a ballerina’s waist).
It’s not all her fault — the ballet company wants more money, which SPAC currently does not have — but it’s a big cultural loss to the Capital Region, and an economic one to Saratoga Springs. Fortunately, White still seems committed to a multiweek residency for NYCB in 2015 (after another one-week stay next year), and to the arts in general.
Some cases in point. After finding out in 2012 that NYCB would again be cutting back, White signed up two other companies, National Ballet of Canada and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, for three performances each this summer. Although neither was up to NYCB’s illustrious standards, they were good. But, perhaps predictably, they weren’t big draws. Another, more popular dance company, Momix, filled the house for one performance; but they do “dance illusion” (a multimedia spectacle with lights and props), not ballet.
And for the coming year, White hit a home run, landing one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious companies, the Bolshoi Ballet, which will be on a three-stop tour of the United States. They’ll give four performances of “Don Quixote,” and can also be expected to pack them in.
The same with David Finckel and Wu Han in the Spa Little Theater. They aren’t dancers but world-renowned musicians — Finckel a cellist and Han a pianist — with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Next year they and their group (which they also serve as artistic directors) will start an annual summer residency in Saratoga, the group’s first such arrangement anywhere. Finckel and Han, who already have a following in the Capital Region thanks to their frequent appearances at the Union College concert series, will make an already good SPAC chamber music summer program an exceptional one.
We’re glad to see that SPAC remains committed to the classical arts, but it must continue to shoot for top quality. In dance, that means NYCB. SPAC’s management has to find ways, whether fund raising, sponsorships or wine and food festivals like the successful one held this year, to get the wherewithal to bring the company back for more than a week each summer.