Monday, April 23, 2007
It's About Joy
Fascinating article in Sunday's New York Times (titled "Seeking Fans, Ballet Scrambles for a Killer App") about the role of ballet in modern American culture, and the financial/artistic struggles of ballet companies in New York City and across the country. The article lists the usual tactics arts institutions employ to bring in audiences: "Girls Night Out" at the New York City Ballet, offering dessert and "girl talk" with ballerinas; newly-minted ballets featuring tried-and-true stories from other media like "Peter Pan" and "Dracula." I say "usual" because I read about this kind of thing all the time. Instead of trying to understand how to appeal to the customer when the customer says "I don't like or need what you offer," the institutions merely ape popular culture, and nobody wins.
But a quote by Italian choreographer Luca Veggeti really set my head spinning: “You have companies saying, ‘We have to do Peter Pan and Dracula,’ ” he added, laughing. “What is the point? You’re not like a TV program. You’re supposed to raise the cultural level of your audience."
I have never
gone to any artistic performance to raise my cultural level.
I have always gone because I wanted to see something amazing, hear something incredible, or experience something transforming.
NEVER NEVER NEVER TO RAISE MY CULTURAL LEVEL OR AWARENESS!
I went to school for that.