I wrote some time ago about the English National Ballet, and their mis-step combining ballet and sports. In that case soccer.
Well, the mistakes have crossed the pond. Check out this video of the Boston Ballet doing the half-time show at the Boston Garden (for the Celtics.) Thank you to CLR for highlighting this.
I heard recently that the Washington Ballet has over 300 children in its Nutcracker. The person I spoke with was saying that the stage was mayhem with so many different casts of kids. I remarked that it was a very smart move – from a business perspective. 300+ kids = 600+ parents. In terms of getting engagement and investment from a community, 300+ kids is a great call.
Some people – mostly non-artists – believe that art has nothing to do with business. These people are not students of history. It has been well-documented that with no Kirstein, we have no Balanchine (just for instance.)
I’m a huge fan of Marie Taglioni, and in article I wrote about her I wrote the following:
In the words of the American politician Newt Gingrich, “perseverance is the work that one does after one has completed the work that one wants to do.”
These things that artists/artistic directors are doing to get donations, build audience, increase appreciation – they could be mis-guided, but they are necessary.
The only true mis-step is if the artists (read director’s there) don’t understand the differences between the two, and try to appropriate the strengths of the one. Not only impossible, this tends to dilute, or dissolve the art.
I think in none of these cases are the Directors unaware of their decisions. Prioritizing really is hard, and dancers don’t pay their own salaries – director’s do. And hey, the Celtics are like 89-2 now, right?
I wrote something about the difference between sports and art here, and will write some more soon I hope.