A 14% fall in the audience for ballet is one of the figures that leaps out from the study on the arts in Britain published today by the Policy Studies Institute. The Standard's arts reporter Luke Leitch has a piece in this evening's paper (not unfortunately online), which questions the significance of some of the PSI statistics. Victor Hochhauser suggests that the fall happened in part because there has been less ballet to go to. For an important part of the period covered by the report the Royal Ballet had been homeless, and the only regular performances in London were during the ENB's season. Hochhauser went on "There were fewer performances in the late nineties than earlier - you are not comparing like with like" .
I am a little surprised at the figures and don't have the impression that ROH audiences are sparser now than in other years. What may be true is that people living in the English regions have less opportunity to see the major classics than they did ten or fifteen years ago. One sign of hope is that ballet on television does attract audiences (significantly more so than opera and indeed other forms of dance).
2. "RE: Falling audiences?"
In response to message #0
The Arts and Drama library in my nearest big town has decided to drastically reduce its selection of videos on ballet opera and classical music. There has been a change of political control of the library and in the interests of accessibility etc. they now play pop music whilst you browse the new collection of world and popular music. The excuse for these changes is that people are no longer interested in the old elitist art forms. If the figures are correct it may unfortunately be true. Fortunately for me I was able to buy five videos at £2 each including the one on Natasha Makerova that I have been searching for.