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Subject: "Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticke..." Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2713
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Lynette H

08-05-02, 05:11 PM (GMT)
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"Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?"
 
   Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?

Dance venues are very assiduous, once you’ve bought a ticket from them, at sending out endless flyers for forthcoming productions, special offers, don’t miss this chance to see and so on and so forth. I have accumulated a pile of these over the last few years several inches high, including dance and ballet companies at Sadlers and the South Bank, Dance Umbrella, ENB, BRB, the Royal. I was sorting though these recently (well, the pile grew too big and fell over….) and I was struck by the language used in order to promote companies – language that seemed to have more in common than the companies ever did. I’m speaking here of the anonymous text on these leaflets, rather than the selective quoting of critics.

On a brief (and, I admit, not necessarily scientific) survey, here’s a list of how dance productions were described:

exciting and energetic
gritty and erotic
exuberant
new and exciting
genuinely provocative
cool and serene
excitement, momentum and suspense
magical
thundering, fiercely primitivist
ground breaking
provocative
fierce
hard hitting
beautiful and lyrical portrayal
extraordinary beauty
emotionally charged
extraordinary
original ideas and fresh theatrical experiences
absorbing
innovative, dynamic

And here’s a similar list for ballet productions

spectacular
exhilarating spectacle
effervescent and intoxicating
glittering
breathtakingly beautiful
ravishing
superb storytelling
rich and moving
divine
perfect
witty
enchanting
a classic
joyous
stylish
spectacular
a visual feast
dazzle
exquisite
high energy
sheer exhilaration
epic
stunning
monumental

Hmmm. Some questions for you:

- do any of these leaflets really persuade anyone to book who otherwise wouldn’t ? (Oh look, another ground breaking production, I really must go ?)
- is this the kind of dance and ballet you want to see ? What three words would you pick (like, say, musical, lyrical, touching) to describe a favourite characteristic that would interest you most ?
- is this how you would describe dance and ballet to friends who hadn’t been and weren’t sure about it ? What would you say ?

A few observations
- the language used for ballet productions is noticeably more conservative than for dance (even when the actual productions weren’t)
- the ‘cool and serene’ which sticks out rather in the dance list was for the Richard Alston. (the language used for Alston, Siobhan Davies and Mark Morris was rather more modest and restrained and didn’t yield so many instant quotes)

As I say, it wasn’t a scientific survey, but the lists still intrigue me.



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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a t... Flight 08-05-02 1
     RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a t... Carly Gillies 09-05-02 2
         RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a t... trogadmin 10-05-02 3
             RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a t... Wendy Glavis 10-05-02 4
                 RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a t... Paul A 10-05-02 5
                 RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a t... Carly Gillies 10-05-02 6
                     RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a t... Flight 10-05-02 7
                 RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a t... alison 15-05-02 8
                     RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a t... Robert 16-05-02 9

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Flight

08-05-02, 08:34 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?"
In response to message #0
 
   Well, I tend to just see each company at least once, and if I like them, see them again. I'm afraid the main attraction of the leaflets are the pictures. As I have usually seen the ballet before, I don't really read the flier, only if it's a company or ballet that I've never seen (and they don't turn up very often in my area).


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Carly Gillies

09-05-02, 05:40 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?"
In response to message #1
 
   Lynette
Sometimes I wonder why I keep a large stack of theatre programs which take up cupboard space,- but you keep advertising flyers!!

In answer to your questions I must confess that I'm a bit of a sucker for promotional stuff.
I'd rather see, hear or read something based on a review from someone I rate, but in the absence of that I am sometimes swayed by what's on the flyer.

And I'm a bit of a sucker for hyperbole also. - I've even bought the odd CD or book based on a cover "review". - "if you only buy one CD/read one book this year, make sure it's this one" - You know the kind of thing.
In fact the only reason I'm watching 'Auf Weidersen Pet' is because on the 'Review' program Tom Paulin reviewed it as "The best thing on television - Ever!"

All of this probably sounds a bit sad, and to try to answer your questions sensibly I'd say that I'm most swayed by a review by someone I trust, but in the absense of that I confess the above holds true.

I'd also say that I think I've probably been disappointed more times than I've been impressed, when going to see dance or ballet on the strenghth of a flyer only, but I've also undoubtedly seen some interesting stuff that I wouldn't otherwise have seen.

What tends to put me off most is too much psychobabble in the description of dance. I always feel that the artist's intended psychological interpretation shouldn't need to be stated in advance, and my experience is that whenever it is stated, the actual performance is often still completely incomprehensible!


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trogadmin

10-05-02, 09:21 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?"
In response to message #2
 
   Not only do I keep advertising flyers, I stick them in a scrap book! And there are those who accuse train spotters of being sad.....

Like Flight I try to see each company once and then if I like them I will go again, if not then I wont. I also prefer to see ballet in the regional theatres rather than in London; much cheaper ticket prices, easier for me to get to and I figure if I support regional theatres (by buying a ticket), then they will flourish, and we might just see more ballet.

Of course, I will see the BRB as often as the wallet will allow. Even if I don't like the production they are currently doing, I try to go a couple of times during the run, just to see my favourite dancers.


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Wendy Glavis

10-05-02, 12:54 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?"
In response to message #3
 
   Interesting lists of words, Lynette, and I'd have to confess that some from that first list would definitely make me wary: 'gritty', 'new and exciting', 'genuinely provocative' (maybe VERY wary), 'fiercely primitivist', 'ground breaking', 'provocative', 'hard hitting', 'innovative'. They might not keep me away altogether, but I'd want to ask around before I parted with any cash.

Actually, looking at the lists again, it occurs to me that they say a lot about the PR people and what THEY think gets people to buy tickets: so the first list is aimed at those who like their art gritty and ground-breaking, the second at those who prefer more conventional productions. I'm not sure ballet fans would necessarily like to be lumped exclusively in either of those groups.

But then, I don't pay much attention to leaflets. (I only keep the ones with nice photos - heavy paper preferred.)

What causes me to buy a ticket? If I'm being completely honest I'd have to say that I look out for certain key words and phrases. For example:
'Darcey Bussell'
'Royal Ballet'
'Special Offer' - in conjuction with the above
'Unlimited Free Champagne and Free 1 lb. box Godiva Chocolates'*


Sorry if that sounds very frivolous. Yes, of course, I like watching lots of different dancers and companies...but money is limited and I have to choose. So, like most fans, I choose carefully: favourite dancers, favourite ballets, favourite companies...

*Unfortunately, I've never seen these words in a ballet advert. Sorry to disappoint.


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Paul A

10-05-02, 01:09 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?"
In response to message #4
 
   Thinking about this season's publicity leaflet for NYCB it's the visuals that sell it (apart from the temptng repertory). It's about 12 pages, scarcely any words but with a thumb-nail photo of every ballet in the season - big enough to give you a flavour but too small to show you everything. I think that's a great hook to get you to book.


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Carly Gillies

10-05-02, 02:53 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?"
In response to message #4
 
   >Yes, of course, I like
>watching lots of different dancers
>and companies...but money is limited
>and I have to choose.
>So, like most fans, I
>choose carefully: favourite dancers, favourite
>ballets, favourite companies...
>

I suspect that how choosy any of us are will depend quite a lot on where we live.
Oh to live in London and have the problem of having to pick and choose what to go to!
Up here the words "ballet" or "dance" alone have been enough to make me part with money.
But then tickets do tend to be a bit cheaper so perhaps easier to take the risk.


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Flight

10-05-02, 08:18 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?"
In response to message #6
 
   Yes, if I lived in London I probably wouldn't bother with half the things I see as it is.

If you ever see a girl stuffing wads of fliers into her bag, it could be me. One for the archives, one spare, one to use as a bookmark, and I'm afraid I'm sad enough to pin each ticket onto a cork board with the relevant flier, and photocopies of any autographs...


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alison

15-05-02, 01:32 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?"
In response to message #4
 
   >Interesting lists of words, Lynette, and
>I'd have to confess that
>some from that first list
>would definitely make me wary:
>'gritty', 'new and exciting',
>'genuinely provocative' (maybe VERY wary),
>'fiercely primitivist', 'ground breaking', 'provocative',
>'hard hitting', 'innovative'.

I know what you mean, Wendy - my reaction to at least half of those would probably be "Oh yeah?". Rather cynically, I've noticed over the years that marketing people tend to use the same adjectives irrespective of context, which makes me very suspicious. I'm not sure that I tend to read much of the blurb inside these leaflets anyway - I usually pick them up for the dates and prices, dump them somewhere at home and find them 2 weeks after the performance has finished .

I did notice, though, that the ballet descriptions seemed to be very largely superficial and shallow ones - of the appearance of the piece, rather than whether it has any heart or soul. Probably not designed to make a committed ballet-goer out of anyone, I should have thought.

>
>What causes me to buy a
>ticket? If I'm being completely
>honest I'd have to say
>that I look out for
>certain key words and phrases.
>For example:

>'Special Offer'
Yes, that always helps . Providing it doesn't turn out to be useless, like a 2-for-1 when everyone I know has already booked their seats or doesn't want to go, or too highly priced (I remember the ROH used to offer me half-price on top-price opera seats - over £100 full-price), or offering me something I have no use for, like a free programme when I've already bought one a week previously, or 2 glasses of champagne.


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Robert

16-05-02, 01:58 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Selling Ballet and Dance – what convinces you to buy a ticket ?"
In response to message #8
 
   After a few nasty experiences I check the music out.


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