Is ‘Black Swan’ pumping up the sales for ‘Swan Lake’?


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Is all the Oscar buzz and fascination with “Black Swan” -– Darren Aronofsky’s decidedly lurid look at the hermetic ballet world of classical ballet -– boosting ticket sales for live “Swan Lake” performances?

Box-office demand for New York City Ballet’s upcoming run of the ballet has proven so heavy that eight performances were not enough, and the company took the rare step of eliminating one of its mixed-repertory evenings in order to add another “Swan Lake.”



The company’s executive director, Kathy Brown, says that there were “hundreds of ticket inquiries for ‘Swan Lake’ continuing to come in each day.”

New York City Ballet has been performing the ballet -- in a version choreographed by Peter Martins –- since 1999, and is best known for its extensive repertory of ballets by George Balanchine (who created his own one-act “Swan Lake” in 1951) and by Jerome Robbins.

But the company’s audience has been evolving, and attendance has been strong whenever “Swan Lake” has been programmed, and last year’s six performances sold extremely well, reports Robert Daniels, the company’s managing director for communications and special projects.

“Often for younger people, who don’t know City Ballet’s history yet, ‘Swan Lake’ is a way in the door. And then they get intrigued, and then they start learning the history,’ he said.

“Yes, there’s a lot of buzzing around about ‘Black Swan’ right now. Have people decided ‘We saw the movie and now we should see the real thing’? Probably -– and I think that’s great. But it always does well, so it’s hard to make a really strong connection.”

Sales are also brisk for a Southern California performance of a traveling ‘Swan Lake’ on Feb. 8. The Russian National Ballet is on a four-month national tour that comes to the new Valley Performing Arts Center at Cal State University, Northridge.

Caroline Graham, who is handling marketing for the new center, said that 94% of the 1,700 seats have been sold for ‘Swan Lake.’ She agrees that the film ‘has definitely piqued the public’s interest in ballet.’

American Ballet Theatre, where full-length narrative works such as “Swan Lake” have long been the repertory’s mainstay, has the ballet scheduled eight times in New York starting June 27. It’s too early to know whether there’s particular box-office clamor for those, since the company is currently selling only subscription packages, not individual performances. But chances are, given the film’s high profile, those could become the hottest tickets of ABT’s eight-week season.


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-- Susan Reiter

Caroline Graham said the Feb 8 Swan Lake is 94% sold out. (house has 1700 seats)
if it’s useful, she said, the film ‘has definitely piqued the public’s interest in ballet,’ and she noted that the recent Reflections program with the five Russian ballerinas was packed for all its performances.