Arts Issues for Artists & Presenters: August 2009 Archives
While there were many points that could be isolated for further discussion, one crucial theme was the need for arts organization to think big and not play it safe with their programming, despite the dismal economic climate. "If we all do Phantom of the Opera and Cats, it will be incredibly boring," Kaiser chuckled.
In that vein, I was interested in what an online commenter had to say in response to Lindsay Christians' 77 Square story about the event. (I encourage you to hop over there and read it, since I don't want to risk breaching online etiquette by re-running the whole thing here.) This nugget in particular (from the commenter "Woody") leapt out at me: "Ballet companies have succeeded in teaching their audiences that The Nutcracker is the only ballet in the repertoire and thus that ballet is only meant for kids."
This speaks to a larger issue: when is something a beloved local tradition and therefore valuable, and when has it become stale?
On the positive side, you could see this--especially where kids are concerned--as a natural, easy introduction to the world of the performing arts. One might hope that families that have a good time at Nutcracker or Carol will seek out other performances on the season schedule.
In fact, the 77 Square commenter makes the somewhat contradictory point that Nutcracker winds up subsidizing the rest of a company's season. So which is it: Nutcracker drives people away with its mind-numbing repetition, or it's a popular, commercial success that helps companies remain stable enough to offer less familiar fare during the rest of the season?
What's your take? Is there a place for an annual production of something as a beloved tradition? Or is that regularity, that "oh-here-it-is-again" quality stultifying?
I come at the arts primarily from a visual-art background, where this issue doesn't crop up in the same way (yes, you have Biennials, Triennials, etc., but you're not literally showing the same art each time). In the performing arts, do you feel that tradition is in conflict with innovation, or can they co-exist peacefully?
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Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog