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ABT Fundraising

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tsavoie

Houston Ballet does this to us every year, and my son never attended.

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Momof3darlings
hey, we can't complain that nobody's hiring, and that wages are low, yada yada, and then complain about ballet companies doing everything they can to get more money so that maybe they can hire dancers and pay them better or even just keep their company from going bankrupt

 

Talk about a gut check. You are so right! We can't have it all. Students names being used were someone's unfortunate mistake in record keeping but if it saves one dancers jobs to make those calls..........

 

vj

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Mellisa

The problem is that ABT is trying to draw funds from the same near-empty pot. The pot that is already contributing a large sum of money toward the ballet arts: the parent's own dancer's training and goodwill in her own ballet school.

 

Here is a typical scenario in Dance Studios:

 

A new parent goes in and determines if he can afford the tuition. But once he pays this bill, the REAL bill starts to appear slowly over time: Also known as "Nickel and Diming a parent to death".

 

Parents are asked to pay for costumes, photos, videos or dvds, ads in programs, flowers at showtime, a block of tickets for performances, rehearsal fees, accessories, teacher gifts, fundraiser dinner tickets, fundraiser raffles and sales, summer camps, weekend Master classes, and mini-intensives or other one-day events to raise money, etc.

 

Of course, then they are expected to DONATE money on top of the above expenses and fees, IF they are perceived to have more money than the others. This is called 'size up the parents by the type of car they drive or the size of house they live in.'

 

Of course, none of the above takes into account that the parents are already trying to save for summer intensives, if the child is old enough. And, God forbid, the child is asked to compete. This equals more expenses for private lessons, rehearsal room fees, costuming, travel, entry fees, etc.

 

The parents are also asked to volunteer to raise money for their own school in addition to the time they spend volunteering to sew costumes or doing other services for the ballet school.

 

So why are these ballet companies squeezing even more money out of these poor parents?

 

Ballet companies should CREATE markets and go to new sources.

 

Calling parents of students is a desperate move. I'm surprised that the parents don't ask ABT while they have them on the phone if any scholarships are available for the summer intensives.

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dancemaven

:offtopic:

Here is a typical scenario in Dance Studios: . . . .

 

I am so very grateful and pleased that my daughter's home studio does NOT present the "typical scenario". No hidden fees, assessments, etc. Tuition is up-front; costume fees are reasonable and known before sign-ups for the Spring Concert, which is not mandatory); no separate rehearsal fees; teacher gifts are neither expected nor lavish (single stem flowers most often); no raffles or ticket sale fundraisers. Simply good, solid classical training.

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Clara 76

Mellisa,

My goodness dear, but you sound bitter. What has happened to you to turn you so cynical? :shrug:

 

I personally would not stay anywhere that they expected that much money above and beyond the tuition and other reasonable expenses. Most schools (including ballet schools) ask parents for money for photos, videos or dvds, ads in programs, flowers at showtime, tickets for performances, accessories, fundraiser dinner tickets, fundraiser raffles and sales, summer camps, or other one-day events to raise money, etc.

 

Think senior pictures and wrapping paper sales: My friend's senior pictures were running $600-700! Lab fees, books for certain classes, and you begin to see that it happens in all walks of life.

 

This shouldn't mean that as a parent, these expenses are expected or demanded, unless one has signed a contract to that effect.

 

Just say NO. Don't do it. But recognize that we do live in a Capitalist country where "It doesn't hurt to ask" can be a motto.

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Mellisa

I was trying to point out how frustrating it may be for parents of young dance students to be expected to foot the bill for their child's own dance education and then be asked for even more money from a professional company from another state who may not have even chosen that child to be in their summer intensive.

 

And after all that training and expense, will these companies (who are asking for donations) hire your children?

 

Many are hiring from Europe or Russia or South America.

 

If you look at the Principals at ABT, the majority (14 out of 19) of them are not even Americans.

 

I agree, just saying "no" is the simplest thing to do. And that will be easy for most when getting the call from ABT.

 

But most dance schools survive on the ticket and flower sales etc. and could not fund a show without them. So that is going to be a harder "no" for most families of young dance students.

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dancemaven

Melissa, I think your point/observation is well-taken. How do the companies expect us with young dancers to support the companies when the companies don't support the dancers who used to be our young dancers? Definitely a Catch-22 and does tend to make one cynical.

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chauffeur

Excellent points, Mellisa!

 

(oops! that'll get clipped into my bad-parent file! :firedevil: )

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Clara 76

Absolutely agree about the frustration of having a company who wouldn't even accept a child into their SI to come begging for money. It doesn't have to be frustrating though- telemarketing (which I dislike so much I removed my land line & am on the 'Do Not Call' list) is used by millions of companies every day. You have the right to call ABT and ask that your child's name & your name be removed from their list.

 

I guess, for me, there are so many issues to get angry about in the world- war, famine, torture, rapes, political misdeeds and corruption, that I cannot see fit to get 'angry' about a ballet company asking for money.

 

I do understand the irritation, though perhaps it may be more productive to write to lawmakers and complain about the state of funding for the arts on both a national and state level. Most European companies are funded in a much bigger way by their governments, and it is ingrained in their cultures to support the arts. Lets all do something about it instead of complaining. Join Americans for the Arts-

AMERICANS FOR THE ARTS

Subscribe to your local professional companies- Opera, Theatre, Symphony, and Ballet.

If you can't subscribe, try to attend at least one show per year. My goal is to attend one of Opear Columbus' shows this upcoming year. I am starting to save my money now.

 

Excellent point about big-name companies hiring foreign talent- valid and worth discussing. Perhaps a new thread on that subject would produce some solutions.

 

As far as most dance schools surviving on ticket & flower sales- I work for a ballet company and its school, while I obviously cannot speak for other schools, I would imagine it is similar. The flower sale (we have 2- one in the school for the itty-bitties, one for the theatre for the older dancers) barely breaks even, so I don't think that in our particular instance, it is used as a fundraiser but more of a convenience to our parents.

 

We also offer video/DVD sales, but it is offered, not required. What tiny profit is left goes directly into theatre expenses, as well as all monies from ticket sales. Unfortunately, in order to get a professional videographer (and I use the term rather loosely), we must sign an agreement with them that noone else is allowed to video the performance. While that might seem unfair to parents, try to picture a theatre of 1,000 seats with every seat having a video camera.... :firedevil:

 

As far as tickets go, unfortunately, a school cannot hire an IATSE theatre and its union crew and do the show without charging something for tickets. Most professional schools will not make parents buy a pre-determined amount of tickets, but hope of course, that parents will buy tickets to come & see their children perform in the theatre. Tickets should NOT however, be required to see children perform in the school building.

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dancedreams

ABT may be in a telemarketing race with NYC Ballet. My DD and I attended a NYC Ballet performance about three years ago. A couple of weeks later I received a telemarketing call, I donated $50.00. NYC Ballet then called me every other week for approximately a year and a half, even though I explained that I did not live in the area, donated to the arts in my own hometown area, had only attended one performance and had already donated to NYC Ballet. Now three years later the calls have slowed to every other month or so....

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Mel Johnson

I hate telemarketing too, but I have to tell you that ABT has missed a march, which was taken up by the Metropolitan Opera House. I have been receiving telemarketing calls from the Met because I bought ABT tickets there, and while I love the house for being a good venue for ballet, I don't give a lick for the opera company. And they're persistent, even calling me at work. I finally had to tell them to take me off the call list, and my feelings toward the place are not as warm and fuzzy as once upon a time. From ABT, nought but blessed silence, which means they will now get what I had been donating to the Met from here on.

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thedriver

dancedreams, My experience with NYCB was very similar to yours, but I didn’t give them a donation. I tried explaining where I live (Pacific Northwest) and that I was in NYC only because my husband was attending a seminar. I went on to tell them we have season tickets and donate to PNB. I was still asked to donate (even a small sum) to NYCB as well. Finally, after 3 or 4 additional calls the solicitation stopped.

 

I was surprised NYCB was able to get my telephone number because I purchased the tickets on-line through Ticket-Master. :)

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Shadow

It seems to me that the companies need to be more creative in their fundraising efforts and stop asking parents for donations. (Lord knows we "donate" enough! :) )

For example, I've often wondered why ABT doesn’t sell souvenir T-shirts, sweatshirts, ect.., during their yearly performances of The Nutcracker.

My family is in the rock and roll business and we know that the major revenue from concert dates for the artists and management comes from sales of all the t-shirt stuff sold during the tour dates. The fan base happily forks over money for these items and then provides free advertising for the artists by wearing their treasures.

I remember taking my DD to her first ABT Nutcracker armed with extra cash to buy her and her friends T-shirts, and there were none to be had. All I could think of was how much money the company must be missing out on. :angry:

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mirabray

How about this, DD received a rejection letter for an audition two days before I received the telemarketing call. My first reaction was they are calling to tell me they have change thier minds, and they wantd my darling daughter. When the telemarking person said, Oh I am sure your dd has audition before and we have her name from that list. I said yes and she wasn't accepted. Not to sound like sour grapes, I donated $25. small amount but, oh well. No body cares if you are a cheerful giver, as long as you give.

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Shadow

Mirabray,

You truly have a heart of gold~! I'm afraid I wouldn't have been so accommodating. B)

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