In an effort to reach out beyond its traditional audience base, the New York City Ballet has just launched an innovative communications campaign intended to bring audiences closer to their dancers by projecting their human side. Audience research conducted by the New York City ballet consisting of focus groups, surveys and individual interviews revealed that audiences want more of a relationship with arts organizations. The public today really wants to connect with the institutions they support and the people that make up those institutions. Making art more accessible today means sharing the process of creation with the public and connecting with them on a more intimate level.
"Our research showed clearly that making a stronger connection between the audience and the artist is something that would deeply enhance the audience experience and break down the veil between the audience and the dancers," said Katherine Brown, Executive Director. The new strategy includes preshow talks with dancers coming on stage in their everyday clothes, talking about personal thoughts on the dances, humorous stories, hobbies, interests and even company insider gossip. These new informal talks are intended to make audiences feel closer to the dancers and a more significant part of the evening's event. The campaign also includes a mini Web site, nycballet.com/dancers, dedicated to each principal dancer. A print advertising campaign is also underway to complement the effort and will include ads in subways and in publications depicting the dancers in a relaxed casual manner intended to appeal to younger New Yorkers the company hope will become the patrons of the future. Critics fear that all this accessibility could lessen the mystique of the ballet but in today's world with everyone's desire to connect, it seems like the right move at the right time.