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COUNTERPUNCH LETTERS : The Balletic Blight

November 07, 1994

Serena Tripi, in her Counterpunch response to Martin Bernheimer's "Balletic Blight Still Plagues L.A." (Oct. 16), states that local dance groups need money and appreciation ("Dance Groups Need a Few Good Angels," Oct. 31). Who doesn't? She asks that we "concentrate on how to bring the audiences back into the theater."

My family has been a season ticket-holder for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, the musical comedy series at the Pasadena Civic and the Ahmanson Theater for many years. As season ticket-holders, our money goes out almost a year in advance. Sometimes we know what the shows will be, sometimes not.

We used to buy four season tickets. One season had so many mediocre or bad shows that we were embarrassed to take guests. We saw Robert Morse outshine his co-actor, Joe Namath, in "Sugar Babies." Namath was good-looking and agreeable but hardly up to singing and dancing. We suffered through an updated version of "Babes in Toyland" with "Star Wars" figures and cough-inducing smoke. We barely endured the torture of a too-loud "Tommy." Now our season has been cut short because the producers of "She Loves Me" are having trouble.

Tripi asks, "Where is the dollar support for dance?" The answer is just another question. Where is the dance company that we can watch without paying $50 a ticket? A dance company with talented artists, not necessarily with names we should recognize? A dance company that produces more than "The Nutcracker" each Christmas? A dance company with some live music rather than a record?

Circumstances all conspire to deter audiences from putting up money for a show that may or may not happen. Perhaps if there were actually a tax deduction for patrons of the arts, the public might not mind parting with its hard-earned dollars. As it is, we are supporting very bad theater.

NANCY MacCOON

Los Angeles

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