It remains to be seen whether or not that is a good idea. Because of course the question is: is the daily routine as interesting as the pressure cooker situation of an international tour?
This question was certainly occupying my mind last week, especially as the company had stayed in China while I was back in the cloudy Netherlands. So I wasn’t there to see the Chinese embrace Moving Rooms and Solo with great enthusiasm. Such enthusiasm indeed that Ted was immediately asked if we would come and perform Moving Rooms at their annual ballet gala in January. I wasn’t there when our Chinese dancer Chao organised a karaoke evening for the whole company. And neither was I there when technician Ed had to go to hospital to be treated for kidney stones (don’t worry – no Chinese herbs or acupuncture, but ultramodern equipment and efficient treatment. He’s doing fine).
No, I was already back in Amsterdam, in time to deal with The Amsterdam Music Theatre’s budget in the AMT management team. Only it turned out that the meeting had been cancelled. Typical ! It was evident throughout the week what a tricky business the AMT’s budget is, as are those of the Dutch National Ballet and De Nederlandse Opera. The seriousness of the financial problems we’re dealing with has prompted the management to take another look at the planned artistic schedule. The fact that the Lower House has now agreed to the idiotic cabinet decision to introduce a higher VAT rate for tickets is a heavy financial blow, as higher prices obviously mean less ticket sales. It’s not only the people in the financial department who are pulling their weight. The marketing and sales departments have also gone into overdrive as a result of the VAT increase, as we want to offer our regular audiences the opportunity of buying their subscriptions for the new season still at the lower VAT rate. That will save them a lot of money, and why should we deny our regular customers that benefit? This VAT increase is scandalous, but we’ll all just have to learn to live with it.
Fortunately, I’ve also been involved in some more cheerful activities. Our plans for unannounced and surprising performances all over the city during the anniversary season, for example. But that’s a secret – it has to remain a surprise. And the finalisation of the contract with Arthaus, the company that is releasing our DVD recording of Don Quichotte in the spring. And the announcement that our Hans van Manen Festival DVD is one of the first dance titles to be sold via iTunes.
I’ve also been invited to the official opening of the DeLaMar Theatre on Sunday afternoon. ‘Black Tie’ it says on the invitation. Which is a good reason to replace my 15-year-old dinner jacket. I also invested in a pair of dress shoes to go with it. After all, if the queen is coming, you have to look presentable! And how was it? More about it in my next blog.