Balletomane (a fancy word for someone who loves ballet) Myriam Hallock has seen ballet all over the world.
Right now she’s enjoying seeing performances close to home. Carmike Cinema’s Ballet in Cinema series resumes Sunday.
Hallock recalled a time when she and a friend watched a ballet together -- in two different countries.
“A friend was watching it at 7:30 at night in the Paris Opera house while I saw it at 1:30 in the afternoon here,” she marveled. “I go to all the ballets. Every one. My friend Marjorie Newman is as enthusiastic as I am. She and I are always there, even if it’s 10 in the morning.”
She loves going to the Ritz 13’s Screening Room to see the ballet.
“It’s as though you are in the front row, center,” Hallock said.
A bonus is having coffee and Danish rolls and sitting “in an ultra-comfortable chair that’s like your reclining chair at home,” Hallock said.
Tickets to the Ballet in Cinema and Opera in Cinema are priced differently from the usual Hollywood blockbusters. Ballet is $25 and opera is $20.
Terrell Mayton, director of marketing for Carmike Cinemas, said because the live versions of the ballets and operas need satellite time, ticket prices are higher. Arts production costs are higher and production and distribution companies have to be paid as well.
The performance viewing is made possible by Emerging Pictures, an all-digital theater network in America. It focuses on art films, documentaries, foreign language films, independent films and cultural programming like Ballet/Opera in Cinema.
Christiana Little is director of opera marketing and the “de facto director of ballet marketing” for Emerging Pictures.
She said the company’s two managing partners, Ira Deutchman and Barry Rebo saw a demand for cultural arts programming and decided to offer ballet and opera performance screenings to movie theaters.
“Nothing takes away from watching a live event,” but going to your local movie house is the next best thing, Little said.
Besides, you can eat popcorn and drink a diet Coke while watching a ballet or opera. You can’t do that in many ballet and opera venues, she said.
“It’s a low pressure way to introduce ballet and opera,” Little said.
“Everybody’s already familiar with going to the movies. And you’re already familiar with the rules of going to a movie.”
The opera series started in 2007 and in 2010 a ballet series was added.
“You cannot beat the seats,” Little said, echoing Hallock. “You can see the intricate footwork and see the facial expressions on both the dancers and singers.”
Because arts programs are being cut all across the country, Mayton thinks it’s very important to give students an opportunity to watch a world-class ballet or opera company.
A former arts administrator, Mayton is particularly committed to continue the series. But so is Carmike Cinemas, he said. More than 100 cities in the Carmike Cinemas movie theater chain show the Ballet/Opera in Cinema series, he said.
“I think the popularity continues to grow,” Mayton said. “Many types of arts programming takes a while to grow. It’s really important to me and really important to Carmike.
“It’s a great product and really done well.”