Dancers Find Their Voice In Miami City Ballet Marketing Campaign

Amanda Weingarten likes days that begin watching the sunrise and end dining with her husband. Neil Marshall likes walking the streets and museums of Paris before heading to Rue St. Louis to enjoy some Berthillon ice cream. Both are dancers with Miami City Ballet and are part of a trend of performers who are finding their voices to reach their audiences.In a move to attract younger audiences, company marketers are turning to online and social media to reach audiences where they spend their time. Weingarten and Marshall both filled out ‘Meet the Dancers’ forms, which were posted to the ballet company’s blog. But they’re not alone. An interview with soloist Callie Manning was taped, uploaded to YouTube, then posted to the blog. The company encourages audiences to tweet questions about the performance during intermission.’Social media and marketing has really exploded. It’s become more and more of a way to influence ticket buying,’ said Bill Miller, the company’s director of marketing and communications. Miller arrived in April after 33 years marketing Broadway shows. ‘When I started on Broadway, we were still using typewriters. This season, a buy in the local newspaper, half of the media is online, as opposed to just print.’While the company’s core audience is upscale donors and ticket buyers, marketing executives have seen the need to cultivate newer and younger audiences in the 20-to-40-something age range ‘to come to us and be a part of the experience,’ he said.The company is not alone in reaching out directly to audiences. In September, New York City Ballet performers began speaking directly to audiences before shows. The effort sought to break barriers by humanizing performers, connecting them with the audience, and selling more tickets, The New York Times wrote.’Ballet has always had this stigma, this mystique, this standoffish art form that you couldn’t touch,’ Peter Martins, the company’s ballet master in chief, told the Times.The current MCB ad campaign, ‘Physical Poetry,’ features dancers photographed in street clothes with quotes about what they do outside of ballet. The main image for this season features principal Carlos Guerra shirtless in blue jeans, hoisting principal dancer Patricia Delgado in a tutu.’It’s not just a performance image from Swan Lake. We wanted to create an image that took classical ballet and put it in a new context so you see it in a fresh way,’ said John Oberlander, president/creative director of Oberlander Group.The Albany, N.Y.-based arts specialty marketing agency created the campaign. Fashion photographer Gio Alma and arts photographer Lois Greenfield shot the images.’It’s this mash-up of classical and contemporary culture,’ Oberlander said. ‘We’re hoping it makes people take a second look.’MCB also has a staffer whose primary job is to post content to social media