How do you feel about ballet?

[Cache – #15]

In the popular culture, ballet is widely perceived as elitist, and – by men in particular – as froufrou.  But The National Ballet of Canada is trying to change that.  At the forefront of their efforts is their young patrons group, whom we were retained to rebrand.  Their new name and tagline:


The term turnout refers to the fundamental requirement of ballet:  the ability to turn one’s limbs to the outside.  If you can’t turnout, you can’t dance ballet.  Period.  And so Turnout – as a group of young professionals  who not only support the National Ballet now, but from whose ranks may come the next generation of major donors – is a name aligned with the brand’s core purpose of helping to build a sustainable future for this globally-respected institution.

And of course there is Turnout’s double meaning, in its call to action for the target market to show up, mentally and physically, and support not just the world’s best dancers, but all of the supporting professionals for whom the National Ballet is internationally admired – the best costumers, set-makers, and orchestra members among a legion of full-time staff.

Just as this brand’s name is derived from its core purpose, its tagline is inspired by what makes Turnout unique among young patrons groups – that it offers the best access to the art form in question, and to the people who make it.  What makes The National Ballet different from an art gallery, for example, is that the Ballet’s art is literally alive in the form of human beings.  And while other dance organizations, or the opera for example, also have art in the form of people, the National Ballet sets its self apart through the tenure of its dancers – as these talented individuals don’t just fly in for a particular show and then fly out, but stay permanently, sometimes for 20 years or more.

What this all means to the young professionals of Turnout is a unique opportunity to interact with and support dancers – who are in the same age bracket as them – over an extended period of time.  In doing so, they get exclusive access to social events with the performers, and get admittance to dress rehearsals and practice sessions directed in some cases by one of the most acclaimed dancers of the 20th century, Artistic Director Karen Kain.

Until I began work with this client, I had never attended a ballet.  Frankly, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  The dancers on stage were super elite athletes doing superhuman things.  Then, at the kind of event Turnout will be holding, I had the opportunity to meet Aleksandar Antonijevic, who’s been a dancer at the National Ballet for a staggering 21 years.  His training schedule is typical of ballet dancers:  seven hours of dancing every day.  Plus physiotherapy, plus cross-training, plus sports psychology.

Speaking with him – getting access to this world-class athlete and learning of the life he lives – it was impossible not to be very impressed.

How do you feel about ballet?  If you’re not a fan, could access to its inner workings change your mind?

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Turnout’s launch event is March 22 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.  Visit Turnout on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/turnoutballet

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