Your skill set and the Ballet Imperial

I recently was lucky enough to head along to the Australian Ballet Companies latest season, Ballet Imperial, at the State Theatre. The night was fantastic – I am growing an appreciation for some of the finer arts going about, especially from a performers point of view. The ballerinas performing for us that night we the crème-de-le-crème. To be selected to dance for the ABC takes years and years of practice, and even then they only take about 2 from 500 amazingly talented young dancers a year. These guys are best-in-planet.


But what got me thinking during the performance more was not the feats of those people on stage, but the very things they were performing. Ballet Imperial is a work by Russian George Balanchine. It is seen as a classic (I believe, I’m still new at this) and typifies the Russian style of dancing, which is very technical and ‘correct.’ Anyways, the show put on by the ABC was actually a collection of similarity Russian works put together on a bare stage, without costumes. Essentially, it was a best-of album of all the Balanchine style had to offer. Act 1 from this ballet, Act 3 from this one etc etc. The show had a clear focus to show off the best parts of each work, and in doing so, exhibit the dancers as they were – without the distraction of props, costumes and ‘extras’ on stage.

My thinking turned to the whole Brand Me/Professional Service Firm model that I’ve been talking about for a while now. The company packages up a list of its ‘best ofs’ and sells tickets for $100+ a pop and fills the State Theatre for 2 weeks. What can you package up and sell for that relative kind of price? What is in your repertoire, that you are doing right not, which can provide a clear value proposition to someone else?

This is a bit of a riff on Tom Peters thinking in his book, Re-Imagine. If you were fired tomorrow, what would you do once had packed your belongings into a cardboard box? What are you doing, now, that is seriously best-in-planet and how can you sell out the State Theatre for $100+ a pop to demonstrate your wares? What are the ‘wow projects’ that are in your repertoire that can be pieced together to form a seriously cool offering to either a cool niche of people or a broad based market? How do you choose this repertoire?

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