Building Audiences for Dance


How Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Pacific Northwest Ballet Are Attracting Millennial Audiences



Alvin American Dance Theater and Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) have, with support from The Wallace Foundation, spent the past two seasons conducting market research and testing initiatives designed to attract new millennial audiences. The Ailey company has been testing performance-related social events and investigating different ticket prices with millennials. PNB tested out a special mailing list, events targeting millennials, and used market research to inform the presentation of new dance works in locations new to PNB performances.

What did they learn? What surprises did they uncover? Here are some takeaways from a recent webinar featuring these two organizations:

  • What people say and what they buy are two different things.
  • Younger audiences don’t behave that differently from other audiences.
  • Drink specials are important.
  • Audiences want to feel that they’re getting a good value.
  • Many millennial audiences are interested in traditional programming.

Watch the webinar!

Hear Thomas Cott, senior director of marketing and creative content at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Lia Chiarelli, director of marketing and communications at Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) share what they learned about their target audiences and expand on the lessons they learned over the course of their audience building projects. Both Cott and Chiarelli include practical takeaways for organizations of all sizes.


Interested in more resources on building audiences?
Find more resources on The Wallace Foundation website here. 

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