SPAC ballet shines with emergency generator
SARATOGA SPRINGS The show went on Tuesday night by using emergency electric power at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
On Wednesday afternoon and evening, staff and customers still were making the best of the situation. The online ticketing system and telephones were down, even after the lights turned back on.
Tickets were still for sale in person at the box office for Wednesday night’s New York City Ballet showing of “Romeo + Juliet.”
A generator in the amphitheater kept things running on stage Tuesday, while portable light towers lit the way in the parking lot and candles illuminated the bathrooms, said Marcia White, SPAC president and executive director.
“It was almost business as usual,” she said.
The conditions made ballet patrons appreciate the dancers as they toiled on the hot night. “It was the type of evening when you really appreciate the artists even more,” she said. “It brought the audience and the dancers together.”
Hot entrees couldn’t be prepared for diners at the Patrons Terrace on Tuesday night before the performance because of the lack of electricity, but the Tuscan Table buffet was still served and food was available in the Hall of Springs, White said.
The power went out for the first time around 3 p.m. Tuesday, came back on at night and then went out for a second time Wednesday morning along Route 50 from the northern end of Ballston Spa to the state park, along Geyser Road including the Geyser Crest neighborhood, and some areas south of Route 29.
Both times, a faulty underground cable at a National Grid substation on Brook Road was the culprit, said Virginia Limmiatis, spokeswoman for National Grid. At the height of the outage, 2,100 customers were without electricity. Power was restored around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, she said.
It’s not the first time SPAC has needed to use the generator.
“We’ve had situations like this before,” White said, recalling a ballet performance of “West Side Story” some years ago when rain and wind from a hurricane ripped through the area.
“We were actually mopping the water off the stage,” she said.
While the audience has been enjoying this year’s two-week New York City Ballet season that started July 10, many people are concerned about plans next year to reduce the season to just one week.
As the generator ran at SPAC Tuesday night, the Saratoga Springs City Council met across town and voted 5-0 on a resolution strongly supporting a two-week minimum summer residency for the ballet at SPAC.
“My goal is to get it back to two weeks,” said Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan, who authored the resolution. “I want to be able to work with SPAC and the ballet to make sure that this happens.”