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November 2006

Orange County School Finds Freaking Alternatives "The principal of a south Orange County high school has lifted a nearly three-month-long dancing ban he instituted after seeing teenagers' sexually suggestive moves at school dances that were 'one step from events that should be occurring on wedding nights.' ... The new guidelines forbid students from straddling each other's legs, bending over, dancing front-to-back, grinding, touching breasts, buttocks or genitals, or 'making out,' and require students to keep both feet on the floor. The guidelines also limit dancers' hands to their partner's waist or shoulders." Los Angeles Times 11/30/06

Remember When Dance Was Popular? Why has ballet completely vanished from the radar screen of most Americans? There are plenty of reasons, but one of the primary ones may be that classic dance hasn't been seen on American television in decades, with the exception of the odd Nutcracker showing. "Things were different in the '60s and '70s, when Edward Villella would fly through the air on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' one week and swap one-liners with Tony Randall on 'The Odd Couple' the next... Back then, dance was the most glamorous of the lively arts. Now it's the one most in danger of slipping through the cultural cracks." Wall Street Journal 11/25/06

Chilean Dance Pioneer Dies "Lola Botka, renowned dancer and co-founder of The National Ballet of Chile, died Monday at age 96, weakened by a serious battle with pneumonia. Botka and her husband, Ernst Uthoff, were important figures in the modern dance movement in Chile." Santiago Times (Chile) 11/29/06

Broadway Tours: Manna To Dancers, Poison To Troupes "It's a fact of life: Dancers must make the choice between the artistic challenge offered by a concert dance company (a loose term that implies an artistic entity that presents stage performances of modern, ballet or other styles, for which dancers and choreography are the focus) and the steady work, paycheck and benefits that come with a big Broadway touring production, a pop concert tour, an industrial show or even a cruise ship." Los Angeles Times 11/28/06

Chicago's Surprising Ballet Comeback This has been the year of the dance in Chicago, and audiences have been turning out in droves. "Fall could well have resulted in box-office disaster. Within a period of only five weeks between late September and early November, the Joffrey's 'Cinderella,' the [New York City Ballet] engagement and the Kirov vied to sell tickets, and not cheap tickets, some going for as much as $110 apiece. All three engagements fared phenomenally." Chicago Tribune 11/26/06

Innovation Out Of Israel Ohad Naharin is the 54-year-old head of Israel's acclaimed Batsheva Dance Company. "The veteran artistic director of Israel's premier dance company has been hailed for pioneering some of the most innovative work - and intriguing movement language - in contemporary dance during the past 20 years. He has battled all manner of inclement weather since taking over the helm of Batsheva in Tel Aviv in 1990." Sydney Morning Herald 11/24/06

The New Dance (But Is It Dance?) "The excitement for critics and audiences alike in so many performances these days, from downtown to Brooklyn and beyond, is to ignore the old categories, or at least not fret if their expectations are thwarted. Artists are eager to mix things up, and audiences better be ready to go along for the ride." The New York Times 11/24/06

Radical Chic AT Aussie Dance Awards "The emphasis in the Australian Dance Awards on contemporary dance is not surprising as the 14-person national selection panel is dominated by contemporary dance practitioners. The panel chooses the winners from nominees shortlisted by 200 members of the dance community and the public." Sydney Morning Herald 11/20/06

Criticize The Form, Yes; But The Substance? "When choreographers present wrongheaded reductions of vexing, long-lived political questions, we critics too often give them a benefit of the doubt we would never extend to a playwright, a politician, a tenth grader. We may quibble with the show's tangential ideas and execution, but we rarely question the issues on which the work is premised, however sketchily." Foot In Mouth (AJBlogs) 11/19/06

A Closer Look At Albert Evans "Albert Evans stands out. The cheap explanation is that hes the lone African-American principal dancer in the New York City Ballet, and only its second ever, besides Arthur Mitchell in the 1950s and 60s. But the truer distinction is artistic: regal and uninhibited, Mr. Evans moves like few others of his generation." The New York Times 11/19/06

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