AJ Logo Get ArtsJournal in your inbox
for FREE every morning!
Home > DANCE

MARCH 2001

Friday March 30

PLAYING FAVORITES? American Ballet Theatre executive director Louis G. Spisto has been accused, in a complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, of illegally favoring young, gay employees. "A policy was developed to ‘disengage’ older workers in favour of younger ones, generally male, who would not be uncomfortable with the management’s preference and discourse of gay lifestyles." At least 30 staff members have left since Spisto’s arrival in 1999. The Times (London) 3/30/01

Thursday March 29

NUTCRACKER REVISITED: St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theater is staging a new version of The Nutcracker. Music director Valery Gergiyev has a new interpretation of Tchaikovsky's music, but it's the choreography that has everyone talking. Mikhail Shemyakin is "focusing on the darker spirit of Ernst Hoffmann's 19th-century children's tale in order to bring out more of the story's inherent fantasy. At the end, [the little girl] rejects the adult world and chooses never to return to reality. At the ballet's climax she turns into a sugar figure on a giant cake." The Moscow Times (Reuters) 03/29/01

Wednesday March 28

IRELAND'S IMPOVERISHED DANCE: In Ireland, the Arts Council has awarded £433,000 to stage a major dance festival. Great - but even in Ireland's prosperous times, its dance infrastructure is in need of major repairs. Irish Times 03/28/01

Tuesday March 27

REVIVING MODERN DANCE IN PHILLY: "Less than a year after Philadelphia's modern dance community lost its most important rehearsal space, [a prominent local dancer] is making plans to turn a cluster of garage buildings in the Spring Garden neighborhood into the city's first theater dedicated exclusively to modern dance." Philadelphia Inquirer 03/27/01

Monday March 26

COMPETING TO GET IN: "Each year, any permanent member of the Paris Opéra Ballet wanting promotion to leading dancer, soloist or coryphée (a kind of demi-soloist) can apply to take part in a competition created for the purpose. More than half of them do so." The Independent (London) 03/23/01

Sunday March 25

WHAT WENT WRONG IN BOSTON? One of the great mysteries of the arts world is why one discipline can thrive while another dies a lonely death in the very same city. Yet it happens all the time, and Boston is the latest case in point. One of America's great arts towns, full of top-quality music, fine museums, and a famous theatre scene, it has simply never embraced dance, and several companies are currently paying the price. Boston Globe 03/25/01

THE GIELGUD AFFAIR: When Maina Gielgud left the Boston Ballet six months before she was even scheduled to begin work as the embattled company's new artistic director, accusations flew over whose fault it was, and speculation over the "real" reason for her dismissal was rampant. The latest theory: it's (almost) all about the money, baby. Boston Globe 03/25/01

GOING VERTICAL: The ramrod straight perfect vertical line, the perfect split arabesque, is one of the most beautiful positions for a ballerina. So how did it come about? The Telegraph (London) 03/24/01

RETIREMENT IS OVERRATED: Nearly forty years after Merce Cunningham burst onto the scene and changed dance forever, the 81-year-old choreographer is still one of the most innovative figures in modern dance. "The work is not and has never been trendy or appealing to popular taste. When making a dance, Merce has never considered what might be commercially viable." Yet somehow, Cunningham has been embraced by the public like few other choreographers before or since. The New York Times 03/25/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Friday March 23

FROM THE BARRE TO THE BOARDROOM: Performers aren’t always the most suited to be arts administrators, but David McAllister might be the exception. After giving his last performance at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday, he will step into his new role as artistic director of Australian Ballet and plans for his inaugural season already include a new "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty", and adding 10 new dancers to the company. "His dressing room tells the tale. On one side of the table is eye makeup, foundation and powder. On the other is an ever-increasing stack of business papers." Sydney Morning Herald 3/23/01

Thursday March 22

BOSTON BALLET BACKLASH: When the Boston Ballet unexpectedly dismissed several of its dancers last month, and then fired the incoming artistic director who had apparently ordered the action, the troubled company went into full defense mode, with everyone involved desperate to blame someone else. Now, two of the dismissed dancers paint a dismal picture of an organization where the buck stops nowhere. Boston Herald 03/22/01

Wednesday March 21

CROUCHING DANCER, HIDDEN WIRES: If you haven't taken Hong Kong action movies seriously, now may be the time to start. Dance critic Joan Acocella of The New Yorker pays particular attention to "wirework, whereby the fighters are attached to wires, like Peter Pan, so that they can move upward as well as in the usual directions... such feats leaven the film's violence with a sort of joy. By producing a longer arc of action, wirework allows for longer takes--hence, expansion, afterthoughts, fantasy." The New Yorker 03/26/01

Sunday March 18

THE NEW PAS DE DEUX: With the folding of Cleveland's only full-time ballet last year, other companies have decided to take some chances in an effort to draw crowds. Several smaller dance troupes have been reinventing the classic pas de deux recently, replacing the traditional male-female dance of love with duets featuring (gasp!) two male performers. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 03/18/01

Thursday March 15

BOSTON BALLET MAY BE RECOVERING: The Boston Ballet, beset by management shake-ups, dancer turn-over, and lawsuits, may at last be settling down. One clue: promoting Jorden Morris to chief ballet master. "I'm in the position of basically putting a dance team together and making sure that it's a strong, talented company. I can tell you that I will hire the best dancer for the job. That is the bottom line." Boston Herald 03/15/01

Wednesday March 14

LOSING ON A TECHNICALITY: The family of former Boston Ballet dancer Heidi Guenther may appeal its loss in a wrongful death suit against the company, saying the case was thrown out on technicalities. "What's most troubling about this anomaly in the law is that a worker can be treated negligibly and even die, but have no right under the workers' compensation system." Boston Herald 03/14/01

Tuesday March 13

BALLET LAWSUIT DISMISSED: A Massachusetts judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought against the Boston Ballet by the mother of a former company dancer who died of anorexia. The suit claimed that ballet officials told the young dancer she had to lose weight to join the troupe: Heidi Guenther was 5'3", and weighed 93 pounds when she died in 1997. Nando Times (AP) 03/13/01

Monday March 12

CROCE ON DANCE: In 23 years writing about dance for the New Yorker, Arlene Croce was a strong voice. "Unlike many dance critics covering a beat, Croce did not write to be liked, or even to be rewarded by her employers. She wrote to be read. She could not be predicted or controlled, and, combined with her intellectual talent and her rhetorical genius, the result could be explosive in senses either exciting or terrifying, depending on whether the reader is on the sidelines of the action or the target of it." The New Republic 03/05/01

HOW MARK MORRIS BECAME AN INSTITUTION: The choreographer and his company have a gleaming new home in Brooklyn. But it's more than a home; it's a statement about one of the most exciting choreographers of our time. The New Yorker 03/12/01

Sunday March 11

THE DANCING ATHLETES: The line between athletics and dance have blurred in recent years. Now a group of Italian gymnasts enters the dance circle, working with choreographers to refine their movement. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 03/11/01

Friday March 9

THE PARIS OPERA BALLET ANNUAL COMPETITION: A lot of movement, a lot of fuss, a lot of clamor. And for what? "There was a time when this competition gave every dancer their chance. Is it now being turned into a beauty competition where only those resembling a stereotyped story-book image of a prince can pass? Or must dancers grovel at the feet of a bunch of civil servants and beg ?" Culturekiosque 03/07/01 

BALLET LEGEND NINETTE DE VALOIS DIED on Thursday at age 102. A dancer with the Ballet Russe and then founder of the Royal Ballet, Valois established ballet in Britain when the country had no classical dance tradition and became a revered choreographer, teacher, and director. "Her influence on the development of ballet in this country cannot be overstated." BBC 3/08/01

  • TRIBUTES TO VALOIS from the UK dance community. Sir Anthony Dowell, director of the Royal Ballet described her as "one of the 20th century's greatest and most influential figures in the world of the arts." BBC 3/08/01
  • THE TIMES’ DANCE CRITIC REMEMBERS VALOIS: "People regularly spoke of Madam in hushed tones: what would she think of this ballet and that? Who would she like? Who wouldn’t she like? I heard tales of her fearsome authority and her strong opinions, always freely expressed." The Times (London) 3/09/01

RUSSIANS DELAY RETURN OF PAVLOVA'S REMAINS: An apparent dispute between St. Petersburg and Moscow has interrupted the return of Anna Pavlova's remains to Russia. Her ashes, in London since the ballerina's death seventy years ago, were to have been sent back to her native country at the request of the mayor of Moscow; now the Russian Embassy has cancelled the request. BBC 03/08/01

Thursday March 8

BRINGING DANCE IN FROM THE COLD: "In the sixties, modern dance, like the other arts, took a turn toward conceptualism. Music, stories, stars - all the things that could draw you into an illusion, make you lose yourself in the show - were banished. The result was cleansing, but it was also a dead end." Twyla Tharp was one of those who brought us back from all that. The New Yorker 03/05/01

MARK MORRIS' NEW HOME: Mark Morris and his company are moving into their new home in Brooklyn. The "sumptuous five-story, 31,000-square-foot building diagonally across Lafayette Street from the Brooklyn Academy" cost $6.2 million and is "a palace of modern dance, arguably the only one of its kind in the United States. 'This is unusual, and it is also historic and unprecedented'." The New York Times 03/08/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Wednesday March 7

WHAT IS IT WITH THE BALLET PEOPLE? Last month, the Houston Ballet's artistic director announced that he was stepping down, shocking the company's dancers and board members. Now, after further consideration, Ben Stevenson says he will stay on, albeit in a joint role with his former assistant. Dallas Morning News 03/07/01

Sunday March 4

THE NEW OLD MASTERS: Choreographers Paul Taylor and Merce Cunningham are the reigning masters of dance. "Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Taylor have gone their own creative ways, sometimes raising eyebrows. But once choreographers achieve eminence, certain old aesthetic controversies may lose their steam." The New York Times 03/04/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Friday March 2

BOSTON BALLET - WHO'S THE VILLAIN?: Maina Gielgud, who resigned as artistic director of the Boston Ballet before beginning the job, is refusing to take the rap for budget problems and the firing of nine dancers. Ballet CEO Jeffrey Babcock, who's already developed a reputation for antagonizing company members, appears to be on the hot seat right now. Boston Globe 03/02/0

NOT ABOUT THE MONEY: Gielgud denies previous reports that she quit because the company wouldn't allocate more money. "On the contrary, all I've been asking them is to tell me what they do have, or at least what they feel they can afford." Sydney Morning Herald 03/02/01

Thursday March 1

PAUL TAYLOR, GOOD AS EVER: The Paul Taylor Dance Company has a two-week season in New York every year. This year's looks pretty good, according to the critics. In fact, it looks great. How's this for a rave: "Taylor is quite simply the most extraordinary choreographer alive.... it is theater burned into the stage, and, even more, burned on the audience's imagination." New York Post 03/01//01

Home | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©
2002 ArtsJournal. All Rights Reserved