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  • AUSTRALIAN BALLET PICKS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Six months after Australian Ballet artistic director Ross Stretton announced his departure, the company fills his position: 36 year-old David McAllister, a principal dancer in the company for 11 years. While lacking the managerial experience and international contacts of his predecessor, McAllister is said to be well-liked by the dancers and intends to focus his energies on re-connecting with contacts abroad. The Age 08/31/00

    • SOMETHING OF A SURPRISE: "Some expressed concern about his lack of management experience and that he had not danced for any length of time with any other company." The Australian's Melbourne dance critic said he was "absolutely gobsmacked by the appointment, having rated McAllister as an outside chance". The Australian 08/31/00

  • WHY BOLSHOI LEADER HAD TO GO: While some were surprised by Russian president Vladimir Putin's dismissal of Bolshoi director Vladimir Vasilyev this week, others were not. "While critics could forgive Mr. Vasilyev his shortcomings as an administrator, they were angry about his failure to revive the Bolshoi artistically. His staging of 'Swan Lake' was deemed a flop, but what critics found even more dismaying was his inability to introduce the new ideas he had promised when appointed." New York Times 08/31/00

  • Wednesday August 30

    • BOLSHOI SHAKEUP: Fed up with perceived mismanagement and stalled rebuilding plans for the critically dilapidated theater, Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday summarily fired the Bolshoi Ballet’s top management staff, including its controversial general director Vladimir Vasilyev. The Guardian (London) 08/29/00

    Monday August 28

    • MYSTERIOUS MASTER: "Nijinsky left a rich yet enigmatic legacy that still eludes full understanding.” Yet, more than a half-century after his death, the dance world is still endlessly fascinated with the dancer and choreographer’s work and bizarre life. New York Times 08/27/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    Friday August 25

    • ATLANTA BALLET TO REPLACE MUSICIANS: Musicians of the Atlanta Ballet orchestra have been on strike for 11 months. This week, six weeks before its season opens, the Atlanta Ballet says it will hire musicians from the Czech Republic for an October premiere and the annual holiday "Nutcracker." Atlanta Journal-Constitution 08/24/00

    Thursday August 24

    • TOP DOWN: Choreographer Jiri Kylian is in Australia to stage his work "Bela Figura" with the Australian Ballet. But he's surprised that some dancers and the media are fretting over the fact that the female dancers are topless. "I know it is just that they are not used to it. But in Europe it is so natural that dancers don't think anything of it." The Age 08/24/00

    • NO DANCING IN NY: New York's cabaret law bans dancing in nightclubs that lack a cabaret license. "The law was originally designed to crack down on Prohibition-era speakeasies and Harlem jazz clubs, but had lain dormant for over 70 years. That was until Giuliani's administration dusted it off about four years ago and began enforcing it against legal nightclubs." Village Voice 08/23/00

    Sunday August 20

    • DANCE AFTER 40: Used to be that age 40 was considered the outer limit for dancers. Now several companies have begun giving older dancers a chance to continue their careers. New York Times 08/20/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    • OH OH OHIO: Ohio Ballet is on the ropes - artistically and financially. "This is a shocking predicament for a 32-year-old dance troupe that has long maintained a reputation for no-frills productions and fiscal responsibility. Over the years, many subscribers said they preferred the Akron company’s bare-bones style to the extravagance of Cleveland San Jose Ballet, and they also appreciated the skillful management and strong board commitment that kept Ohio Ballet from having to beg for bailouts." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 08/20/00

    Tuesday August 15

    • DANCE ON: "Three of America’s most distinguished choreographers have survived the rigors of a concert dance career and they remain active, putting a shine on their golden years. Katherine Dunham, 91, Merce Cunningham, 81, and Paul Taylor, 70, are all going strong." MSNBC 08/15/00

    Sunday August 13

    • LIVING HISTORY: "Alicia Markova, a living legend not only of British ballet, but of 20th-century civilisation. This is the body that Matisse drew black squiggles down for his costume for her in Rouge et Noir. This skin was rubbed down by the immortal Pavlova with her personal eau de cologne. This musical mind was guided as a child by Stravinsky and Balanchine." The Telegraph (London) 08/13/00

    Friday August 11

    • DEMONSTRATION DANCE: Protestors will undoubtedly line the streets outside the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles next week. Surprisingly, a sizable number of them will be dancers - many of whom performed thematic “protest dances” in Seattle last December. “They just didn’t know what to think of us. I guess it’s pretty hard to arrest a dance company.” LA Weekly 08/17/00

    • WEIGHING IN: So why is the mother of a Boston Ballet dancer suing the company over her daughter's death? "The only numbers in the nine-page document refer to Guenther's age (22), height (5 feet 3 inches) and weight (less than 100 pounds) at the time of her death. Seeing these numbers in the same file that lists the damages the plaintiff is seeking - loss of society, companionship, comfort, guidance, counsel and advice - is heartbreaking." Boston Herald 08/11/00

    Monday August 8

    • TAKE A CHANCE ON DANCE: Is there any such thing as an avant-garde in dance? The Lincoln Center Festival keeps bravely asserting that there is. But this year's trio of "experimentalists" didn't do much to provide evidence for same. New York Magazine 08/07/00

    Sunday August 6

    • THE NEW DANCE: The line between performance and entertainment has blurred considerably in the last few years. Riverdance, Matthew Bourne's 'Swan Lake' and most notably the teaming of the experimentalist Julie Taymor with Disney to produce Broadway's 'Lion King' have forged significant links between art and commerce. Choreographer Elizabeth Streb, herself a hybrid of working class roots and MacArthur Foundation 'genius grant' credentials, cites Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, Cirque du Soleil, Stomp, 'Bring In da Noise, Bring In da Funk' and Zingaro as precedents. New York Times 08/06/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    • HOME FOR THE UNTALENTED: Two of Russia's best dancers - Altynai Asylmuratova and Irek Mukhamedov - come to London and talk about British dance: "Here you can teach anybody - even when there's no talent. Even if they're like this [his hands mime pigeon toes] or like this [he conjures a fat little troll] if their parents pay. And what happens to this person-who-is-not-quite-talented? They go to school; they dance; they become a teacher." The Telegraph (London) 08/06/00

    Thursday August 3

    • THE SLEEPING BEAUTY BALLET: A former ballerina - now 82 - who grew up training with the Tsar's mistress in the 1930's played an instrumental role in bringing about the Kirov Ballet's recent production of "The Sleeping Beauty." Through a complicated trail of purchased dance companies, post-Tsar revolutionary politics, and deep friendships based on trust and a passion for dance, she helped smuggle the precious original ballet texts out of Soviet Russia. The Telegraph 08/03/00

    • WASHINGTON TO CUBA: Following in the footsteps of the Baltimore Orioles and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, which both visited Cuba last year in an effort to increase contact between the two countries, the Washington Ballet will go to Cuba this fall to perform in an international festival in Havana. Washington Post 08/03/00

    • QUEEN OF THE EMPIRE: It's been noted recently that the art of belly dancing is dying in Egypt, that the profession is being taken over by a torrent of foreign dancers. But watch out for Fifi Abdo, one of Egypt's top three belly dancers and perhaps the most "violent." Abdo, who commands a fierce band of bodyguards, recently stormed the office of the censor after one of her performances had been censored for being too provocative, and is on the warpath against the "Russians" - the foreign belly dancers that she says are "giving a bad name to our traditional profession." Ha'aretz 08/02/00

    Wednesday August 2

    • IT'S MINE TO RESTAGE: Vancouver's Ballet BC wants to stage a work by its former artistic director, but the choreographer has refused, saying the company must hire her to restage it. CBC 08/02/00

    • DISAPPEARING TUMMIES: The art of belly dancing is dying in Egypt, where it was born "Fewer hotels, clubs and Nile River boats are offering the live performances, and more and more Egyptian women are shunning the dance because of Islamic disapproval. As a consequence, more of the dancers performing professionally in Cairo are outsiders - from Japan, South America and the countries of the former Soviet Union. They are from almost everywhere, in fact, except Egypt." Los Angeles Times 08/02/00

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