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Wednesday November 28

SUMMING UP STRETTON: Ross Stretton is barely into his first season as director of London's Royal Ballet, but his influence is already being keenly felt. "His line on the 'heritage' repertory seems tough - ballets, he says, need to change over the generations because dancers today are so different from 'the chocolate box-sized ballerinas of 50 years ago'." The Guardian (UK) 11/28/01

Tuesday November 27

IS WAR GOOD FOR DANCE? Has September 11th saved American dance? TNR's Jenifer Homans observes that post-modernist dance had become ingrown and vacant. "September 11 certainly has focused our minds, and some things, at least, are clearer than they were before. It is now possible to say, with a new conviction, that nostalgia, sentimentality, and postmodern narcissism make for inadequate and spiritually vacant art." The New Republic 11/26/01

A HOME OF THEIR OWN: It's a tough time to be out raising money, but the Alvin Ailey company has begun a $60 million campaign to build a new home of its own. The New York Times 11/27/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Sunday November 25

BARE AMBITION: Five young dancers with the Australia Ballet have stripped down to their underwear to pose for a men's magazine. They say they want to "counter the ballet's reputation as a stronghold of fusty traditionalism." But critics say the "seductively posed and scantily dressed ballerinas strutting their stuff in men's mags debases the art form." The Age (Melbourne) 11/25/01

PREPARING NOT TO DANCE: "Old dancers never die, the saying goes, they just shuffle off. First a knee goes, then an ankle, then a hamstring. The paychecks get to be too skimpy. Or the traveling gets to be too much. Not all dancers can or want to choreograph or teach. But dancers possess traits like discipline and vitality that are treasured by employers." The New York Times 11/25/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Thursday November 22

A BARBIE NUTCRACKER: Has it come to this? Is Barbie cashing in on the popularity of The Nutcracker or is this some misguided hope that more little girls will take to dance if their little plastic pal is a dancer? "The computer-animated Barbie in the Nutcracker is a higgledy-piggledy mix of dialogue, action adventure and dance that owes as much to Disney as it does to Tchaikovsky or ballet. If you took a Barbie in your hand and made it fly through the air, you'd get a fair idea of how stiff the animated figures sometimes seem, not a good sign for a film in which Barbie plays a ballet dancer who performs the role of Clara and dances a pas de deux with Prince Eric, played by Ken." The New York Times 11/22/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Wednesday November 21

BATTLE-TESTED: Alina Cojocaru had only been with the Royal Ballet one year when she was promoted on-stage - a signal honour, comparable to battlefield promotion for a soldier - to the rank of principal. And she's only 19, daughter of the Romanian proletariat, chosen as a child by Russian ballet masters for training in Kiev. Is she really that good? The Telegraph (UK) 11/21/01

Monday November 19

WHAT BECOMES A CLASSIC? It's always hard to pick a classic. Modern dance is a particularly difficult art form to figure out what will endure. "You're never sure of your decisions. People even tire of the Mona Lisa and `Hamlet.' That doesn't mean they aren't masterpieces." The New York Times 11/18/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Thursday November 15

PLAYING BY HER OWN RULES: A 650-page biography of the tempestuous life of Isadora Duncan is out. "Isadora is pieced together from a vast archive of love letters, magazine clippings, diaries, drawings and photos - to the extent that Peter Kurth's job occasionally appears as much editorial as biographical." Salon 11/12/01
  • ISADORA - 10 YEARS IN THE MAKING: "I'm lucky. I signed to do Isadora Duncan's biography 10 years ago, in another world, nation, century, millennium and life. My agent worked me like a dog on the proposal -- he kept sending it back. It's good, he'd say, but not good enough; more of this, less of that. I came down to New York from Vermont to meet some big editors, but ultimately decided to stay with Little, Brown. For a moment, I felt golden and secure. But I had two secrets no one knew about. The first was that I was dying of AIDS. The second was that I knew nothing about Isadora Duncan; nothing at all." Salon 11/12/01

Sunday November 11

SPEAKING OF DANCE: "In the United States, at least, dance theater often amounts to mawkish dancing to the choreographer's own low-grade romantic poetry, clichéd movement interpretations of blundering political rants, or performance art studded with feeble moments of affectless gesture. In each case, the perpetrator pumps up one medium at the expense of the other. But in witty Aerobia, an agile and nuanced relationship develops between the talking and the dancing." The New York Times 11/11/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Sunday November 4

DEFINING THE NEW: Twenty years ago, contemporary dance in Ireland was a backwater proposition. But through shrewd choices of collaborators and an eye for the innovative, Dance Theatre of Ireland has become arguably the hottest company in the country. Sunday Times (UK) 11/04/01

Friday November 2

A POTPOURRI RUSSIAN DANCE TROUPE: "[T]he dance troupe Todes has found its own niche in Russian estrada, or popular stage dance. Estrada is a unique genre that is possible only in Russia. In the Western dance world, music types and dance types are often more clearly defined. However, estrada mixes styles, bends conventions, and combines everything from folk to classical." The Moscow Times 11/01/01

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