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Home > DANCE

DECEMBER 2000

  • PRESERVING DANCE: It's quite possible with the dissolution of the Martha Graham Company, that her works will fall into oblivion. "Whatever its quirks, though, the Graham case is part of a widespread phenomenon: the disappearance, real or potential, of choreography. Even in this era of satellite imaging and fingertip access to unfathomable resources, much of the world's dance catalogue has been erased." Washington Post 12/31/00
  • Tuesday December 26

    • THE INTERNATIONAL ART: "Just as no football fan would ever mistake a Brazilian forward for a German one, so the seasoned ballet-goer likes to think they can tell an American or a Russian from the back of the gallery. Go to any performance of The Nutcracker in London or Manchester this week and you'll see Danes dancing with Spaniards, Italians dancing with Japanese. Look hard and you may detect subtle differences of style. Yet stereotypes need to be handled with care: the surnames tell only half the story." The Telegraph (London) 12/26/00

    Sunday December 24

    • ANATOMY OF A BALLERINA'S CAREER: Two years ago New York City Ballet's Jenifer Ringer seemed to be caught on a frigid downward draft, endangering a once promising career. But she managed to pull out of her dive to become one of the company's promising new pricipals. The New York Times 12/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
    • HISTORY OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN DANCE: "The origins of much American entertainment - jazz, blues and rock-and-roll, social dancing from the Twist to the Hustle to college-fraternity stepping, as well as hip-hop culture, just to give a few examples -- go back to the African slave trade. Those whose lives were uprooted and stamped with foreign ways in turn left an indelible mark on the art of their adoptive land." Washington Post 12/24/00

    Tuesday December 19

    • THE PROBLEM WITH BALLET: Readers respond to stories about excluding a 4th grader from the San Francisco Ballet School because of her looks. "Unfortunately, it's partly due to this knee-jerk reification of elitism for its own sake that ballet has become an airless theater, a music-box model that the rich come to thoughtlessly admire." San Francisco Chronicle 12/19/00

    Sunday December 17

    • INSIDE THE AUSTRALIAN BALLET: It appears from the outside that the Australian Ballet is in trouble. "Yet, as dancers leave the company in what look like droves, the board and management react, as they usually do at times of looming crisis, by appearing not to notice that something is wrong." So maybe it isn't. The Age (Melbourne) 12/16/00
    • CULTIVATING THE NEXT GENERATION: Juilliard works at training a new generation of choreographers. New York Times 12/17/00 (one-trime registration required for access)

    Tuesday December 12

    • DANCING FOR PROFIT: Since the South African government has discontinued funding for dance a new for-profit company has stepped in to see if dance can be commercially viable. The obvious first choice? "Nutcracker" of course. The Daily Mail & Guardian 12/12/00

    Monday December 11

    • FIRING UP THE NATIONAL BALLET: The National Ballet of Canada has had a rough time in the past year with the public relations fiasco surrounding the dismissal of dancer Kimberly Glasco. The company is hoping to relight its image with an extravagant new production of "Firebird." CBC 12/10/00

    Sunday December 10

    • RENEWING DANCE? "How many choreographers today are thinking about telling new tales, new tragedies, in dance? Almost all new ballets today are supine rewrites of past classics or great tomes of literature painted onto the stage with a leaden thud. The mystery is that there's so little genuine inspiration by our own world. We hear every day of events whose imagery and emotional resonance seize us, and novelists rush to their keyboards and artists to their scalpels and camcorders, as Janacek rushed to his desk. But ballet? Nothing." The Telegraph (London) 12/10/00
    • OUTSIDE INFLUENCE: Before Washington Ballet's recent visit, It had been 40 years since an American dance company had performed in Cuba. "I knew the kind of development we've seen in the United States, melding contemporary ideas and modern dance and ballet techniques, hasn't existed in Cuba. I think the repertoire we brought expressed a lot of elements of our own lives and maybe will contribute to how they'll view or make dance in the future." New York Times 12/10/00 (one-time registration required for access)
    • ROBBINS REVEALED: "At Jerome Robbins' death in 1998 at 79, he had all the awards that movies, theater and dance could offer, with an unequaled record of ballets and Broadway shows. Yet he carried with him a shame that would not go away. In 1953, he named names before the House Un-American Activities Committee, earning the enmity of many of his fellow artists who were blacklisted for their membership, however brief or desultory, in the Communist Party." Chicago Tribune 12/10/00

    Friday December 8

    • OUR BODIES AT EIGHT: A parent has filed a complaint against the San Francisco Ballet School for discrimination because the school rejected her daughter on the basis of her looks. The eight-year-old girl was told not to try out because of her figure. The fourth-grader is 3-foot-9 and weighs 64 pounds. The mother claims the school's criteria used to weed budding ballerinas from also-rans violates San Francisco's nondiscrimination provisions. New Jersey Online (AP) 12/08/00

    Thursday December 7

    • DISTRESS SALE: Margot Fonteyn's personal effects, costumes and clothes are to be auctioned off next week, but her friends and the dance community are protesting. Sydney Morning Herald 12/07/00

    Tuesday December 5

    • BALLET SHAKEUP: The British ballet world has been turned upside down this year, with directors of three major companies announcing their departures. English National Balletís Derek Deane is the latest to go, citing insufficient funding and a lack of board support for his more adventurous work. The Telegraph (London) 12/05/00

    Monday December 4

    • REPORT FROM CUBA: Washington Ballet recently completed a trip to Cuba where it appeared at Havanaís 17th International Ballet Festival. The visit marked the first Cuban performance by a major American ballet company in 40 years. "I hope to see the day in the U.S. that audiences feel so comfortable to react - with a cheer, or a gasp." NPR 12/01/00 [Real audio file]
    • DANCING FOR PEACE: Nicholas Rowe, a former Australian Ballet dancer and choreographer, now teaches dance to Palestinian children in Ramallah as part of a unique program to use the power of dance to heal. "Giving them the chance to feel something other than anger is very important." The Age (Melbourne) 12/04/00

    Sunday December 3

    • WHY I LOVE THE NUTCRACKER: "Although it's true that a December day without 'Nutcracker' would probably improve the health of thousands of artistic directors and parents, it's also true that the ballet continues to merrily launch a thousand careers and holiday celebrations." Notable dance figures talk about their attraction to the Christmas classic. Los Angeles Times 12/03/00
    • PILOBOLUS AT 30: When Pilobolus debuted 30 years ago, few knew what to do with them. They stripped down movement and "spent more time clinging to one another, and disguising their bodies than doing what passed for dance - doing steps across the floor. The men had taken virtually no dance technique classes. Pendleton didn't even know how to point his feet, for goodness sake. But audiences loved it. And so - though more cautiously - did the critics." Orange County Register 12/03/00
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