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DARK TIME FOR DANCE: The 90s were a dismal time for dance in America. A new study reports falling audiences, declining funding and major debt by most companies. Which dance companies fared best? "The ballets that most effectively coped with financial crises were medium-sized companies with annual budgets of $1 million to $5 million." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 04/01/01

  A CULTURAL BASELINE: Columbia University study looks at how the arts are covered in American media. Newspapers have failed to keep up with cultural boom. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11/16/99
AND:  Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Houston Chronicle, CBC (Canada), New York Times, Boston Globe (second item) Artswire, MSNBC, Houston Press (third item), The Idler and a contrary view
    AND: Read the report

Boston Ballet

SAVING BOSTON BALLET: "The Boston Ballet administration's recent decision to appoint Music Director and Principal Conductor Jonathan McPhee as interim artistic director has prompted audience and company members to question his ability to provide artistic leadership. Notably, the man who served in that role for more than a decade isn't among the critics. To the contrary, Bruce Marks expresses no concern." Boston Herald 04/04/01

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

BOSTON BAKED BLUNDER: Last week, the Boston Ballet made serious waves when it dismissed a number of dancers from its ranks, apparently at the behest of newly appointed artistic director Maina Gielgud. Yesterday, Gielgud herself was severed, months before she was even scheduled to officially begin work. The move leaves the company more or less in a state of complete chaos. Boston Herald 02/27/01

CREATIVE CRI$I$: Boston choreographers say their greatest impediment is money. Boston Herald 12/31/99 


THE BOLSHOI BRAND: The Bolshoi is no longer such a revered name. But a girl's gotta eat - so the company is franchising out its school, opening a branch of its school in Australia (even though the announcement seems to have surprised the school's Australian hosts). ThWednesday February 21

BIG MISTAKE? The Bolshoi Ballet stumbles into London this week. The company has been a mess the past year. There's been "talk of missing money; of a threadbare repertoire; of a headless organisation, because the new team of the conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky (artistic director) and Anatoly Iksanov (general director) had yet to get its act together." The question is - is this a company that should be touring right now? The Independent (London) 01/23/01

THE BOLSHOI'S HARD TIMES: Its theatre is crumbling, it's artistic reputation has been battered, and its subsidies from the Russian government have fallen off. It's probably not much of a surprise that the Bolshoi's regime was sacked this week. The Times (London) 09/01/00

THE BOLSHOI BALLET IS BACK in New York after a 10-year absence. “By any cultural standard the return is a major event. The engagement is sold out: the company's mystique remains intact. It is no secret, however, that the Bolshoi has had its ups and downs. Not only do aesthetics change, but reality intrudes as well. More than 20 years of turmoil within the company, a turnover in directors and an adjustment to a society itself in turmoil will take its toll. New York Times 07/20/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

THE STATE OF A LEGEND: The Bolshoi Ballet has been selling out and winning raves on its current tour, reinforcing its stories place in the ballet world. "Every large performing arts center in the nation will no doubt shortly be calling Moscow to ask about 2002, and there's plenty of new repertory to choose from. However, the six Pavilion performances raised major questions about the current artistic level of the Bolshoi and, in particular, the quality of its coaching." Los Angeles Times 06/27/00

NOTHING A SOLD-OUT TOUR WON'T HELP: The Bolshoi Ballet started their first U.S. tour since the collapse of the Soviet Union with a three-hour “Romeo and Juliet” at Washington’s Kennedy Center. The 224-year-old Bolshoi has recently been recovering from an ousted artistic director and serious financial woes - that a sell-out U.S. tour should help ease. CNN 05/31/00

Martha Graham Company

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

SQUABBLING OVER MARTHA GRAHAM: Legal wrangling over the ownership of Martha Graham's choreography. A few weeks ago it seemed like a settlement had been made to revive the Martha Graham Company, but that may now have fallen through. The dance company's board is also exploring whether Graham heir Ron Protas actually owns the dance works. Village Voice 11/28/00

"BUT IT'S MY LIFE" Dancers of the Martha Graham Dance Company are stunned by the suddenness of the company closing last week. New York Times 05/27/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

MARTHA GRAHAM COMPANY TO CLOSE: Citing major financial difficulties, trustees of the Martha Graham Dance Company have voted to shut down the company. "They haven't raised the money to go on," said Graham Center board member Ron Protas, Graham's heir and head of the trust that owns all of her choreography. Washington Post 05/26/00

Cleveland San Jose Ballet

THE HIGH COST OF DANCING: Why is ballet so expensive? In the wake of Cleveland San Jose Ballet's death by red ink, the question needs to be raised. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 10/29/00

MONEY OWING IN CLEVELAND: Cleveland San Jose Ballet left a lot of unpaid bills when it went out of business last month. It's difficult to shut down a dance company "in an orderly fashion." Cleveland Plain Dealer 10/26/00

SAN JOSE DANCE IS BORN: From the ashes of failure in Cleveland, the Cleveland San Jose Ballet company is reborn this week as a new company in San Jose. "It is the latest and most important chapter in a tale of artistic integrity and civic pride, of all-American optimism and resourcefulness, of triumph. What could have been a major tragedy for dance in the Bay Area - and what in fact was a senseless loss for Cleveland - has been turned into a major victory for American culture." San Francisco Chronicle 10/08/00 

AFTERMATH OF CLEVELAND BALLET FAILURE: The collapse and disbanding of the Cleveland San Jose Ballet was a shock for dancers/staff. Meanwhile, the San Jose board will try to extend a season there. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 09/09/00

Australian Ballet 

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

AUSTRALIAN BALLET TURMOILS: There's been an exodus of dancers from the Australian Ballet. Is it just a seasonal thing as contracts come up for renewal or is there something more worrisome? "Right now, many dancers of the Australian Ballet are unhappy. And while it's easy to say dancers are always fearful, their state of mind matters because they are the assets of the company. And if the assets are unhappy, word gets out." Sydney Morning Herald 10/13/00

INVESTMENT IN DANCE: Australia Ballet gets $1 million extra from the government to hire ten new dancers and continue its national touring program. Without additional government money, the company had said it would "retreat" from its present program of touring and choreographic innovation, following last year's $665,000 deficit. The Age (Melbourne) 05/29/00 

TURNING 50 IN POOR HEALTH: The English National Ballet celebrates its 50th anniversary this week, but all is not well at Britain’s second largest ballet company. "It doesn’t have the money to stage the kind of ballets that would bring it greater artistic adventure - and greater critical acclaim." Not to mention that Derek Deane, the company’s artistic director since 1993, has finally given up on pleading for more funds and is leaving at the close of the season. The Times (London) 1/10/01

BALLET SHAKEUP: The British ballet world has been turned upside down this year, with directors of three major companies announcing their departures. English National Ballet’s 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

BRITISH BALLERINA BADDIES: It's been a bad year for British ballerinas - there were fights on a Royal Ballet flight, name-calling that led a dancer to quit a major tour, and then the infamous posing by English National ballerinas in their underwear for a magazine. It's as though "the ballerina, once the representative of what was most graceful about British femininity, was a fiction that no one could be bothered to keep up." London Telegraph 11/20/99

HAPPY DISBELIEF: After 28 years in cramped quarters, the Royal Ballet moves into enormous new studios at the newly-refurbished Covent Garden. 
London Telegraph 11/11/99

THE ROYAL WINNIPEG'S REVOLVING DOOR: The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has had three artistic directors in eight years. And, with the dismissal late last week of Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles, three executive directors in the same period. What's happening to one of Canada's great dance companies? National Post 11/29/00

ROYAL WINNIPEG FIRES DIRECTOR: The Royal Winnipeg Ballet has fired its executive director. Andrew Wilhelm-Boyles had been widely credited with turning the company's financial fortunes around since he arrived in 1997. CBC 11/27/00


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

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

DANCE WAS NO. 1: Dance may not be today's dominant art form, but, says an Israeli archaeologist, it was 9,000 to 5,000 years ago. He "thinks he has pieced together a significant body of evidence for dancing, if not at its beginning, at least at a decisive and poorly understood transitional stage of human culture." The New York Times 02/27/01 (one-time registration required for access)

DANCING AROUND THE LAW: Dance, as a specific art form, tends to be rather difficult to catalogue. How can anyone set down on paper the mere motions of a body, let alone the passion and theory behind the dance? This conundrum has always caused legal problems for dance companies wanting to put on productions of famously choreographed works, and dancers say U.S. intellectual property law is getting in the way of their art. Boston Globe 02/25/01

DANCE AS A BUSINESS: While most dance companies struggle with paying the rent, the 11-member David Parsons Company "operates firmly in the black with a remarkable 90 percent earned income, and has been touring roughly 40 weeks a year. Four months ago, the company moved into a brand new building on 42d Street in Manhattan, affording it a 1,500-square-foot office and luxurious rehearsal space." Boston Globe 02/18/01

GOT US A DANCE COMPANY - NOW WHAT? The celebrated Jose Limón Dance Company comes to San Jose, and "only about 50 bodies filled the nearly 500-seat theater. Such a low turnout brings up the question, once again, about the status of the arts in San Jose. Is the community willing to support the best that the performing arts world has to offer? Are arts marketers willing to roll up their sleeves and promote such work? If not, why would a company like Limón bother to return?" San Jose Mercury News 11/13/00

THE RIGHT DIRECTION: The National Ballet of Canada will lose only $165,000 this year, compared to the $1 million it lost last year. National Post (Canada) 10/30/00

MENTORING & THE ART OF CHOREOGRAPHY: Where are the mentors for today's choreographers? Who helps midwife a dance and develop it into something finished, something unique? Boston Herald 09/24/00

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

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

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)

MONEYDANCE: "As a cultural phenomenon, Riverdance has been closely parsed from top to bottom, hailed by some as an expression of a confidently globe-conquering new Ireland, dismissed by others as a pile of Celtic clichés. What has been ignored, however, is the gargantuan financial muscle that promises to make Riverdance the country's biggest cultural export. The three Riverdance shows touring the world, along with their myriad merchandising spin-offs, have grossed an estimated £½ billion to date." The Sunday Times 07/09/00

DANCE COMPANY TAKES A YEAR OFF: Dance Connecticut, the one-year-old company founded out of the ashes of Hartford Ballet, surprises everyone and announces it will take a year off. The company - which had a well-received first season - will use the year to plan for the future, organizers say. Hartford Courant 06/04/00 

AND THE LATEST STAR ON BROADWAY? Dance. All the best shows gotta have it these days. St. Louis Post-Dispatch 06/04/00

FIRST AID: The National Dance Program gets a $6 million grant from the Doris Duke Foundation to support dance. "To date, the National Dance Project has reached approximately 820,000 people in 41 states, and provided production grants to 65 dance projects and touring grants to 271 presenters." Boston Globe 05/02/00

DANCING ON HISTORY: The Paris Opera Ballet was once one of the dullest dance companies on earth, complacent to a fault. But "nobody dances like the French," and today the oldest dance company in the world is also one of the most admired. The Telegraph (London)  04/26/00

GOTTA DANCE: Ballroom dancing is very hot right now. Not just in studios and nightclubs, but onstage too. "The way I see it, ballroom has existed in this sort of cocoon, in the studios and competitions. It was almost its own unique little world, like a step back in time. When you think of ballroom, you think of the slicked-back hair and the fake tans and the sequins.... We want to sort of deconstruct that myth." Christian Science Monitor 03/31/00

DANCE DREAMS: Dance in Boston has languished, but a resurgence of interest in a local choreography commissioning project sets up new hopes. Boston Globe 01/02/00

SUCCESSIVE SPLENDOR: Ten years ago the Alvin Ailey Dance Company was in the red. A decade into Judith Jamison's direction, now it's got the largest budget of any modern dance company and popular and critical success. "I don't think there's any doubt that Judy is the principal reason that Ailey is one of the few modern-dance companies that's survived the death of its founder," says Ailey board president Henry McGee. New York Magazine 12/29/99






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