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Alexandra

Modern dance at Lincoln Center

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There are so many issues (indirectly affecting ballet) in today's NYTimes article about Peter Martin's suggestion:

Peter Martins, the ballet master in chief of New York City Ballet, has suggested creating a modern dance company at Lincoln Center that would be the first new cultural organization there since Jazz at Lincoln Center was established in 1996. The company would replace New York City Opera as the ballet's co-tenant at the New York State Theater, if the opera troupe succeeds in building a new home at the World Trade Center site or elsewhere.

Gosh, if that happened, ABT couldn't come in as co-tenant, could it?

Another paragraph caught my eye. It's the reason often stated -- for decades -- why there isn't a modern dance repertory company. Does this ring a bell?

Beverly D'Anne, director of the dance program at the New York State Council on the Arts, also said that the idea of putting the moves of different choreographers on one troupe of dancers did not make sense for modern dance. "The Taylor style is not like the Cunningham style is not like the Trisha Brown style," she said. "To have dancers encompass all of these, the styles would be in danger of being diluted. That's what makes the Martha Graham company unique, is that they look like Graham dancers."

And a third issue:

"Why, when we have so many wonderful companies in New York City already and the creativity is so high, would we want another company to support?" she said.

But Mr. Martins said a new company at Lincoln Center could help sustain modern dance at a time when many companies are struggling financially. "It's a real, viable solution to a lot of those empty theaters," he said. "I just think the public would love it."

Public? Would this bring a new audience to modern dance?

Edited by Alexandra

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I don't think ABT wants to move into the State Theater. They're happy at the Met, a more prestigious address.

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I don't know the finances involved (whether one house is more expensive than another) but there might be an advantage in NOT having the two companies having simultaneous spring seasons.

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I've been told that ABT's sets will not fit the NYST stage. I can't imagine that this is true, though, as the sets tour.

As a ticket buyer, I've been able to take advantage of NYST's economical Fourth Ring Society. Unless ABT were to devise a similar program, the :mondieu: $32 ticket price for those same seats would drastically reduce the number of performances I'd see. I still think the current $20 per pop for standing room at the Met is high, but it's still a buck or two shy of outrageous.

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The Met might have more prestige, but the New York State Theater is a much better place to see ballet. For years I've dreamed of NYCB and ABT sharing it. But I've lost hope that it will ever happen.

Peter Martins's idea is intriguing. As I understand it, he's talking about a modern dance company which would perform works of the masters of the genre -- "Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and Paul Taylor, for example, along with that of others," according to the NY Times. This seems like a tall order. As a matter of fact, it seems impossible that one group of dancers could do justice to so many diverse styles. It would probably make more sense to invite the various companies -- Cunningham's, Graham's, Morris's, Tharp's, Taylor's and others to share the time among themselves. That would be truly exciting. In the meantime, the New York City Opera is still there and I just renewed my subscription for next season.

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As a matter of fact, it seems impossible that one group of dancers could do justice to so many diverse styles. It would probably make more sense to invite the various companies -- Cunningham's, Graham's, Morris's, Tharp's, Taylor's and others to share the time among themselves. That would be truly exciting.

Lincoln Center (& NYC) deserves better than a repertory company... when it has the originals in town already...

I'm all in favor of repertory companies, many do fabulous jobs (Hubbard Street was not bad at Tharp, and I hear Ririe-Woodbury is no mean intepreter of other's modern dance either)...and they can provide homes for works no longer in rep at the companies that orginated them (and besides, many choreographers seem stronger at creating new work than at restaging their own work)...

But... Lincoln Center should present the best... and presumably the choreographers working on their own chosen dancers whom they've worked with for years... having developed a special muse/interpreter relationship usually not achieved in tempory "residencies"... Cunningham should present Cunningham...

Should it be limited to living choreographers? Or could "repertory companies" be used to give equal time to masterpieces whose auteurs are long gone? (Are Graham & Limon now "repertory companies"?)

I agree, why not present a modern dance season with time shared between local world class companies (or even out of towners)? City Center practically breaks these companies.

Or do we feel that the Joyce is simply a better space for presenting modern dance? Does most modern dance not play well in an opera house?

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I may be hallucinating (in a strictly legal way) but didn't ABT used to dance at the State Theater? And wasn't one of the reasons that they moved to the Met that they couldn't do their Nutcracker at holiday time with NYCB in perpetual residence.

I am more amused by the idea of a modern dance repertory company at the State Theater, and Peter Martins clueless suggestion. Yes, there are mixed rep companies doing excellent work, and many of them perform work that is not in the current rep of other groups (Amy mentions Hubbard Street with their cache of pre-ABT Tharp and Repertory Dance Theater, which may be the only group performing Alwin Nikolais now.) but I sincerely doubt that living choreographers would want their current rep performed in NYC by a company not their own -- a group that would be in competition with their own ensembles.

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Good points, particuarly the last one. Taylor said, in the NYTimes article, something to the effect of, "Why don't they just pick the best modern dance company and invite it?" Why indeed? Or six or seven companies and have a season?

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