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Modern chor. in ballet competitions

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#1 samba38



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Posted 23 August 2001 - 03:31 PM

This is a question for those who have had the privilege to attend IBCs and other first rank competitions, and for the choreographers out there. Judging only by what I read, and a limited knowledge of the pieces some DC folk take to competitions, it seems that no one uses established, technique-based modern or contemporary ballet choreography for that part of the competition. While they all do selected classical pieces for the most-critical ballet section, the "successful" modern that scores with judges seems to be the Las Vegas/modern-meets-lyrical stuff that shows off athleticism but may not have "brains" behind the bravura. (oooh I'm harsh for someone so ignorant, I know! But I'd love to see a talent like Rasta do some serious modern with the same flair he brings to ballet, not just the pop schlock I've seen him do so far). My guess is that the judges themselves are not educated in modern/contemporary and are seduced by enjoyable flash. And many of the schools these wonderful ballet dancers come from have no serious technique-based modern curriculum. But setting aside whether these kid, who arrive equipped to dazzle with DonQ and Corsaire variations, are capable of sophisicated modern/contemporayr work. Can competitors use a variation from Taylor or Tharp, Cunningham or Parsons or even better, Martha Graham or Jose Limon? Has anyone seen someone use The Moor's Pavane for a partnering piece? (Ha ha, I'm trying to imagine that today's teens even know who Limon is or have seen even a video of that work! My kiddo has been shocked this summer at 2 top SIs to realize that her classmates have almost zero dance history background.)
Could it be that laws about fair use forbid pre-pros from taking these to competitions?

#2 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 24 August 2001 - 03:51 PM

don't know if 'fair use' enters into this, because everyone who brings a piece to one of these competitions has to bring permission from the choreographer or his/her official representative, which has typically been why one didn't see balanchine at them as the foundation doesn't approve and wouldn't give permission. it remains for the competitor to work out with that choreographer/representative any arrangements for compensation, rehearsal, etc. however with regard to the quality of what sometimes is presented, i remember being at one competition (jackson 1986) when we were taking bets on how many pieces of choreography that evening would either start or end with the dancer(s) lying down on the ground!

#3 vagansmom


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Posted 24 August 2001 - 05:09 PM

Several years ago the dancer who won the Artistry Award at the NY Int'l Ballet Competition performed MOMIX's "The Bird" as her modern piece. That dance was widely recognized as a real stand-out piece, showing her ability to perform complicated modern choreography. Actually she later toured a bit with MOMIX before signing a contract with the Joffrey Ballet.

#4 Mel Johnson

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Posted 25 August 2001 - 02:35 PM

Another problem with gaining modern masterpieces to take to permission is the difficulty in determining who holds the rights to the work. The current legal wranglings over the Graham name are a symptom of this difficulty. Likewise Doris Humphrey - who owns the rights to her works? Her family? Charles Weidman? (now also gone) Her editor, Barbara Grace Pollock?
It's a lot easier with choreographers who are still on live. At least, there, it's usually just a matter of getting the permission.

#5 Andrei


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Posted 25 August 2001 - 06:44 PM

Don't forget about time limits. For IBC in Helsinki, for example, all modern pieces have to be choreographed after 1995. :)

#6 Alexandra


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Posted 25 August 2001 - 07:13 PM

One year, at the Erik Bruhn competition, the Danish "team" confused the issue by dancing a new work, in the style of Bournonville but choreographed last week by Anna Laerkesen, as the contemporary work, and Balanchine's Apollo for the classical work. :)

#7 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 26 August 2001 - 08:30 AM

in jackson, in 1982 (again because that was the first one i was involved with), the classic works were defined as having been created before 1950, without, as in some of them, a list being provided from which to choose. therefore, the dancer i worked with did the mazurka solo from etudes, which the library informed me had been created in 1948 and therefore passed the criteria they had at the time, and for which permission was obtained from lise lander.

[ 08-26-2001: Message edited by: Mme. Hermine ]

[ 08-26-2001: Message edited by: Mme. Hermine ]

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