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The Greatest Living Choreographer


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#16 Calliope

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Posted 03 March 2002 - 06:19 AM

I really meant to ask (not between Taylor and Cunningham necessarily) who you thought the greatest living choreographer is.

#17 Alexandra

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Posted 03 March 2002 - 10:07 AM

Thanks for the clarification, Calliope. (And sorry for calling you Farrell Fan smile.gif ) That said, and since the original post included modern dance choreographers, who is the greatest living choreographer, of any dance discipline And then, who is the best, highest ranked, most worthy, whatever, living ballet choreographer?

Starting over, I'm still torn between Taylor and Cunningham. If I HAD to pick, originally I thought Cunningham, because he's been the most influential (one could say he's the father of minimalism, of divorcing dance from music, etc. and was very important in the development of American post-modern dance). BUT Taylor has also been influential in that so many choreographers were "schooled" as dancers in his company, and because his works have reached a broader public, through being performed by ballet companies. Since we're allowed to give multiple gold medals in this new age, I'll stick to "Both".

In ballet.....I don't think there is a gold medal to award. If I had a gun to my head, I'd say Grigorovich. (And no, it's not because I like his work.) I don't think there's one working today who's in the top rank.

Leigh, in the next version of the software, we'll be able to split posts away from threads and start new ones smile.gif I think, from reading the British reviews, that perhaps one reason the ballet wasn't liked over there was because of the way it was danced. There were complaints that the duets were too alike; that's not my memory of the work when it was first danced.

#18 Farrell Fan

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 09:34 AM

At the Paul Taylor performance last night I was seated next to a couple, no longer young, studying their programs prior to the start. I overheard the following dialogue:

She: "Newsweek calls him the world's greatest living choreographer."
He: "What about Merce Cunningham?"
She: "I can't STAND Merce Cunningham."
He: "What about Mark Morris? And that woman who does the Broadway shows?"
She: (reading again) "The dance world regards him as a living legend."
He: "THAT I agree with."

Just thought I'd mention it.

#19 dirac

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 01:36 PM

Sticking strictly to ballet, I'd hold my nose and vote for Grigorovich, a figure of stature and influence who led one of the world's great companies, like him or not.

#20 julip

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 06:35 PM

Dirac (or anyone else),
I was wondering if you could tell me why you think Grigorovich is a great choreographer. Everything that I have seen by him, with the exception of one male solo in Spartacus, I have not been impressed with at all. It all seems rather unimaginative and well, boring. I have heard alot of people say they consider him a great choreographer, but I fail to see why. Maybe I'm missing something. Thanks in advance for replies.

#21 dirac

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 07:11 PM

julip, I'm copying the text of your post over to "Choreographers" for further discussion, so we don't wander too far out of the topical corral here.

#22 Richard Jones

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 05:27 PM

Don't forget that there are those of us in Europe who love Balanchine (and don't see enough of his work!).

One thing that seems to bind together these great choreographers, whatever discipline they come from, is their musicality. On that note, I'd like to know whether the work of Richard Alston is known in the USA. How is it received? (I'm not proposing him for a greatest choreographer spot - in fact, since the death of both Balanchine and Robbins it's hard to see who matches up in the sheer range of work compared with these giants).

[ March 06, 2002, 05:32 PM: Message edited by: Richard Jones ]

#23 Alexandra

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 06:06 PM

Good point about Balanchine and Europeans, Richard. There are undoubtedly Americans who love Bejart -- and certainly all Americans don't worship Balanchine. I suppose there's no "all" in any of this.

I've always been interested in Alston -- but we don't get to see much of his work here. I saw LCDT for one season, long ago. I found his work pleasant, but not particularly earthshaking. But I couldn't make a judgment without seeing more.

#24 Estelle

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 06:42 PM

quote:


Originally posted by alexandra:
Good point about Balanchine and Europeans, Richard. There are undoubtedly Americans who love Bejart -- and certainly all Americans don't worship Balanchine. I suppose there's no "all" in any of this.

Also there are quite a lot of differences between European countries- Europe might look small when seen from the USA, but there are big cultural differences. Béjart and Petit are quite popular in Italy, but not at all in UK, for example. Also, I suppose that asking people about the "greatest living choreographer", depending on the European country where you are you might have quite a lot of answers in favor of William Forsythe, Pina Bausch, John Neumeier, Jiri Kylian or Hans Van Manen...

About the original question: I have only seen one performance by the Cunningham company and one by the Taylor company, plus a few Taylor works danced by ballet companies, so I really can't have an opinion about it (besides, asking "who's the greatest" often has as much meaning as "which is better, tea or coffee?"...) I think that in France Cunningham would be likely to get more votes, because he's better known: his company tours to France quite often (in March, they'll perform in Alès, Le Havre, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon and Mâcon- not exactly very big cities, there must be about 50000 people in Alès and about 35000 in Mâcon),
come almost every season to the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris with sold-out performances and very positive reviews. Things have changed quite a lot since "Un jour ou deux" created a scandal at the Paris Opera in 1972! The Taylor company comes to France less often, and has received less enthusiastic reviews.


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