I am genuinely curious as to how others feel about nurturing new choreographic talent--i.e., is it essential for the continuation of ballet?
I think that's an apt choice of phrase in relation to this thread. Do you think that ballet is actually continuing in terms of progressing as an art form or just standing still. Kind of like a static passenger on a conveyor belt?
Cubanmiamiboy, I was slightly "peeved" by your saying that the audience shouldn't be exposed to a Tharp work when they don't know Chopiniana or Giselle - I find this quite a exclusory mind set and I want you to know that I'm not criticising you for that, I used to really take umbrage when audiences would clap to high heaven some God-awful new piece and be left cold by a classic - but the sad truth is that many of those greats aren't easy to take on first viewing for non regular ballet goers - and there's also a great deal to be said for the argument that if In The Upper Room appeals to far more people than Chopiniana or Les Noces then is it a greater work? If nothing else it's infused far more with the passion for watching dance.
I don't believe that for a second, by the way, but I have to accept that the work which I know I could come to a site like this and wax lyrical over and have my appreciation appreciated by other ballet lovers, leaves novice ballet goers bolting for the exits.
To come back to the next Balanchie, I think to you could swap Balanchine in the title for Ashton, Nijnska, Tudor - what you're asking is will there ever be another period in history where a talent for choreography of that level be nurtured, given room to grow, be of importance to society, have a place in society? I don't know, I don't think so.
I think the saddest thing about the Royal Ballet's belief that they've found a new ballet pop God in Wayne MacGregor, is how much they've miscalculated. Chroma was a hit because a) the seats were dirt cheap and b) the music was by Joby Talbot from the Divine Comedy interpolating Blue Orchid by The White Stripes - the "yoof" crowd weren't coming because ballet was suddenly cool again, they were coming for the novelty of hearing pop music on a classical orchestra and to see some dancers "jump around" - they came to see a pop video and when it was over they left the Opera house and never went back again.
And one thing I do believe in relation to Ray's very poignant use of "continuance" - if all ballet is going to do is rely on past glories of Chopiniana etc it's not continuing, it's static, moving foward without going anywhere - and if people want to come because they saw Movin Out or In the Upper Room or Matthew Bourne's lastest and want to broaden their experience with another Tharp which happens to be on a mixed bill with Chopiniana or 4 Ts - that's great; you don't convert someone by bashing them over the head.
And that's why bad new choreography is better or rather preferable to no new choreography - at least something's happening. The Balanchines, Ashtons, Tudors, Petits Fokines etc knew it took a hundred stinkers to make one Apollo, Symphonic Variations or Les Noces.