Posted 13 May 2009 - 09:07 PM
I wrote something about High Modernism and post-modernism based on remarks of miliosr on the SK thread, and now can say definitely NOT, the question might be 'the next genius', but there can be no new Balanchine, he whose last period could be called High Modern. There IS no more 'modernism'. YOu have to use the word 'contempoarary', since 'modern' was outmoded with a period which has passed paradoxically, whereas 'modern' used to be whatever was current. Modernism had much more discipline and severity and structure than the amorphous messes one sees after its collapse, and collapse it certainly has done.
So that miliosr's legitimate query about 'whether the ballet form has exhausted itself or not', whether it will find new geniuses may still be possible. But what we have now is the normal evolution of things, when you look at the other arts and disciplines. There's not going to be any towering central figure like Balanchine or Graham, who were both modernists, because that is over. We may not be thrilled about Peter Martins's choreography, and not much more thrilled by Wheeldon, but it's not abnormal for the general cultural environment we live if today, and have done for some 20 or more years. To have that kiind of genius would mean to go back to a period which has gone. I don't know that there can't be a ballet genius, but there will be no 'next Balanchine'. So that I think part of miliosr's implied query is answered: Ballet may or may not be exhausted (probably not), but High Modernism a la Balanchine has been, you don't see it anywhere, and all this current 'nostalgia for modernism' in theory and philosophy and literary circles is all about this loss of discipline that modernism still at least had just like classicism and romanticism. There is a much bigger mess of chaos in the post-modern, post-structuralist world. And High Modernism is gone in music, except for diluted imitations, why wouldn't this happen in dance just like the rest? Well, that is what is happening. So if someone wants to wait for 'genius', he will probably find some, not just one. but there won't be some fierce central figure like Balanchine or Graham, because they depended on things that hadn't been unearthed yet, and that they then did unearth. There is NOTHING left to unearth, just little tendrilly efflorescences which the Balanchine ex-dancers do with their half-baked choreography. I personally don't have much of an opinion on imitating Tudor and Ashton instead of Balanchine, but I think that something like the extreme concentration on one figure as Balanchine is now is actually ALSO a part of this post-modernism. You can see it for some years now in museum exhibitions, the gigantism and overly lavish hyped-up things, there are many other examples. But a choreographer with huge power like either Balanchine or Graham would need to be in another period than the one we are now living in, and seem to be planning to for the foreseeable future.
A new perception is therefore needed, because the idea of a 'next Balanchine' has no reality. These 'nostalgias for modernism' going on right now will go the way of all nostalgias, which is to say, short shrift after a little tearful shufling around here and there.