You can't base historical extinction on aesthetic features. On the contrary, there are a lot of companies right now, lots of tickets being sold, lots of schools, dancers, students, and interest and literature too.
Michael, I really appreciate your point. Even in Balanchine's days in NYCB, a great deal of forgettable choreography was danced all along. The great works that were created remain in the repertory and have been performed all over the world. If we are in a fallow period in terms of new choreography, surely this is not the first such time in the history of ballet.
Meanwhile, as you say, the dancers, institutions, and (less predictably) the audience are in place. One can imagine them waiting (even if they don't know it) for the next great flowering of artistic creativity. People seem to be fearful about knowing what this new flowering will look like. But that's also part of the excitement in any important art form.
Here's Claudia La Rocco's refutation of the ballet-is-dying thesis: "Is Ballet Really Dying? Don't believe the diagnosis in a new history of the Classical Tradition."http://www.slate.com/id/2274746/
[/size]. Out of curiosity, I checked Jennifer Homans using the Author Search on the NYRB website. A single article turns up: a 2002
review of the book Stravinsky and Balanchine: a Journey of Invention
. Thus, she is indeed someone who has written for and contributed to the NYCB. The track record is quite slim, however, and not very recent. Is it possible that Homans' review was overlooked by both Mr. Gottlieb (who in no way gives Homans a free pass in his review) and his editor? Gottlieb identifies her, properly, as the dance critic for the New Republic
Beside the point, I should think. The NYRB is known for having its contributors write tactful and often flattering things about each other.
I imagine that all publications do this sort of thing at times. I was not aware, until now however, that the NYRB is actually known
for this, in the sense of doing it habitually, egegiously, and/or as a matter of editorial policy. I've been a subscriber since the first edition in 1963 and can recall quite a few pointed and impassioned disagreements among NYCB writers and reviewers over the years.