It seems that unfortunately some German companies are going the same way as some French ones: the cities want to spend less money on the arts and cut the budgets, and it's less expensive to have a small modern company than a ballet company...
Now, I think the time has come where it's good to have contemporary dance companies -- there's an audience for it, and, personally, I'd much prefer that than having so many companies that try to do both genres, because I think it's not possible to do so on a high level.
Paris Opera Ballet Master Patrice Bart said, in a recent interview with Marc Haegeman in DanceView, that he thought that ballet must be excellent (I'm paraphrasing) and therefore it was good to pool a country's resources and have one ballet company at the highest classical standard, implying the rest of the country should do something else. Maguy Marin in a recent interview about her experimental choreography, liked the situation too, saying (again a paraphrase): They have to do the classical stuff and we get to do all the cool, experimental stuff.
I think there should -- must -- always be experimental companies outside the big institution. I don't think the classical institutions can be the hotbeds of experimentation. To me, they should refine what's been created in the outlying laboratories. BUT, I also see a danger in the model of having one big classical company, no matter how excellent, and a lot of smaller contemporary, nonballet companies. Doing so removes ballet from the general population. If they don't get to see it, they won't develop a taste for it and, in the French case, the POB will seem more and more remote, more and more "elitist."
Lincoln Kirstein once said about American Ballet that it was the "Dolly Dinkle" schools, all those tiny little schools dotting the country, that fed ballet. If one child is produced per year from those schools, it's worth it. (And it gives the entire country an exposure to ballet.) But that's expensive.
What are your thoughts on these issues?