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San Francisco -- regional or international?


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#16 Juliet

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 11:57 AM

I think this discussion must be just that--a discussion. I don't necessarily see "a point" to it, if one means we must draw one, final conclusion.

I also would, by no means, classify SFB as a regional company.

I don't think that any company based outside of New York is regional. I have, however, seen internatioal calibre dancers in smaller companies.

#17 Alexandra

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 12:14 PM

When a company bills itself prominantly as a "major company" or an "international company" it invites discussion of the question. Touring does not make a company "international." There are very minor companies who appear abroad. There are major companies that do not tour -- i.e., NYCBallet. I would hate to see budget as a measuring stick -- it's like "we have 10 dancers with gold medals on our roster". It's easy, it's American, it's quantitative. It means nothing.

Good dancers, good repertory -- able to attract major choreographers. THAT's important. So is a coherent style and a consistent technique. And yes, the company does have to perform well in "the standard classical canon" IF it wants to be considered as a "classical company of international level." That's why an SFB or a PNB does Petipa or Balanchine. And there is a standard of bodies and feet that matters in this regard.

And that's why companies tour. Not for fun, or to see the country, but so that the critic for a major paper will say, "Wow! How wonderful. They're a major international company!" One of the reasons that companies travel, too -- and specifically travel to major dance centers -- is to get feedback, to test themselves -- do they measure up? My new dress may knock 'em dead in Myhometown, but if I wear it to a party in Paris, I might get a different reaction. No matter how many writers say it's beautiful. :D (I always hesitate about ABT as an international level company, despite its roster of stars. If it took its Petipa ballets to St. Petersburg or Paris, I don't think it would come home with good medals.)

As I've written before on this subject, when SFB, or any other mid-rank company vaults into the international ranks, we'll know not because the press says so, but because people stop asking the question. When was the last time you heard a debate about whether the Kirov was a regional company or not? When a company has a school/recognizable style, a distinguished, individual repertory, and a roster of talent, it can weather a few bad seasons -- it doesn't have to worry about getting good reviews in London, or Dusseldorf, one year -- Major International Company!!! -- and bad reviews the next.

I also think there's a big distinction between the "major international company" question and the worth of a company or its director. I admire SFB, and I admire Tomasson's direction and always have -- the way he turned the company around in a season, his sense of acquiring ballets that suit his dancers (very Danish :) Yes, I know he's an Icelander, but his teachers were Danes and he spent much time in Copenhagen), and the way he attracts and develops dancers. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the company here in November -- especially since they're bringing "Dances at a Gathering."

#18 LMCtech

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 01:37 PM

I agree that touring is a major factor in raising a company's prospects.

It's a shame NYCB can't tour more. They are one of our best and should be shared with the rest of the world.

And what is an international company exactly?

#19 Alexandra

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Posted 16 October 2002 - 02:37 PM

LMCTech, there have been many discussions here about what is an international company -- good hunting :D

The topic of this thread really wasn't to rehash this one more time, but to ask those who saw the company in New York this season what they thought on this question, pro or con.


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