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Contemporary dance replacing ballet, another angle

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#31 Watermill


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Posted 08 September 2002 - 10:04 AM

What I've observed out here with Oregon Ballet Theatre is an interesting example of mixing these EXPERIMENTAL/POP/BALLET genres.
James Canfield's oft quoted " If ballet doesn't change it will die" has a ring of truth to it.
Who could argue that the court dances of Loius XIV would have died long ago but for the continual changes wrought by ballet masters/mistresses, composers & dancers?
But Mr. Canfield's statement belies the near financial death of his own company a few years ago, as the new audiences he sought with his rock ballets failed to show up regularly and the balletomanes headed over the Interstate Bridge to Seattle to enjoy PNB.
I'm not such a purist as to reject exploring new possibilities.
In fact, the "Money" section of Canfield's Pink Floyd rock ballet is eternally burnt into my memory as a thrilling example of how ballet technique and rock can merge.
But it's the overmixing that I object to. Look at the post-Billboards history of the Joffrey for a good example of what not to do.
As a weak metaphor I offer up the following: You order an exquisite gourmet dinner; the waiter serves it with impeccable care, then slams a blender on the table, dumps everything in and hits the frappe button, and pours the mess back on your plate.

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