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Creating a canon for dance

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Creating a canon for dance

There's a great need to preserve and access definitive works

By PAUL HORSLEY The Kansas City Star

  Most composers can pound out a few bars of Wagner's “Tristan” on the piano. Artists study Michelangelo and Matisse, often by painting in their style. A writer who wants to make a mark has read Ulysses and The Sound and the Fury.

But ask a young choreographer to dance a passage from early Tharp, and he or she is likely to stare at you blankly.

The subject of a dance canon — a body of historical work that others can learn and draw upon — is a great concern in the dance world today. And it's a relatively new one.

Many find themselves frustrated by the difficulty of knowing even the landmark works of dance. This frustration is part of what motivates Kansas City Ballet artistic director William Whitener to present so many dance classics in creative reconstructions.

Kansas City Star

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