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Nadine Meisner on Martins

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Ari posted this on Links but I thought it might spark a discussion over here:

Nadine Meisner in the Independent offers a Brit's eye view of NYCB:

Martins has been reviled and admired in equal measure. You can criticise some of his changes, but you can't deny that he has done his utmost to stir choreographic creativity and stretch his dancers with a cornucopia of ballets: 49 for the 2001-2 season, including six world premieres and four New York premieres. No other company has such a large, effervescent repertoire. (The Royal Ballet has less than half the number for the same period.) Nor – as befits a country where coffee comes served 20 different ways – such luxuriously flexible programming, able to offer as a matter of course the same ballets in pick'n'mix combinations.
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The opening sentence of Martin's being "heir apparent" at NYCB made me chuckle.

I will start off by saying, I think it's difficult to give a "fair" review to a critic who only sees a representation of a company as opposed to watching them day in and day out. I would hope, that on tour, a company would bring pieces that they feel they best represent. If I recall correctly NYCB was asked to bring the Diamond Project pieces to Edinburgh.

It's so tough b/c I think NYCB is really in a transition mode. I was speaking with a young dancer with aspirations of getting into NYCB and when I asked her why she wanted to get into that company, she said it was "because of all the new pieces".

I have to admit, part of me was crushed. When I threw Balanchine and Robbins as a base of the company, her reply was "yeah they're okay". Even more devastated!

So, I think Martins is succeeding in not making the company a museum, but I just hope the young ones don't think of the founders as a bunch of old fuddy duddies.

But back to Martins and the review. While I applaud the bringing in of new choreographers, I just fear as to the identity of the company as being one that is too malleable. I often wonder how choreographers,who didn't study the Balanchine method, feel coming into a company that has that as it's base. How can you fully know what a dancer's strengths are (and use those strengths) if you've only met the dancer, have rehearsals for 2 weeks and then cast them. Is that really enough time?

I am all over the place with this post. I guess I'm just trying to avoid Martins-bashing :)

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