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What is the state of dance in New York, and America?

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I couldn't, either. The original link supplied by Ari still works, however. I had a long reply to this that got inadvertently deleted, but in brief it said that cycles like this happen in art. We're not entitled to an unending supply of dance genius. No one said modern dance was necessarily going to last forever. It may be it was too reliant on individual talents and has limited staying power as a form, and we're now finding that out?

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I didn't think there was anything "new" but American are different than they are in Europe. Just the vast size of the country makes it tough. There may be an amazing company out in Nebraska that I'm just not seeing.

The fact that Stroman's "Contact" was hit for so long, I think shows though that Broadway (and it's audience)are becoming more diverse (and for that matter Fosse) in seeing dance productions.

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dirac, I hope you find your long reply!

I think there are two problems, and one of them is grossly inadequate coverage. When Martha Graham was doing her one night shows at the Y, there weren't very many people there, but one of those people was John Martin, and it made all the difference. The same thing with Ballet Society. The notion that things have to be "popular" -- i.e, mass market -- before they're worthy of newspaper coverage will kill dance.

The second is that I do think dance is in a holding pattern -- but I see it as cyclical, not as an unrecoverable event. Marcia B. Siegel once wrote that, looking back on the 1940s in both ballet and modern dance, the beginnings of each movement were the most creative. I see it the same way. In the first few years of a new genre or movement, not only is everything new and exciting, so everyone runs over from Last Year's booth to This Year, but simply because it's new -- whether that's Graham's Americana works or Tudor's expressionism -- and therefore fresh in the sense of unexhausted. After the first few works, there's little choice but to become repetitive, and those who are inspired to work in the same genre/movement are seen as derivative.

The way to solve that is to either do what Graham did, and have serial movements -- solos, Americana, reinvented Greek myths, etc -- and when one lode was mined out, she closed it and moved on. OR you can invent what I call an infinite formula. Bournonville, Petipa and Balanchine all had one. A good formula can be reinvented endlessly, whether by using new stories, as with the 19th century choreographers, or using new music and choreographing its structure and atmosphere, as with Balanchine. All of them repeated, too, but made work at such a high level that we don't mind :)

As to the New York scene, Morris would never have gotten to Europe if he hadn't been loudly championed by New York critics. And there are a lot of very good modern dance choreographers -- Trisha Brown, Susan Marshall, the Urban Bush Women. Yes, I am forgetting David Parsons. :) -- who are not mainstream and probably don't want to be. As for ballet, it's hard to see what's happening in ballet, because 90% of the new works are not ballets. Classical and neoclassical choreography is actively discouraged. Company directors ask young choreographers for "something trendy." And that's just what they're getting.

Calliope, we were posting at the same time. I was surprised at the inclusion of Stroman. Yes, of course she's a choreographer, but she works in musical theater, not dance. Now all of a sudden she's a spokesman for the dance world? She's not part of the concert dance world.

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re Stroman

I think since she did a piece for NYCB and is doing another she's considered "ballet approved".

now, that's definitely a problem in the US, but...

Is it me, or is this the second person to hail Wheeldon as the savior of ballet?

there's was no mention of Twyla Tharp either, I found that surprising, is she not "big" in Europe?

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There was no mention of Peter Martins either. :)

I think the article was geared to those Morris's generation or younger, looking at the up and comers. In modern dance, you'd have to go to the smallest venues (another big problem; there are about 2% of the affordable studios now compared to Martha's day) to see what was going on there. Those are the labs.

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I'm not sure if I would call "Fosse" or "Contact" constitute revivals of dance on Broadway, although I suppose they do, in one sense. But "Fosse" consists of excerpts from shows long gone that lost much of their effectiveness without a context, and "Contact," although I have seen only excerpts, relies on taped music. New musicals with original music, what few there are, still tend to follow the Hammerstein-Sondheim nouveau-operetta model, with little or no dancing involved.

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I was brought up short by the reference to Baryshnikov as "the 54-year-old Kirov ballet star." I really didn't think much of this piece. At the end there was a list of previous articles, presumably of interest. One, from 29 August 1998, was "Balanchine shows class but lacks humanity." When I clicked on that, I was met with "Sorry, the page you have requested is not available." I was relieved.

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How, um, interesting. Brown sits down to write a puff piece, excuse me, preview, about a London dance season which looks, to these admittedly blinkered New York-centric eyes, to be greatly enhanced by a generous helping of some of the best dance New York has to offer, and chooses as her theme how, well, crappy, the New York dance scene is these days. Huh? This article will really pack 'em into the theaters, for sure. I guess it was too much to hope for a damnation of at least faint praise.

I loved, well, was fascinated by, the lengths to which Brown went to discredit New York and New Yorkers from any responsibility for the Greatness That Was New York Dance. As noted, Baryshnikov is a "Kirov" star. Huh? I guess Brown was too discreet, then, to add, as she might well have, that Balanchine himself was really a Mariinsky star, or that NYCB has been husbanded since his death by a Royal Danish Ballet star. Morris' artistry could only be revealed and nurtured by those same canny Belgians who brought us Bejart for a few decades (I know, it seemed an eternity). And the current saviour presumptive of dance in New York, if not the world, is, of course, a Brit.

I also found touching Brown's sympathy for Morris' current terrible predicament of being forced by the cruel vicissitudes of the economy into make dances which people, excuse me, Philistine New Yorkers, might actually want to see. The horror. Can you imagine what Balanchine might've created if he were forced to work under such inimaginable constraints. Good thing Kirstein saved him from such a fate. Poor Morris.

Brown sees a lot of trees, but misses the forest entirely. For centuries, New York's great strength, in the arts as well as just about any other endeavor you'd care to mention, has been its hospitality to the gifted, talented, accomplished or even merely hard-working dreamers from any locale or walk of life. Of course, it's not as if native New Yorkers (they do exist) are without talent themselves -- look at Jerome Robbins. (No mention of him in Brown's article. Go figure.) Anyway, is it surprising that the entire concept of a society of self-selected members -- artists, artisans, or butchers and candlestick-makers -- might be a bit hard for a British critic to grasp?

Anyway, I think Brown's thesis is wrong, and even if it were right, it'd still be wrong. So there.

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