FATHER OF MODERN DANCE

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Nijinsky’s death. His choreography is a study in grace and brutality, in his “madness” he invented modern dance, he was 50 years ahead of his time, his life was an erotic spectacle – narcissistic, instinctive, free – and his work captured the emerging rhythm of mind for a generation that was heading into the fearsome carnival of the Great War. But Nijinsky was a sleek gazelle trotting round the edge of a precipice; he was a primitive: how did he come to be the patron saint of modern art? – The Telegraph (London)

WHO OWNS DANCE

The board of the beleaguered Martha Graham company wonders if Graham’s work is really protected by copyright. They may go to court to find out. “The implications of such a ruling would be huge. Choreography was not explicitly protected by copyright law until 1978, so most works created before then would be affected. A ruling that there is no copyright protection would mean that anyone could perform such early Graham works as her 1944 masterpiece, ‘Appalachian Spring.’ ” – Washington Post

WHO OWNS A DANCE?

Increasing sophistication about preserving the legacy of dance is creating a welter of problems for dance companies wishing to revive older choreography. “There was a time when the chief impediment to reviving dances was that the work was out of fashion. Now, death and the notion of ownership have seemingly created even more insurmountable problems.” – New York Times

DANCE THIS

Some 700 people from 20 dance organizations around America gathered in Washington DC last week to talk about their art. “As it happened, marginalization and globalization arguably formed the twin themes of the conference – especially the virtual invisibility of dance in American culture, but also the limited voice within dance of various constituencies such as African Americans, gay people and world dance advocates.” – Los Angeles Times

FACE-SAVERS ALL AROUND

The National Ballet of Canada’s settlement with fired dancer Kimberly Glasco was a face-saving measure all around. Glasco could have danced again, but chose not to. And the National Ballet, “clinging to the red herring with which it had sought to deflect public opinion from the main issue in Glasco’s unlawful dismissal suit, claims the settlement ‘upholds the principle of artistic freedom and authority.’ Freedom to do what? Treat dancers any way it likes in total disregard of labour law? – National Post (Canada)

THE BALANCHINE LEGACY

“There are plenty of cognoscenti in the US who believe that Peter Martins is making a bad job of honouring the god [Balanchine], and they regularly say so in print, describing him as a man of little taste and much ambition. There are others who argue that he has, in fact, done well, his energy shown by the 100 ballets performed in the 50th anniversary season last year, and his refusal to allow NYCB to become a museum company, which would have been anathema to Balanchine himself.” – The Telegraph (London)

BODY BEAUTIFUL

Artists have been grappling with issues of beauty since there were first artists. “Who defines the body beautiful, and how has this definition been affected by feminism, multiculturalism, mass media and new technologies? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what kinds of images still have the power to produce such sensory experience?” – New York Times

RIGHTEOUS SEPARATION

The National Ballet of Canada’s settlement of the suit with dancer Kimberly Glasco for $1 million was a good result. The situation had been at an impasse. “Ms. Glasco thought she was the next Karen Kain, an opinion not shared by others. And the ballet forgot that, in Canada, you can’t just fire people at will. You need experts. You need procedures. You need outplacement counsellors.” – Toronto Globe and Mail

  • GLASCO SPEAKS: Why I had to fight this. – Toronto Globe and Mail 07/21/00