BIRTH OF A COMPANY

Michael Medcalf “had no experience as an artistic director, no money in the bank and no financial backers. Despite his lack of credentials and resources, he had plenty of other attributes: talent, enthusiasm, energy, a dynamic personality, a willingness to work hard and an eagerness to collaborate with other members of the dance community.” And Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre was born. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

THE LEGEND FLICKERS

A budget version of the Bolshoi wandered in to London this week. “The Bolshoi makes much of the financial imperative to mount cash tours like this: at what cost to its soul? Compare its programmes with current offerings in our ballet companies, and with the imminent visiting attractions of the Dutch and San Francisco companies, and there’s no doubt who’s being left behind.” The Telegraph (UK)

A MATTER OF HONOR

“The Bolshoi or the Kirov? The old Soviet juggernaut or the jewel in the Tsarist crown? Who will be the eventual victor? It’s a fight they both want to win, for whoever does take home the title takes home more than critical acclaim and public affection. They also take home our much-needed pounds. Life is tough in Russia these days, even for much-loved cultural institutions, and both the Kirov and the Bolshoi depend on foreign trips to keep them going.” The Times (UK)

MEETING THE PRODIGY

“Dazzling eyes, delicate bones and finer poise than the silver lady on a Rolls-Royce: I met Dame Margot Fonteyn on the eve of her death at the age of 71 and was blown away by her fragile grace. Nobody since has matched it – until Friday, when I met the 19-year-old dancer who has just been made prima ballerina of the Royal Ballet and who is already spoken of as the new Fonteyn.” The Sunday Times of London

MORE BALLET STRUGGLES

Ballet Chicago is, to put it bluntly, little more than an afterthought in the Chicago dance scene these days. The company, founded as Chicago City Ballet in 1974, has always relied on a classic, Balanchine-esque style of performance in an industry that is constantly reinventing itself. But years of mismanagement and organizational chaos left the troupe in shambles, and in danger of vanishing completely. Now, backed by its successful training academy for young dancers, Ballet Chicago hopes to rise from the ashes of its past failures. Chicago Tribune

NEW TROUBLES AT ABT

American Ballet Theatre was thought to have conquered the problems which only a few years ago threatened the company. “But in the last nine months this 61-year-old New York institution, which begins an eight-week season at the Metropolitan Opera House on April 30, has started to exhibit a new cycle of strains. It has quietly canceled plans for an expensive new production of Sleeping Beauty next season. Its cash reserves have dropped by half. And nearly three-quarters of its staff members have departed in a steady exodus.” The New York Times (one-time registration required for access)