JUST AS BALLET SURGES…

Outgoing Scottish Ballet director Robert North says he wonders why the company’s board wants to switch from traditional ballet to being a modern company. According to new figures, Scottish Ballet scored an increase of more than 50 percent in audience last year – from 43,000 to more than 66,000. “At the same time, contemporary dance companies in Scotland attracted an audience of little more than 3,000 between them.” The Scotsman 10/30/01

NATIONAL BALLET – MORE WITH LESS

The National Ballet of Canada is 50 years old, but for all its critical acclaim, its funding and operations have been scaled back in recent years. The company is starved for money compared to its peers. “Measuring their budgets in Canadian dollars, that of the American Ballet Theatre is $43-million, while that of the San Francisco Ballet is $39 million – each roughly double the National’s paltry annual budget of $15-million.” The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/31/01

NOW BEING RADICAL IS AN ASSET

Thirteen years ago Michael Clark was considered “far too radical” to head the Scottish Ballet. “But with the ballet seeking to modernise itself and using the dreaded C word (contemporary) he is rapidly shaping up as an ideal candidate. Obsessed with sex and famous for using atonal indie rock for his compositions, Clark is everything traditional ballet with its orchestras and twee costumes is not.” Scotland on Sunday 10/28/01

MODERN TAKE ON BALLET

William Forsyth established his reputation as a modern choreographer. But now he’s taking on ballet: “A lot of institutions are conservative and frightened. They think they have to protect ballet because it is so delicate. It’s actually very robust. It needs to be tested, not coddled. The mistake of balletic modernity was to avoid bravura. I think you should aim for bravura. If you can dance the shit out of something, that is what you should do.” Financial Times 10/27/01

BOSTON BALLET, LOOKING GOOD

The poor, beat up and beaten-upon Boston Ballet may be coming back strong. The “program that opened last night had the feeling of a fine, fresh start, a triple bill that was about dancers dancing, which hasn’t always been the case in recent seasons so overloaded with decor and plot that the company’s excellent performers couldn’t shine through. They do in this round.” Boston Globe 10/26/01